for this game

Radulov, Dumont remain hot as Predators win

Feb 1, 2008 - 6:38 AM
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Pascal Leclaire and the Columbus Blue Jackets were the latest to fail to stop Alexander Radulov and J.P. Dumont.

Radulov scored a goal in his fifth straight game and Dumont collected a pair of assists to extend his points streak to 16 contests as the Nashville Predators skated to a 4-2 triumph over the Blue Jackets on Thursday.

Captain Jason Arnott, Vernon Fiddler and Scott Nichol also tallied and Chris Mason made 31 saves for the Predators, who improved to 5-0-1 against the Blue Jackets this season.

"It was great, especially against a team that beat us the last time we played them," Dumont said of the win. "We had their number for a while and then they beat us last game, and we just tried to make sure that we cut their (streak) kind of quick, and that's what we did."

Nikolai Zherdev and Dan Fritsche scored and Leclaire stopped 19 shots over two periods for Columbus, which has lost four of its last six games.

Dating back to November 15, 2006, the Predators are 13-0-1 against the Blue Jackets, with the only blemish a shootout loss in Columbus on January 12.

"I think we're giving them too much respect," Blue Jackets All-Star Rick Nash said. "In the past, they've had our number, and in the third (period), I think we played well. Next time, we need to play all three periods that way."

Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock did not think his team was deserving of a victory in this one.

"We haven't played well enough to win," he said. "We didn't play well enough to win, so it doesn't matter who you're playing. It's always the first period. You can't dig yourself a hole like we did."

Entering with five goals in his previous four games, Radulov needed just 26 seconds to extend his streak.

Defenseman Dan Hamhuis sent a pass from the blue line to Dumont in the lower portion of the right faceoff circle. Dumont fed Radulov, who one-timed the puck between the pads of Leclaire from the low slot for his 19th goal, surpassing his total as a rookie last season.

"To score on your first shift, what a great way to start the game," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "That sort of inflates your team and gives you some momentum."

"When you score that quick, there's not really any time to relax," Mason added. "They have a lot of guys who can put the puck in the net. It's a good feeling when you get on the board first, and you could tell that we were buzzing around and playing pretty well."

Dumont's assist extended his points run, the longest current streak in the NHL. Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby has the league's longest streak this season at 10 games.

The Predators doubled their lead at 11:48 of the first on a power-play goal by Arnott. The team's lone All-Star representative, Arnott one-timed Dumont's pass from below the end line past Leclaire from the slot for his 18th tally.

"We got behind the eight ball right away," Columbus captain Adam Foote said. "They scored within the first (26) seconds of the game and then got a power-play goal right away. Then we were going uphill."

Arnott was unable to finish the game, however, as he suffered a leg injury in the second period and did not return.

"He sort of got tangled up with one of their guys," Trotz said. "It's just a little lower leg injury, like a charley horse. I don't think it's anything serious. We were at a point where we took him out as a precaution more than anything."

Zherdev halved the deficit 34 seconds into the middle period with a man-advantage goal, but Fiddler restored Nashville's two-goal bulge 8 1/2 minutes later. Fritsche and Nichol traded goals midway through the period to provide the final margin.

With the Predators ahead, 2-0, Zherdev carried the puck behind the net and turned at the bottom of the left circle before firing a bad-angle shot past Mason for his 21st goal.

Fiddler answered at 8:59, however, receiving a pass at the blue line and firing a wrister from the left faceoff dot that beat Leclaire to the glove side, giving Nashville a 3-1 bulge.

"I just tried to use the D-man as a screen and I had a little bit of time coming off of the wall," Fiddler said. "I just wanted to make sure I got it on the net quick and hard."

The goal ended a 26-game drought for Fiddler, who last scored on November 24.

"It's been a while since I've buried one," he said. "It has been frustrating at times, but you just try to keep working and get pucks on the net as much as you can."

"It was good to see Fidds score," Trotz said. "It's been a little bit of a long time since he has scored. Fidds is a guy even when he's not scoring, he's a very good skill player. You could tell there was a really big sigh of relief when he scored that goal."

Fritsche wristed the puck past Mason from the right circle at 11:09 to again close the gap to one for the Blue Jackets, but Nichol backhanded his second attempt into the net following a scramble in front 2:49 later to make it 4-2.

"Jerred (Smithson) made a really nice pass, and I just took it to the net," Nichol said. "It kept lying there and I whacked at it a couple of times. That never happens because it's usually gone the other way. It just stayed at my feet. It felt good. ... That's how we're going to score, just whacking away and jamming it in."

Hitchcock replaced Leclaire after two periods with Fredrik Norrena, who turned aside all eight shots he faced. But the change was not made because of Leclaire's play.

"It's 4-2 and we were looking for a boost," Hitchcock said. "He wasn't playing poorly, we were just looking for a boost."

Hamhuis had two assists for the Predators, who climbed ahead of the Blue Jackets in the Western Conference standings and forged a tie with the Vancouver Canucks for eighth place. Vancouver suffered a 4-3 loss at Tampa Bay on Thursday.

"Each game is important, but against teams that you're chasing in the standings, these are really important," Hamhuis said. "It's going to come down to the wire. When you see Eastern teams beating the teams around us, it's certainly good for us.

"It was good to get involved offensively. And as a team, we also did a good job of shutting their players down, for the most part."

Dumont admitted he was doing some scoreboard-watching late in the game.

"With the lead in the third, I looked up at the scoreboard and saw that Vancouver lost," he said. "I didn't see any shootout or overtime, so that was good news."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLUMBUS 0 2 0 2
    NASHVILLE 2 2 0 4 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NAS - ALEXANDER RADULOV 19 (JEAN-PIERRE DUMONT, DAN HAMHUIS)
    0:26
    NAS - (PP) JASON ARNOTT 18 (JEAN-PIERRE DUMONT, MARTIN ERAT)
    11:48
    2ND PRD: COB - (PP) NIKOLAI ZHERDEV 21 (MICHAEL PECA) 0:34
    NAS - VERNON FIDDLER 7 (D

    Jan 31 10:26 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLUMBUS 0 2 2
    NASHVILLE 2 2 4 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NAS - ALEXANDER RADULOV 19 (JEAN-PIERRE DUMONT, DAN HAMHUIS)
    0:26
    NAS - (PP) JASON ARNOTT 18 (JEAN-PIERRE DUMONT, MARTIN ERAT)
    11:48
    2ND PRD: COB - (PP) NIKOLAI ZHERDEV 21 (MICHAEL PECA) 0:34
    NAS - VERNON

    Jan 31 9:34 PM


  • NHL
    COLUMBUS 2
    NASHVILLE 4
    2ND PRD: NAS - SCOTT NICHOL 6 (JERRED SMITHSON) 13:58

    Blue Jackets vs. PredatorsJan 31 9:25 PM


  • NHL
    COLUMBUS 2
    NASHVILLE 3
    2ND PRD: COB - DAN FRITSCHE 8 (MANNY MALHOTRA) 11:09

    Blue Jackets vs. PredatorsJan 31 9:19 PM


  • NHL
    COLUMBUS 1
    NASHVILLE 3
    2ND PRD: NAS - VERNON FIDDLER 7 (DARCY HORDICHUK, DAN HAMHUIS) 8:59

    Blue Jackets vs. PredatorsJan 31 9:15 PM


  • NHL
    COLUMBUS 1
    NASHVILLE 2
    2ND PRD: COB - (PP) NIKOLAI ZHERDEV 21 (MICHAEL PECA) 0:34

    Blue Jackets vs. PredatorsJan 31 9:01 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLUMBUS 0 0
    NASHVILLE 2 2 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NAS - ALEXANDER RADULOV 19 (JEAN-PIERRE DUMONT, DAN HAMHUIS)
    0:26
    NAS - (PP) JASON ARNOTT 18 (JEAN-PIERRE DUMONT, MARTIN ERAT)
    11:48
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COB

    Jan 31 8:40 PM


  • NHL
    COLUMBUS 0
    NASHVILLE 2
    1ST PRD: NAS - (PP) JASON ARNOTT 18 (JEAN-PIERRE DUMONT, MARTIN ERAT)
    11:48

    Blue Jackets vs. PredatorsJan 31 8:28 PM


  • NHL
    COLUMBUS 0
    NASHVILLE 1
    1ST PRD: NAS - ALEXANDER RADULOV 19 (JEAN-PIERRE DUMONT, DAN HAMHUIS)
    0:26

    Blue Jackets vs. PredatorsJan 31 8:10 PM