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Preds finally get back in win column, dispose of Jackets…

Coming into today’s game, the Nashville Predators were 15-0-0 against the Columbus Blue Jackets since 2006-07 inside the friendly confines of Bridgestone Arena.

Make that 16-0-0.

In front of 16,340 fans who decided to take in the Sunday matinee, the Preds got off “the schnide” by disposing of Columbus in thrilling fashion, 3-2.

Nashville got goals from Shea Weber, Jon Blum and David Legwand, as well as 25 saves from Pekka Rinne, to notch their first win in five games.

With the regulation win, the Preds vaulted themselves back into the playoff picture, securing 8th place in the West. Of course, Chicago (10th place), Anaheim (11th) and Calgary (9th) all play later tonight so, when you wake up tomorrow morning, things could be very different.

And, maybe more important than their own positioning, Nashville winning in regulation means they helped keep Columbus at bay. The Blue Jackets have 68 points and are trying desperately to reach the logjam of teams in the West that have at least 70 point so they can improve their playoff chances.

The game was scoreless through the first 34:00 but, midway through the second period, there was a lengthy review. The Blue Jackets appeared to have scored the first goal of the night when RJ Umberger drove hard to the net and Colin Wilson, while trying to help out his goaltender, knocked the puck over the line. The whistle blew but the referee was curiously waving it off. After several minutes – and I do mean several minutes – the verdict came back from the War Room in Toronto: no goal. Apparently it was inconclusive.

It would only be a matter of time, however. After Weber took a penalty, the Blue Jackets scored on the power play to make it 1-0. Rookie Matt Calvert (who’s come out of nowhere after spending most of the season in Springfield, by the way) deflected it past Rinne to get his 10th of the season. He now has six goals in his last four games.

The Predators finally got a power play and Weber put about five games worth of frustration into it and blasted a rocket toward the net. The puck hit Jan Hejda and deflected into the net to tie the game. Hejda stayed face down on the ice after the goal. He eventually got to his feet and went straight to the dressing room.

Moments later, one of the newest Nashville Predators and the pride of Long Beach, California, Jon Blum tallied his first career NHL goal with a shot from the blueline. The puck found it’s way through traffic and hit the twine for Nashville’s second goal of the game.

The Blue Jackets would tie the game though when Shane O’Brien tried to clear the puck up the middle of the ice on the Columbus power play. It was caught and knocked down by Kris Russell, who wristed a shot through traffic and past Rinne to tie the game. Clearing the puck up the middle of the ice while on the penalty kill is a huge no-no. Like… Hockey 101 stuff. Terrible decision by O’Brien there.

With just over a 1:30 left in regulation, Weber came out of the box, gained the blue line, dished it to Erat who took a shot. The rebound came straight to Legwand who put it up and over an out-stretched Mathieu Garon for the game-winning goal.

Nashville will now fly out to Edmonton, Alberta where they’ll start their last multi-game road trip of the 2010-11 season. They’ll be playing the Oilers, the Calgary Flames, the Vancouver Canucks and the San Jose Sharks in the next week and a half, all of which are important games for Nashville as they fight to stay in the playoff picture.

But first things first for Predators fans: the NHL trade deadline. Less than 24 hours from now, the deadline will have come and gone and, given the Preds recent slide, it’ll be very interesting to see what General Manager David Poile does to improve the roster.

Stay tuned to as we’ll have all of your Nashville Predators news and notes from trade deadline day!

Oh, and the puck drops (hopefully with some new Preds in the lineup) at 8:30pm Central on Tuesday night in Edmonton. You can catch all the action on 102.9 the Buzz and FS-Tennessee.

* While he became the first born and raised Tennessean to play in an NHL game yesterday, Blake Geoffrion became the first Tennessean to play an NHL game in his home state today.
* Coming into the game, the home team in this series has won 17 of the last 21 games. Now it’s 18 of the last 22.
* During the first period, RDS hockey insider Renaud Lavoie tweeted that the scratched Predator JP Dumont would waive his NTC (no trade clause) if it meant going to the Montreal Canadiens. Josh Cooper then asked Poile about that and his response was “I’ve never talked to him about that.”
* Martin Erat has scored 42 points in his 47 career games against Columbus. He hasn’t been more successful against any other team in the league.
* Cody Franson circled back after the celebration to get the puck that Blum scored his first career NHL goal with.
* Weber did not come out to circle the ice for his third star honors as he was probably getting stitched up. He took a dirty hit by Umberger in the final seconds of action. Umberger planted the Preds captain into the boards from behind. Weber got cut above his right eye. No penalty was called.
* Original Predator Bob Boughner was behind the Blue Jackets bench as an assistant coach. But that’s not his only Nashville connection. He also led Preds prospect Ryan Ellis and the Windsor Spitfires to back-to-back Memorial Cups the last two years.
* Speaking of Ellis, with his two goals in today’s game, he recorded his 299th and 300th career OHL points. He is now second all-time in Windsor scoring.
* Former Predators prospect Hugh Jessiman was recalled by the Florida Panthers today. When he suited up this afternoon, it meant that every single 2003 first round draft pick has played in the NHL.

MY THREE STARS (as voted on with 5:21 remaning in regulation):
1) Shea Weber (NSH)
2) Jon Blum (NSH)
3) Matt Calvert (CMB)

1) David Legwand (NSH)
2) Jon Blum (NSH)
3) Shea Weber (NSH)

PHOTO CREDIT: Jeremy K. Gover //