Predators extend mastery of Blue Jackets

Juuse Saros made 28 saves and Eeli Tolvanen scored the go-ahead goal on the power play Sunday afternoon, and the Nashville Predators won 3-1 in a back-to-back sweep of the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets.

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Both coaches went back with the goaltenders from Saturday’s matinee meeting, a 2-1 win by Nashville, in the fourth affair between the clubs in the last 11 days and sixth overall this season.

Making his first back-to-back starts in the regular season, Saros was locked in throughout the 60 minutes and allowed just a first-period marker by Kevin Stenlund.

Nick Cousins and Erik Haula scored for the Predators, who won for the fourth time in five games and beat Columbus for the fifth time in six meetings.

Roman Josi had two assists, while Viktor Arvidsson, Filip Forsberg, Matt Benning, and Ryan Johansen had one each assists for Nashville, which concluded February with a 6-7-0 mark.

Columbus countered in goal with Joonas Korpisalo, who recorded 26 saves on 29 shots as his record slipped to 5-7-4. Riley Nash and Seth Jones recorded assists on Stenlund’s goal.

The Blue Jackets are winless in five straight games (0-4-1) and fell to 1-5-2 in their last eight contests.

After a shot by Jones was blocked, Nash skated in through the low slot, flipped a backhander to Stenlund and the center sent in his fourth goal at 3:45.

Yet, Nashville answered after a turnover when Johansen intercepted a poor clearing attempt, leading to Arvidsson’s hard shot from a bad angle that Cousins tapped for his second goal at 7:05 to knot the contest at 1.

Johansen’s assist was his first point in four contests since returning from the injured list, and Arvidsson’s helper was his first point in 11 games.

Nashville was relentless in its first power play after Columbus’ David Savard went off for tripping Cousins. The Predators’ top unit moved the puck around swiftly and stayed on the ice for 79 seconds until Tolvanen ripped in his third goal of the season at 9:44 of the second.

Top-six center Luke Kunin was injured in the period and did not return for the Predators.

In the final period, Columbus put forth plenty of pressure on Saros -- 11 shots in all -- but the 25-year-old Finnish netminder denied them all.

Haula scored short-handed -- Nashville’s first this season -- on a breakaway at 18:08 to clinch the win.

--Field Level Media