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Spals to the Wall: Preds open New Year with 4-1 win

Photo Credit: Paul Nicholson

It took Nick Spaling 50 NHL games to net his first career goal. It only took 9 more for him to net his second.

Columbus opened the game with a quick score on Pekka Rinne, scoring in the first minute of the first period on an R.J. Umberger tip-in just 37 seconds into the game.

“If you ever want to suck the energy out of a building, just give up a goal in the first shift,” Predators coach Barry Trotz said after the game.

Luckily for the Predators and the home fans, it was the last time the Blue Jackets would see the scoresheet, despite holding the lead for the next 20+ minutes.

“The second period, we just played better hockey,” Trotz said. “We just got on the puck, stayed on the puck, created some stuff, went to the net, had a little bit of a blue paint mentality and we scored our first goal.”

That first goal came at 2:59 of the second when Shea Weber blasted a shot from the point that beat Columbus goalie Steve Mason to tie the game. Colin Wilson and Patric Hornqvist had the assists.

A little over ten minutes later, in a scramble in front of the net, Spaling buried a shot while falling that would end up being the difference maker. The assists on the goal went to Shea Weber and Joel Ward.

Patric Hornqvist would add an almost identical falling-to-the-ice goal three minutes later on the power play while Weber picked up his second assist of the night and Suter picked up his first.

Finally, at 5:53 of the third, Sergei Kostitsyn redirected a Colin Wilson shot into the net for the “Frosty Goal”. David Legwand also picked up an assist on the play.

The game looked to be well in hand and the Predators were cruising to victory when, at 7:58 of the third, the referee blew the play dead. Cal O’Reilly was near the boards next to the penalty box trying to crawl back to the bench.

The diagnosis – a broken fibula – is an injury that, if it doesn’t end Cal’s season, will at least put him on the shelf for quite a while.

Other Notes:

  • The Predators are 2-0-0 with Marek Svatos in the lineup.
  • Nashville won the first game of the calendar year for the second year in a row. Last year, they defeated Anaheim 3-1.
  • Wade Belak’s 8:44 of ice time, 12 shifts and 2 shots were all season highs. It was only Belak’s 5th 12+ shift game since joining the Predators in November 2008. In 86 games with the Predators, he has only seen more ice time in 4 other games.
  • With his 3 point night, Shea Weber has entered a tie with Steve Sullivan as the team’s leading scorer. No player is currently on pace to break 50 points. In fact, Sullivan and Weber are the only two on pace to break 40.

PHOTO CREDIT: Paul Nicholson