The Nashville Predators ended its last home game of the season with a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The win Friday night also guaranteed the Predators a spot in the playoffs as the win clinched a playoff berth.
Patric Hornqvist had a three point night (2g, 1a)and helped Sergei Kostitsyn continue his point streak to 11 games with his goal in the third.
Pekka Rinne was a huge part of the Predators success Friday night after he stopped 44 out of the 45 shots he faced.
The Preds started the scoring six minutes into the period when Hornqvist buried the puck by Steve Mason.
Shea Weber was able to steal the puck away from the Jackets in the zone and feed it to Mike Fisher up the middle. Fisher got the puck into Columbus' zone and fed the puck over to Hornqvist who put the puck in the net with a wrister.
Neither team was able to score for the remaining minutes of the frame, but a physical game was played by both teams for the remainder of the period.
No penalties were given and Columbus out shot the Preds 12-10.
Matt Halischuk brought Preds fans to their feet early when he scored 1:48 in the second period.
Jordin Tootoo was able to keep the puck in the zone and tap the puck to Jerrod Smithson. Smithson then made an excellent backhand pass to a wide open Halischuk that deked in front of Jackets netminder and hit twine with a wrist shot.
Nashville was not done yet. Just 54 seconds after the second goal of the game, Hornqvist intercepted a pass from a Columbus player and backhanded the puck past Mason and into the net. 3-0 Preds.
The Jackets immediately called a timeout after this goal to regroup. And regroup they did. Rinne had to make some key saves during the period as the Blue Jackets took shot after shot, and kept the Preds the 3-0 lead.
Columbus continued to play a very physical game in the second which resulted in a fight at 14:52 when Blake Geoffrion got in his first NHL fight with Derek Mackenzie. Geoffrion showed fans that he could stand his on ground as he landed some great hits on Mackenzie and eventually took him down to the ice.
The Preds play continued to dwindle after the third goal and it caught up with them 18:32 in the second when Blue Jackets' Derick Brassard beat Rinne glove side with a slapshot from the slot.
Nashville got the first power play of the game with 9.7 seconds left in the period when Sami Lepisto was called for hooking.
Shot on goal for the period:
Columbus 22 Nashville 8
Nashville started the period with a power play opportunity, but it was short lived as Steve Sullivan was charged with a tripping call 58 seconds into the period.
The Predators had something to prove in the third period. Lately they have played sloppy and allowed comebacks during the period which had many fans wondering how they could even make the playoffs. Nashville demonstrated Friday that they finally had it together in the third.
The Preds played an outstanding third period, compared to previous games, and kept the Blue Jackets from scoring any goals. They were able to focus and play smart, despite their 3-1 advantage. This play resulted in the Preds adding to their lead at 12:25 when Kostitsyn tipped the puck in off of Hornqvist's shot.
Lepisto gave the Predators two more power play opportunities shortly after Kostitsyn's goal when he was charged with delay of game and a high-sticking call. However, the Preds were unable to capitalize on the chances and went on to beat the Blue Jackets 4-1.
Shots on goal:
Columbus 11 for a game total of 45
Nashville 7 for a game total of 25
Steve Sullivan returned to the lineup Friday night after sitting out since February 17 due to a lower body injury.
Martin Erat was scratched Friday night.
Nashville ends the regular season tomorrow when they battle the St. Louis Blues. The Blues have been a dangerous team in the league recently and will continue to play intense hockey despite not making the playoffs.
Puck drops at 7PM.