Predators 7, Blue Jackets 3

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)—Rick Nash was happy with Columbus’ first period. The rest didn’t go well at all.

Jordin Tootoo netted his first goal of the season, and the Nashville Predators scored a team-record six times in the second period in a 7-3 victory over the Blue Jackets on Saturday night.

Tootoo, Kris Beech, Marek Zidlicky, Steve Sullivan, Yanic Perreault, and Jerred Smithson’s all scored in the middle period to set the Predators mark for goals in a frame. It was also the most allowed in a period by Columbus.

“We kind of got a lucky one on Tootoo’s shot, and that got things going for us,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said of the long slap-shot goal.

Darcy Hordichuk scored Nashville’s final goal in the third. Tootoo, who played in the Predators’ season opener before being sent back to Milwaukee of the AHL, was recalled on Thursday.

David Vyborny scored a penalty-shot goal and added an assist for the Blue Jackets (9-23).

“I thought we had a great first period,” said Nash, who returned from injury. “It is still going to take some time to find where each other are, but for stepping out there and not really practicing together, it is pretty positive.”

Even Nash’s return couldn’t help the Blue Jackets. Nash, who tied for the NHL lead with 41 goals during the 2003-04 season, played for just the fourth time this season. He gave Columbus a 1-0 lead 12:34 in with his first of the season. He played on a line with Sergei Fedorov and Vyborny.

Nashville’s Tomas Vokoun made 23 saves 10 days after he was forced out by a knee injury.

“I didn’t really feel that great, I was still a little shaky from the injury,” Vokoun said. “When the guys played great and scored a lot of goals, that took the pressure off of me.”

Vyborny beat Vokoun on a penalty shot, awarded after Nashville defenseman Mark Eaton was whistled for covering the puck with his hand in the crease at 14:50 of the third period.

“He made a nice play on that one,” Vokoun said of Vyborny. “I thought he was going to go one way, but he went the complete opposite way.”

With the Blue Jackets on the power play, Nash got a rebound of Vyborny’s shot and lifted a backhand over Vokoun’s left shoulder.

Nashville defenseman Dan Hamhuis had three assists.

Columbus goaltender Marc Denis allowed six Nashville goals on 25 shots, and was replaced by backup Pascal Leclaire to start the third period.

Denis’ undoing appeared to be Tootoo’s goal, a 100-foot slap shot that slipped between his pads.

“There is no way to sugarcoat that, it is a bad goal, I’m the one responsible for that one,” Denis said. “As much as you don’t want one play, one goal to change the whole game, that one did.”

Hordichuk made it 7-2 at 7:22 of the third period with a breakaway goal.

“The last time I had a breakaway, I tried five-hole,” Hordichuk said. “I have been working on my breakaway move in practice, and today I had it and just buried it.”

“We had some great energy out of the Tootoo, Smithson, and Hordichuk line,” Trotz said. “They got us some big goals.”

Jan Hrdina accounted for the other Columbus goal with a short-handed tally at 6:03 of the second period.

“They (Nashville) are an aggressive forechecking team, and we didn’t show up physically enough to do anything about it,” Columbus coach Gerard Gallant said.

Notes

Both of Columbus’ short-handed goals this season have come against the Predators. … Nashville is 20-7-3, including 15-3 at home.

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S. Sullivan S. Sullivan
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Goalie Team Shot Save
Pascal Leclaire Ott 7 6