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Predators' 5-goal outburst ends Blue Jackets' 10-game points streak

The SportsXchange

NASHVILLE -- Taylor Beck is considered one of Nashville's top prospects.

On Saturday night, the 21-year old left wing showed why when he opened the Predators' explosive first period against the National Hockey League's hottest goaltender.

In just his third game, Beck scored his first goal, starting a four-goal assault in a span of three minutes and four seconds as Nashville ended Columbus' franchise-record streak of 12 games with a point in a 5-2 decision at Bridgestone Arena.

Both teams are 13-13-6 with a third of their season remaining. But it was Nashville which gained ground for one of eight playoff spots in the Western Conference, thanks to its newest player.

"I've worked my whole life to score a goal in this league," Beck said, a big grin creasing his face. "I've finally got my first. It's a great feeling."

It was one worthy of a highlight film as Beck roared past defenseman Fedor Tyutin down the right wing and snapped a 35-foot wrist shot past Sergei Bobrovsky at 7:11. While Gabriel Bourque and Jonathan Blum drew assists, it was mostly about Beck's skills.

Predators coach Barry Trotz felt Beck was ready to score after just missing a pair of opportunities in Thursday evening's 5-3 win over Calgary.

"He got us started," Trotz said. "I thought he played really, really well."

Following Beck's lead, Nashville chased Bobrovsky after 10 minutes and 15 seconds. Shea Weber, David Legwand and Matt Halischuk added goals, with Halischuk's wrist shot zooming over Bobrovsky's glove (left) hand for a 4-1 lead.

It was a 180-degree turn for Bobrovsky, who entered the night with an 8-0-2 record, a 0.98 goals-against average and a .967 save percentage in his last 10 appearances.

"He's played at a very high level lately," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said. "But we've all got to play at a high level when we're on the road. Nashville was a desperate team tonight. They know what it takes to win in the playoffs.

"When we're on the road, everyone's got to pull on the rope. Bottom line was in the first 10 minutes, they just wanted it more."

Following Beck's goal, Weber followed with a power play goal at 8:21, snapping Bobby Butler's diagonal pass into an open net from 35 feet out as Bobrovsky was slow to react.

After R.J. Umberger got the Blue Jackets on the board with a power play tally at 9:29, David Legwand scored on a rebound 17 seconds later. Halischuk's goal, just his second of the year, finished the onslaught.

Artem Anisimov pulled Columbus within two at 14:53 of the second period when his wrist shot deflected off the stick of Predators center Mike Fisher and past Pekka Rinne. But Rinne couldn't be solved after that, finishing with 21 saves.

Nashville's Roman Josi tacked on an empty-net power play goal at 19:36 of the third period, giving the team 33 in its last nine matches. It scored only 47 in the first 23 games.

"Sometimes, you get the bounces, and sometimes, you don't get them," Halischuk said. "That's the way hockey goes. We're starting to play the right way and hopefully, we'll get a majority of the bounces."

NOTES: Nashville left winger Rich Clune picked up a five-minute major for interference and a game misconduct at 10:27 of the first period. Columbus had 1:53 of 5 on 3 man advantage during Clune's penalty after Mike Fisher was nailed for goalkeeper interference, but the Blue Jackets managed just three shots on goal and didn't score during its extended power play. Trotz said he didn't think Clune's hit merited a game misconduct, although replays showed Clune jumping to complete the check. ... Predators defenseman Hal Gill (lower-body injury) returned after missing the past 12 games. ... Blue Jackets defenseman James Wisniewski (foot) missed his 12th straight game but he hopes to play during a four-game road trip. ... Nashville sent forward Craig Smith to Milwaukee of the AHL for a conditioning assignment. Smith, who played in the team's first 30 games, was scratched Thursday night after poor play in a 4-3 loss on Tuesday night at Columbus.
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