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Kariya, Legwand help Predators complete sweep of Blue Jackets

Mar 11, 2007 - 7:51 AM
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Sweeping a division rival is becoming an annual event for the Nashville Predators.

Paul Kariya and David Legwand each had a goal and an assist as the Predators completed a sweep of their season series with the Columbus Blue Jackets by posting a 2-1 victory.

Last season, Nashville won all eight of its meetings with Central Division rival St. Louis, outscoring the Blues, 25-10. Entering with a 28-12 advantage in goals in seven victories over the Blue Jackets this campaign, the Predators fell behind early but ended the first period with the lead and never relinquished it.

"We've seen them a ton of times," Nashville center Jason Arnott said. "They always play us hard. We have stuck to our game plan every game against them this year. We use our speed and crash the net."

"Anytime you can beat a team eight times, it's huge," Legwand added. "Against a division opponent, it is a positive."

Despite having six of the eight meetings decided by fewer than three goals, the Blue Jackets still are not pleased with being swept.

"It's unacceptable not to beat them all year when they are in your division," left wing Rick Nash said. "It's just going to give us all the momentum to get psyched up for next year."

"They outplayed us every time," defenseman Rostislav Klesla said. "Tonight, we tried to get one win, but they have a pretty good team. It's just too bad they win all the games against us. We just gotta find a way to beat them."

Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock conceded that his team is not in the same league with Nashville.

"When a team beats you eight times in a row, it's pretty telling," he said. "That doesn't leave much doubt, does it? It doesn't matter what song you sing, it doesn't leave much doubt when they beat you eight times in a row."

Trailing, 1-0, Nashville pulled even on Kariya's 23rd goal of the season less than 4 1/2 minutes into the contest. Less than 10 minutes later, Legwand netted his 23rd to put the Predators ahead for good.

"P.K. and Leggy really jump-started us," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "They have played together all year and they have some good chemistry. They are both intelligent players who can make plays at a high speed."

Legwand agreed with his coach's assessment.

"It's fun to be back playing with Paul," he said. "I think we have some good chemistry together. Paul likes to use his speed to get open. He is unbelievable at finding open area on the ice. You don't even have to throw him a tape-to-tape pass, he is going to make a great play if you can create some space for him."

Tomas Vokoun did the rest, turning aside 11 shots in the second period and 10 in the third to help extend Nashville's points streak to 10 games (7-0-3).

"Most teams are trying to send two guys in front of the net and shoot the puck," Vokoun said. "They look for the rebounds to score the scrappy goals. The sooner you realize that, the better off you are going to be."

Martin Erat and defenseman Dan Hamhuis each had an assist for the Predators (46-18-6), who moved three points ahead of the idle Detroit Red Wings (43-16-9) for first place in the Central and five in front of the Buffalo Sabres (44-19-5) in the race for the Presidents' Trophy.

"At this stage of the season, getting two points against anybody is huge," Kariya said.

Rookie Gilbert Brule scored the lone goal and Fredrik Norrena stopped 31 shots for Columbus, which fell to 20-3-5 when netting the game's first tally.

"We weren't able to score when we had our people on the ice," Hitchcock said. "That was the whole weekend. ... It's about winning. At this time of year, we didn't get it done."

One night after being shut out at home by Dallas, Columbus got on the board early in this one. Vokoun stopped Jason Chimera's shot from the top of the slot, but Brule grabbed the rebound and buried it from alone in front 77 seconds into the game for a 1-0 lead.

Kariya pulled Nashville even just over three minutes later, getting to a loose puck near the right goalpost and chipping it past Norrena at 4:25.

Legwand snapped the tie with 6:15 to go in the opening period. Hamhuis' wrist shot from the slot was blocked by Norrena, but Legwand gained control of the rebound on the doorstep and slid it around the netminder for a 2-1 edge.

"That's how goals are going to come now," Legwand said. "They are going to be tough to come by. This was a 2-1 game, it was a tight game, and obviously, they didn't want to lose this one."

"Leggy did a really good job tonight of using his speed and going to the net," Kariya said. "Those are the goals we are going to have to score down the stretch, getting shots and traffic to the net and getting rebounds."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLUMBUS 1 0 0 1
    NASHVILLE 2 0 0 2 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: COB - GILBERT BRULE 7 (JASON CHIMERA, MANNY MALHOTRA) 1:17
    NAS - PAUL KARIYA 23 (DAVID LEGWAND, MARTIN ERAT) 4:25
    NAS - DAVID LEGWAND 23 (DAN HAMHUIS, PAUL KARIYA) 13:45
    2ND PRD: NONE
    3RD PRD: NONE
    POWER-PLAY CONVERSI

    Mar 10 11:29 PM


  • NHL
    COLUMBUS 1
    NASHVILLE 2 0:00 LEFT, 2ND PRD

    Mar 10 10:38 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLUMBUS 1 1
    NASHVILLE 2 2 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: COB - GILBERT BRULE 7 (JASON CHIMERA, MANNY MALHOTRA) 1:17
    NAS - PAUL KARIYA 23 (DAVID LEGWAND, MARTIN ERAT) 4:25
    NAS - DAVID LEGWAND 23 (DAN HAMHUIS, PAUL KARIYA) 13:45
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3R

    Mar 10 8:45 PM


  • NHL
    COLUMBUS 1
    NASHVILLE 2
    1ST PRD: NAS - DAVID LEGWAND 23 (DAN HAMHUIS, PAUL KARIYA) 13:45

    Blue Jackets vs. PredatorsMar 10 8:36 PM


  • NHL
    COLUMBUS 1
    NASHVILLE 1
    1ST PRD: NAS - PAUL KARIYA 23 (DAVID LEGWAND, MARTIN ERAT) 4:25

    Blue Jackets vs. PredatorsMar 10 8:16 PM


  • NHL
    COLUMBUS 1
    NASHVILLE 0
    1ST PRD: COB - GILBERT BRULE 7 (JASON CHIMERA, MANNY MALHOTRA) 1:17

    Blue Jackets vs. PredatorsMar 10 8:12 PM