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Vokoun dominates Blue Jackets as Predators roll

Nov 21, 2006 - 2:30 AM COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) -- Tomas Vokoun once again had his way with the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets.

Vokoun stopped 23 shots to lead the Nashville Predators to a 3-1 triumph over the Blue Jackets.

It was the seventh win in the last eight starts for Vokoun, who improved to 16-6-1 lifetime against Columbus. He has won seven of his last nine games against Nashville's Central Division foe.

"They are struggling really bad," Vokoun said. "It's not easy. There are some very good players on that team even though sometimes it doesn't seem like that. It's tough, but for us, our job is to win hockey games."

Vokoun, who entered with a .911 save percentage, was bidding for his 18th career shutout before Jason Chimera tallied with 14 seconds remaining to finally get the Blue Jackets on the board.

"Fourteen seconds is really close," Vokoun said. "I am not the kind of guy that worries about shutouts. Obviously you would rather not give up the goal, but the win is the more important thing."

"I think tonight we had a game plan that we wanted to shut them down offensively," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "I thought for two periods we did that. In the third period, I thought we didn't put as much effort into that. I think everyone wanted that shutout for Vokoun."

The Predators took the lead for good at 9:49 of the opening period when Paul Kariya beat rookie goaltender Fredrik Norrena for his fourth goal this season.

"The last two or three games, I had a lot of chances but the puck wasn't going in," said Kariya, who also had an assist. "It's always nice to help a team score in the game."

Martin Erat had a goal and an assist for Nashville, which has won 13 of its last 16.

"We have a good team," Erat said. "Our guys are fast, our defensemen can move the puck. If you play our system right, you have a chance for our team to win every game."

Norrena turned aside 20 shots for the Blue Jackets, who are on a season-high six-game skid.

"We just aren't getting the job done from an offensive standpoint," Columbus interim coach Gary Agnew said. "For the most part, I thought we defended well, but we just didn't generate anything offensively again."

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