| • News
• Game Notes
• Ticket Info
• Post-Game Video
• NHL Standings
|Cam Atkinson Post-game (10/7/11) - Fri, 07 Oct 2011|
|Vinny Prospal Post-game (10/7/11) - Fri, 07 Oct 2011|
|Rick Nash Post-game (10/7/11) - Fri, 07 Oct 2011|
|Game Day Preview: Nashville - Fri, 07 Oct 2011|
|Opening Night Memories (10/7/11) - Fri, 07 Oct 2011|
|Practice Report (10/6/11) - Thu, 06 Oct 2011|
|Visit Jackets TV|
On this night, it wasn’t that the Blue Jackets were particularly “off.” Pekka Rinne was terrific.
The Blue Jackets began their 2011-12 regular season with a 3-2 defeat at the hands of the rival Nashville Predators. A sellout crowd of 18,247 at Nationwide Arena kept the volume up all night long and nearly willed the tying goal into the net late in the third period.
It was a seesaw game that neither team could seemingly get a grasp on until early in the third period. Columbus directed 34 shots at Rinne on the evening, and Rinne made 32 often-stellar saves to thwart the Blue Jackets attack.
“Pekka Rinne was solid for 60 minutes,” Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel said. “We were throwing lots of rubber at him, and at the very end there we had some great chances. Both of our goals were guys plowing into the crease area and getting second and third whacks.
“I thought we played hard, but couldn’t find that third one.”
Vinny Prospal and Rick Nash tallied for the Blue Jackets (0-1-0), who will get right back on its horse tomorrow night at Minnesota. It will be the home opener for the Wild, and Columbus wants to crash Minnesota’s party as the Predators did tonight.
Steve Mason turned in a solid performance with 28 saves for the Blue Jackets.
As a team, the Predators do not take many penalties but they gave Columbus a terrific opportunity to tie the game late in the third period.
Moments before Predators forward Craig Smith was flagged for hooking Nash in the slot, the Blue Jackets captain had potted a goal to cut Nashville’s lead to 3-2. The capacity crowd was on its feet, attempting to vocally spur the Blue Jackets back to all-square.
The Columbus man-advantage unit was 0-for-5 tonight, but was given a chance to make up for it. This was Rinne’s spotlight moment of the night. He robbed Nash and Fedor Tyutin in a close window, and Prospal nearly tied the game but rang the glove-side post.
That was the turning point – albeit an unfortunate one for the home side tonight.
The top line of Nash, Jeff Carter and Prospal racked up six total points (two goals, four assists) in a dominant performance as a trio, but in the words of Arniel, were unable to come up with another.
-Even in a losing effort, it was a tremendous Blue Jackets debut for Carter. The
top-line center had two assists and generated several scoring chances in the third period. He fired six shots on goal and won 24-of-31 faceoffs (77.4 percent) in total. He was one-third of a promising and threatening Columbus top trio.
-For one night, Grant Clitsome (24:29) unseated usual TOI leader Tyutin (23:14) and looked comfortable as a top-four defenseman. He was a regular on the power-play point tonight and as usual, got his heavy shot through to the net. Three pucks got to Rinne off Clitsome’s stick and as Arniel said after the game, the shot on goal approach created second and third chances to score. If they continue to do that, the Blue Jackets will cash in on the power play sooner rather than later.
-Radek Martinek was about as Radek Martinek as he could be tonight. Though he did not appear on the scoresheet, he played 21:59 in his Blue Jackets debut and formed a steady top pair with Tyutin. He blocked two shots and took two shots of his own, all the while appearing calm and collected under duress. Arniel and Howson describe Martinek as a “true professional,” and his effort tonight was just that.
-The two-point effort from Nash was his 124th career multi-point game. If we use tonight’s performance with his new line mates as a precedent, he will be adding to that total frequently this season.
UP NEXT FOR THE BLUE JACKETS
Tomorrow - 8 p.m.
XCel Energy Center, St. Paul, MN
Radio: 1460 ESPN & BlueJackets.com
AP RECAP- by Rusty Miller
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ryan Suter had a goal and an assist and Craig Smith scored his first NHL goal to lead the Nashville Predators past the Columbus Blue Jackets, 3-2 on Friday night in the opener for both teams.
Matt Halischuk also scored for the Predators, who are 11-5-2 on Columbus' home ice since 2006-07 and 18-11-3 overall. Pekka Rinne had 32 saves, many of highlight-reel quality while the Blue Jackets were frantically scrambling to catch up before a capacity crowd of 18,247.
Rick Nash and Vinny Prospal, one of the new players on a remade Columbus roster, each had a goal and an assist for the Blue Jackets. Jeff Carter, the former Philadelphia star acquired in a blockbuster deal this summer, had two assists in his first game for the Blue Jackets.
After a scoreless opening period, Nashville got on the board first with a power-play goal 5 minutes into the second period.
On a give-and-go, Sergei Kostitsyn carried the puck out of the corner and slid a pass to Suter at the left dot for the one-timer.
The Predators had a man advantage because Columbus' Derek Dorsett closed his gloved hand on the puck while trying to clear it from the zone after losing his stick.
The Blue Jackets countered with the first of two goals from their highly touted first line.
On a rush, Nash dropped a pass to Carter, who fired a shot just from inside the right point. Carter's shot appeared to handcuff Rinne, the puck sliding off his arm and down the back of his leg toward the goal line. Prospal, like Carter playing his first game for the Blue Jackets, beat teammate Fedor Tyutin to the loose puck and jammed it in.
But the Predators quickly regained the lead and didn't give it up.
Shea Weber, with one of the hardest shots of any NHL player, unloaded a shot from the right point. Goalie Steve Mason, who had 28 saves, thought he had covered the puck as he fell backward, but it sat on the ice near the goal line. Smith pounced on the puck for his landmark first goal.
The third period was less than a minute old when Cal O'Reilly tossed the puck near the goal and Halischuk collected it and backhanded it into the net - with his back to Mason.
Columbus cut the lead to 3-2 with 9:41 left when Prospal circled the back of the net and slid the puck to Nash, who had a defender draped all over him as he muscled in to push the puck past Rinne.
Rinne was flat on the ice to stop a shot by Mason in the final minutes, then came up big during a major scrum in the crease in the closing seconds.
NOTES: Weber's hard shot in the second period knocked the mask off of Mason. ... Three rookies made their NHL debuts for the Blue Jackets: RW Cam Atkinson, C Ryan Johansen and D David Savard. ... Nashville RW Martin Erat left the ice in the first period grimacing in the first period but returned to play the final two periods.
Rusty Miller can be reached at http://twitter.com/rustymillerap