Filip Forsberg propels Predators to regular season finale win over Blue Jackets.
The Nashville Predators welcomed the Columbus Blue Jackets to Bridgestone Arena on Saturday night for what was the regular season finale for both clubs. While the game seemingly didn’t mean anything for Nashville after wrapping up the Presidents’ Trophy on Thursday, the Preds still came out and grabbed a 4-2 victory.
Filip Forsberg was the man of the night as he recorded a hat trick while Austin Watson scored the first goal of the evening for the Predators. With the win, the Predators finished the regular season with a 53-18-11 record.
How It All Went Down
The start to this one featured some back-and-forth action between the two clubs and a good bit of free-space.
The Predators however were the first to get on the board as Watson netted his 14th of the year 7:52 into the contest. Mike Fisher picked up the lone assist on the tally.
"Mind if I snipe this puck really quickly?"
— p-Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) April 8, 2018
Nashville received its first power play chance of the night with 9:48 left in the first period and it capitalized to double the lead.
Scott Hartnell handled the puck behind the Columbus net before finding Forsberg out in front as the Swede scored with just under nine minutes left in the frame.
Forsberg was just getting started in the first period.
Ian Cole was whistled for his second minor of the night putting the Predators on the power play with 1:44 left in the period. With one second left in the period, Craig Smith found Forsberg just to the right of the slot and No. 9’s shot hit the crossbar and bounced in giving him his second power play goal of the period.
Nashville carried its 3-0 lead into the first intermission along with a 15-13 edge in the shots on goal category.
Columbus got on the board 7:55 into the second period as Josh Anderson beat Pekka Rinne on a partial breakaway after being sprung into the zone on a pass by Mark Letestu. The tally came on the first real scoring chance from either side in the middle frame.
Anderson’s goal was the only one of what was a rather uneventful second period.
Both sides registered 10 shots on goal in the middle frame while the Predators posted a 7-6 edge in 5-on-5 scoring chances.
Rinne’s night was finished after the second period as the Preds elected to give Juuse Saros the third period. Rinne finished the night with 22 saves on 23 shots faced.
Cole was sent to the penalty box for the third time 6:37 into the final period, but instead of the Predators power play taking advantage it was the Blue Jackets that made it a one goal contest with a shorthanded tally.
Brandon Dubinsky scored the shorthanded goal with 12:40 left in regualation for his sixth of the season.
While Columbus got its way back into the contest with the Dubinsky goal, Nashville and Saros stood strong down the stretch while Forsberg finished things off with an empty net goal with 40 seconds remaining.
The Blue Jacktets finished the game with a 31-27 edge in the shots on goal category while Nashville was more dominant in creating scoring chances as the Preds took home a 30-20 edge in all situations.