Blue Jackets fall flat against Predators 5-1

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Shea Weber and James Neal each had a goal and an assist to lead the Nashville Predators to a 5-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night.

Mattias Ekholm, Craig Smith and Calle Jarnkrok also scored for the Predators, who have won five of six. Roman Josi had three assists and has 44 this season, setting a franchise record for a defenseman. Pekka Rinne made 18 saves.

Nashville is 32-5-4 at home against Columbus.

Boone Jenner had the lone goal for the Jackets, who have lost three of four.

Neal scored the game’s first goal at 3:04 of the opening period.

From the right faceoff dot, Neal used Columbus defenseman David Savard as a screen and fired a wrist shot that beat goaltender Joonas Korpisalo on the far side.

Korpisalo stopped 43 of the 48 shots he faced.

The goal was Neal’s 30th of the season, and earlier in the week, Filip Forsberg scored his 30th. This is just the second time the Predators have had a pair of 30-goal scorers. In 2005-06, both Steve Sullivan and Paul Kariya scored 31 goals.

Jenner evened the game at 11:52 of the first.

From the left circle, Jenner sent a cross-ice pass to Brandon Saad, whose shot attempt from the right circle was stopped by Rinne. The rebound fell in the crease, and Jenner was there to poke it home. Jenner has goals in three straight.

Nashville regained the lead at 17:33 of the first when Ekholm redirected in a slap pass from Ryan Ellis for his career-high eighth goal of the season.

Nashville had 27 shots on goal in the first period, a franchise record for shots in a period.

In the second, Savard blocked Weber’s shot and the rebound came to Smith in the slot, where he fired the puck past Korpisalo for his 19th of the season at 6:11.

Weber followed at 14:14 with a one-timer from the left side on the power play to make it 4-1.

Jarnkrok made it 5-1 at 23 seconds of the third with a redirection of Josi’s pass from the left point.

NOTES: Saad has assists in three consecutive games. … This is the second time in Neal’s career that he has scored 30 goals, with the first being in 2011-12 with Pittsburgh. He finished that season with 40. … Prior to the game, the Predators announced that they would be speaking in the coming days with Harvard senior Jimmy Vesey, who Nashville drafted in the 3rd round in 2012. Vesey’s collegiate career ended Friday night in the Crimson’s loss to Boston College in the NCAA Tournament.