The Nashville Predators ventured to the Nationwide Arena to take on the Columbus Blue Jackets and were desperately looking for a win to turn around their fortunes. The Predators came into the game with a 3-6-1 record in their last ten games, while the Jackets have improved their play of late and entered with a 5-3-2 record in their last ten game.
Pekka Rinne got the start in net for the Predators, while the surprisingly solid Curtis Sanford started his 11th straight game for the Blue Jackets.
Stop me if you have heard this song before.
The Predators were dominated in time of possession and in shots in the first period. With 17 minutes gone in the first period, the Predators had been outshot 10-1, and except for some good saves by Pekka Rinne, the Blue Jackets would have blown the Predators out of the barn in the first period.
As it was, the Jackets had a 1-0 lead by virtue of a goal from Jeff Carter at 12:42 of the period. Carter skated from behind the goal and whipped a shot from just outside the goal line that was in and out of the net so fast that play continued. After a stoppage of play and a video review, the goal was credited to Carter and the Jackets.
The BJ's made it 2-0 at 10:49 of the second period as Antoine Vermette eluded Jack Hillen and was able to gather in a rebound of a shot by Jared Boll and backhanded the puck over Rinne.
The Predators showed some life as Mike Fisher tallied at at 13:10 with a nice backhand shot off a feed from Sergei Kostitsyn. Finally, the Predators had a response and looked like they had some life.
Whatever momentum the Predators had was quickly squelched as Derek Dorsett absolutely blew through the Predators defense and skated in uncontested on Rinne. His snap shot beat Rinne high glove side just inside the post to make it 3-1 Columbus.
With Rinne pulled for an extra attacker late in the period, Shea Weber sent a shot to the net, and Patric Hornqvist, working hard in the dirty area, banged home a rebound for his 8th goal of the season to cut the deficit to 3-2 with 1:38 left in the contest.
The goal was on only the 4th shot of the period for the Predators.
With 1:06 remaining in the contest, Sami Pahlsson of the BJ's was sent to the box for cross checking. With Rinne pulled, the Predators had a 6 on 4 advantage.
The Predators tied the game with 12.1 seconds to go in the contest as Marty Erat took a shot from the face off circle and the shot was re-directed by Sergei Kostitsyn.
With this flurry at the end of the period, the Predators had amazingly managed to tie the game and send it to overtime.
Fortunately for the Predators, their slumbering offense finally awoke to salvage a point that this team desperately needed.
At 1:45 of the overtime period, Marty Erat skated in 2 on 1 with Colin Wilson. Erat hit Wilson with a perfect pass on his tape and Wilson buried the one timer for the game winning goal.
An improbable win?
A win that can turn the fortunes of a team?
Without a doubt.
This time, the song turned out differently for the Predators.
The Predators were badly outplayed for stretches at a time in this contest. The BJ's were dominant at times. Yet this team kept fighting and working, and finally were rewarded for their effort.
During this miserable period of hockey for the Predators, there have been times where this team hasn't worked and times where they have quit.
I have mentioned on too many occasions that this young team has had to learn some painful lessons. Tonight, they learned that if they keep working and playing their game, eventually they will be rewarded.
This lesson is a lot more fun to learn.
Confidence can be fleeting. Over the past few games, this team has not been confident. The takeaway from tonight's game is that the team should be confident in their work ethic and they should know that if they keep fighting, skating, and working hard, they will be rewarded.
Now it is time to take the lessons from this game and the confidence that you should have from your effort and build on it.
That song is much more fun.
My three stars:
1. Colin Wilson
2. Patric Hornqvist
3. Jeff Carter