NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE (TICKER) —The Nashville Predators have emerged from the basement.
Returning from a 1-2-1 road trip, the Predators opened a six-game homestand by throughly outplaying the Blue Jackets. They had a 39-17 advantage in shots and moved one point ahead of their division rivals.
Legwand made two of those shots count, registering his third multi-goal game of the season.
Defenseman Andy Delmore snapped a 1-1 tie 19 seconds into the third period and Legwand scored just under five minutes later, giving Nashville a two-goal cushion.
Delmore tied a career high with his 16th goal, 13 of which have come on the power play. Scott Walker, who had three assists, won a faceoff from Geoff Sanderson and worked the puck to the high slot. Delmore one-timed a rising shot that beat goaltender Marc Denis to the stick side.
“It was a really disappointing loss,” Sanderson said. “They turned it up in the third period.”
Less than six minutes later, Legwand beat Denis on a breakaway for his 16th goal.
Walker had the puck in the neutral zone and backhand a pass to Legwand inside the Columbus blue line. From the right faceoff circle, Legwand rippped a wrist shot over Denis’ glove.
“You have to bury them when you get your chances,” said Legwand, who has six goals in his last nine games.
“(Legwand) is very fast and he has very good hands when he is in alone with the goalie,” Walker added. “When you see him open, you get a little smile on your face because you want to get him the puck.”
David Vyborny pulled the Blue Jackets within 3-2 at 14:43 with his 14th goal. With Nashville captain Greg Johnson serving a double-minor for high-sticking, rookie Rick Nash slid a backhander through the crease. Vyborny corraled the puck and put a backhander over goalie Tomas Vokoun’s glove.
Espen Knutsen’s power-play goal gave the Blue Jackets a 1-0 lead 15:21 into the first period. From the left faceoff circle, Ray Whitney fired a cross-ice pass to Knutsen, who put a one-timer between Vokoun’s pads.
Knutsen’s goal was one of four shots in the first period by Columbus, which ended up with 17.
“It’s very tough to get any kind of rhythm with only 17 shots against,” Vokoun said.
The Predators had 16 shots in the opening period, failing to convert during a 64-second two-man advantage.
Legwand tied it just over seven minutes into the second. Walker hit Legwand with a pass just outside the blue line and the former first-round draft pick beat Denis on another breakaway.
“It’s nice to get a couple of breakaways,” Legwand said. “When you find yourself free from the blue line in, it’s always nice.”
“He’s a great player, he’s got good speed and he made a couple of good plays,” Columbus coach Doug MacLean observed.