Preds Top Blue Jackets, Win Three Straight to Finish Road Trip

Calle Jarnkrok scored the game-winner, and the Nashville Predators concluded their four-game road trip by defeating the Columbus Blue Jackets by a 3-1 final on Tuesday night at Nationwide Arena.

It’s Nashville’s third consecutive victory, bumping their record to 8-5-2 on the season and giving them six out of a possible eight points after a successful swing across the country.

Facing Columbus on the second half of a back-to-back for the home team, Nashville scored first, and after allowing their first and only goal early in the third, the Preds buckled down to place another in the win column.

“It was a gutsy win,” Nashville defenseman Matt Irwin said. “[Pekka Rinne] was great when we needed him to be, and timely goals – they tied it up, but we felt like we were still right in it and the goal at the end by [Jarnkrok] was all we needed.”

After a scoreless first period, Irwin broke the tie with his second goal in three games as he took a feed from Viktor Arvidsson and picked the top corner on Joonas Korpisalo. But early in the third, Pierre-Luc Dubois took advantage of a Nashville turnover and beat Pekka Rinne on a breakaway to even the score.

Then, with less than six minutes to play in regulation, Miikka Salomaki drove to the net and Jarnkrok pounded the rebound home to give the Preds a 2-1 advantage, the final lead they’d need for the night. Viktor Arvidsson iced it with an empty-netter before it was all over, and combined with another stellar effort in net from Rinne – his second consecutive 35-save performance – the Predators found another way to get the job done.

“First of all, Peks, he was unbelievable,” Preds Captain Roman Josi said. “I thought we got better and better and everybody just worked hard and found a way.”

Six of Eight:

It didn’t start the way they wanted, but it sure finished up just fine.

After falling to San Jose in the first outing of their four-game trip, the Preds concluded with three consecutive wins in Anaheim, Los Angeles, and finally in Columbus on Tuesday.

Thanks to timely scoring, clutch goaltending and a bit of snarl, Nashville found a way to defeat two of the West’s better teams in Southern California before heading east to keep the Blue Jackets from collecting their 10th win of the season.

Not a bad few days away from the home front.

“I thought that the guys did what we had to do on the road here, so it was good,” Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “And we walk away with six points. Six out of eight, on a road trip this early, we’ve played a lot of road games so far, for me, it’s good to be in the spot we’re in and go home and look to win some games at home.”

It may be early in the season, but there’s no denying a road trip of this caliber, especially with the success Nashville found, can certainly do something for a team moving forward. The hope is that this past week will do the same this time around.

“There’s been times in past seasons where this West Coast trip has been a season-changer for us, and hopefully it’s this time around, too,” Rinne said. “You play some of the top teams in the League and you come away with six points, so we have to be satisfied and it’s nice to go home now.”

The Predators will return to the friendly confines of Bridgestone Arena for five of the next six in their home building beginning on Saturday night versus Pittsburgh.

And they can’t wait to see the Gold once more.

“This road trip, for me, was about doing the right things,” Laviolette said. “It’s good that it’s over. We’ll go home now and get in front of our fans and in our building and try to win some home games.”


Kyle Turris, who was acquired on Sunday by Nashville, did not play on Tuesday in Columbus due to the immigration process as he arrives from Canada. Turris hopes to make his debut on Saturday in Nashville.

Defenseman Anthony Bitetto and forward Pontus Aberg were scratched on Tuesday night against the Blue Jackets.

With their four-game road trip finished, the Preds return home to host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena, the first meeting between the two teams in Nashville since the 2017 Stanley Cup Final.