COLUMBUS, Ohio — Rookie goalie Marek Mazanec made 19 saves for his second shutout, and Matt Cullen and Nick Spaling each had a goal and an assist as the streaking Nashville Predators beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-0 on Wednesday night.
Mike Fisher and David Legwand also scored for Nashville, which has found its groove on the heels of a four-game losing streak. Mazanec, filling in while Pekka Rinne recovers from a hip injury, earned his fifth win — all in the last six games.
The Predators improved to 11-1-2 when scoring first and 9-0-1 when leading after the opening period.
Columbus was back home after a 3-2 trip to Canada. The Blue Jackets had hoped to build on the momentum of a 6-0 victory Monday against Toronto, but instead they have alternated wins and losses for six games and still find themselves searching for the type of balanced, hard-nosed play from late last season that nearly propelled them into the playoffs.
The switch to the Eastern Conference this season didn’t change Columbus’ fortunes against their former Central Divisional rivals. Except for last season, the Predators have mostly dominated the series, and they again controlled the play in this one.
Poor defense was a culprit for Columbus, while Nashville pressed the entire game.
Cullen made it 1-0 with his fifth goal at 9:58 of the first from the edge of the right circle, scoring on a slick pass from Ryan Ellis. The Blue Jackets were outshot 14-4 in the period, with their best chance coming off Matt Calvert’s stick in tight.
On a power play that carried into the second period, Fisher beat two Blue Jackets players to a bouncing puck in the slot and smacked it past Sergei Bobrovsky for his fifth goal 54 seconds in. It was Nashville’s first shot of the period.
Later in the period, the Predators won battles behind the net and one for a puck in the slot. This time it was Legwand scoring his fifth to make it 3-0.
The home crowd later booed the Blue Jackets on a lackluster power play.
Spaling scored his fourth goal from the hash marks on a nice feed from Cullen at 2:02 of the third.