In my last recap, I pointed out several things to look out for in this game:
1. I said to watch for hard hitting action — there were a total of 44 hits in the game.
2. I imagined it would be spirited — though there wasn't much fighting, there were a lot of words exchanged.
3. I predicted that the game would be close — 2-1 is a very close game.
4. I also mentioned that the Tuesday's game would be one where control decided the winner — Columbus controlled and dominated the puck, and they won.
That said, however, I also predicted fighting and a game-winning goal near the end of the game. I was wrong on both of these counts.
The Columbus Blue Jackets hosted their rivals, the Nashville Predators (also known as Darth Vader to Blue Jackets fans), on Tuesday night. These two teams are neck and neck for 6th place in the West, with Nashville being down only 2 points (at the time) from where Columbus is. For the entire first period, it seemed as though Columbus was on a mission to ensure that Nashville lost. Columbus dominated the puck, and had 17 shots in the first compared to just 6 by Nashville.
Though they had the game in their palms, the Jackets slipped up once, in the 8th minute, when they allowed Cal O'Reilly to get by them and score on goalie Steve Mason. With this goal, the crowd seemed to leave the game, and all emotion was drained from the arena. Well, all emotion that wasn't on the ice. The Blue Jackets kept playing as though the goal never happened, and they continued to pound Nashville's defense into the boards. Their work finally paid off when, in the final 50 seconds of the first period, Antione Vermette fed a pass to R.J. Umberger, who shot, took a rebound from his own shot, and scored against Nashville's Pekka Rinne. Nationwide came alive, and the Blue Jackets had their 7th man back in the game.
At the start of the second period, the Jackets came out with momentum on their side. Adding to that fire, just a minute into the period, Nashville's Ryan Suter got called for high sticking, and it seemed as though the Jackets were going to get another point. The Predators rallied and made a huge stand, keeping Columbus from scoring on many good opportunities. Even with the momentum and the only power play of the period, Columbus was not able to dominate during the second period. Nashville was controlling the puck, playing better, and even shot more (9-6) then Columbus. That said, however, the overall feel of the second period was mostly neutral.