If the Columbus Blue Jackets’ streak was going to end, it was likely to happen in Nashville.
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Taylor Beck had a goal and an assist during Nashville’s four-goal first period and the Predators beat the Blue Jackets 5-2 on Saturday night to win consecutive games for the first time in over a month.
Shea Weber, David Legwand and Matt Halischuk also scored in the opening period for Nashville. Roman Josi added an empty-netter in the closing seconds for the Predators, while Martin Erat, Gabriel Bourque and Bobby Butler each had a pair of assists.
”I thought we started off really well, that was the main thing,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. ”We forechecked well, we had a lot of detail to our game, we had a lot of jump, and we kept them in their end pretty well.”
R.J. Umberger and Artem Anisimov had the goals for the Blue Jackets, whose franchise-record streak of earning at least one point ended at 12 games (8-0-4). Columbus has won just two games in Nashville since the start of the 2006-07 season.
Sergei Bobrovsky stopped only seven of the 11 shots he faced before being replaced midway through the first by Steve Mason, who had 12 saves the rest of the way.
Beck got things started at 7:11 of the first, kicking off a 3:04 stretch in which five goals were scored. Just after Umberger rang a shot off of the left post in Nashville’s zone, the Predators carried the puck the other way, and Beck fired a wrist shot from the right faceoff dot that beat Bobrovsky high to the short side.
”I’ve worked my whole life to score goals in the NHL,” Beck said. ”Now that I finally got my first, it is a great feeling.”
It was Beck’s third career NHL game since being called up from Milwaukee of the AHL on Tuesday.
”A lot of games, we have had some good scoring chances that didn’t go in,” Bourque said. ”Tonight, every puck was going in in the first,”
Weber, Nashville’s captain, doubled the lead at 8:21 with a power-play goal before Umberger pulled Columbus to 2-1 at 9:29, converting on a goalmouth scramble. The goal was briefly reviewed and allowed to stand.
Legwand and Halischuk scored 29 seconds apart in the middle of the first to give Nashville a 4-1 lead.
”Surely no excuses,” Columbus right wing Jared Boll said. ”We knew they were come hard. They are a good team, and this is a tough barn to play in. They make it hard on you and that’s what they did.”
The Blue Jackets had an opportunity to close the gap later in the period when they had a 5-on-3 power play for 1:53. Rich Clune was given a 5-minute major for interference and a game misconduct at 10:27, and Mike Fisher was whistled for goaltender interference at 13:24, but Columbus managed just one shot on Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne during the two-man advantage.
”They were playing at a level that we weren’t ready to get at,” Columbus coach Todd Richards said. ”We need everyone pulling the same way. We need everyone on top of their game, and we didn’t have everyone tonight.”
Anisimov’s goal with 5:07 left in the second cut Nashville’s lead to 4-2. With the puck on the left side, Anisimov spun and his shot tipped off Fisher’s stick and over Rinne’s right shoulder.
Notes:Nashville D Hal Gill returned to the lineup after missing 12 games with a lower-body injury. … The Predators are 8-2-4 at home this season. … Columbus’ last win in regulation in Nashville came April 3, 2006. … The Blue Jackets have been outscored 29-17 in the first period this season.