COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP)Nick Blankenburg scored the go-ahead goal with 1:23 left in the game as the Columbus Blue Jackets rallied from a two-goal deficit and scored four times in the third period for a 5-3 win over the Nashville Predators on Thursday night.
Columbus rallied from two goals down for the second consecutive game and has won two straight.
Blankenburg, a healthy scratch the first three games of the season, also had an assist. Johnny Gaudreau had two goals, Jake Bean and Justin Danforth also scored and Yegor Chinakhov finished with two assists. Elvis Merzlikins stopped 23 shots for Columbus.
”Scorings is infectious and so is not scoring,” Blue Jackets coach Brad Larsen said. ”You hope these last two games you can take a breath and you start seeing guys are hanging onto the pucks and making plays, not throwing it away under pressure. You start to notice those things, and you find a rhythm to your game.”
Tanner Jeannot and Yakov Trenin each had a goal and an assist for Nashville, and Ryan Johansen also scored. Colton Sissons had two assists. Kevin Lankinen stopped 37 for the Predators, who have lost four straight.
”We got up early in the game, and then I think the second period alone we gave up seven odd-man rushes five, five-on-fives, two on the power play,” Predators coach John Hynes said. ”Tonight, in particular, our puck decisions, our puck play, were lacking. Our attention to detail without the puck was lacking. And when you want to play that type of game, odds are you’re going to lose.”
Jeannot put Nashville on the board at 3:16 of the first with his second goal in two games, slapping at a bouncing puck until it slipped past Merzlikins. Former Blue Jacket Johansen made it 2-0 at 10:45 of the first with a backhander off a rebound.
Bean finally put Columbus on the board at 16:09 of the second, just seconds after a Predators penalty kill. Trenin padded the Nashville lead 1:31 later after digging the puck out along the wall and firing it high into the net.
Gaudreau brought Columbus within one 38 seconds into the third period with a breakaway, scoring over Lankinen’s left shoulder. Danforth pulled the Blue Jackets even at 12:07 of the third with his second goal in two games.
”We were pushing the whole second and third periods,” Gaudreau said. ”We had a lot of opportunities to score. We kept with it, kept sticking with it and got rewarded in the third.”
Blankenburg put Columbus ahead from the right circle off a feed from Jakob Voracek, and Gaudreau added an empty-net goal at 19:14.
”I blacked out,” Blankenburg said of the goal. ”I don’t even remember it. That one feels good.”
Nashville appeared to go up 3-0 early in the second, but Roman Josi’s goal was waved off for offsides.
”A team can play pretty loose and ultra aggressive when they’re down a few goals, especially at home,” Sissons said. ”The momentum swings a lot. We’ve just got to be more poised, more confident in our game, even when they’re bringing all that pressure. We can make plays without a lot of time and space, and just trusting each other. We just we just froze up under the pressure.”
Nashville, which had averaged 5.31 penalties in its first five games, had three against Columbus, but the Blue Jackets failed to score on the power play. They have been blanked 11 times with the man advantage and remain the only team in the NHL without a power play goal. Nashville went 0-for-5 on the power play and has scored on only one of 26 opportunities.
IN THE LEAD
Chinakhov’s two assists put him in the team lead with four. Nino Niederreiter secondary assist on Johansen’s goal tied him with Mikael Granlund for the team lead in points with five in six games.
Gaudreau kept up his point-per-game pace, posting four goals, two assists and six points in five games this year. He has a a 5-23-28 line in 22 career games versus Nashville.
ON THE MEND
Patrik Laine, who was injured in the Blue Jackets’ season opener, took shots on his own in the practice rink for a second straight day and said his sprained elbow feels better.
Nashville: Hosts Philadelphia on Saturday.
Columbus: Hosts Pittsburgh on Saturday.
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