Nashville, TN – The Columbus Blue Jackets were hoping for an instant impact from their newest member, and Marian Gaborik delivered.
The veteran sniper scored the tie-breaking goal early in the third period and added an assist in his Blue Jackets' debut, helping Columbus come through with a key 3-1 victory over the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena.
Gaborik, acquired from the New York Rangers in perhaps the most significant deal at Wednesday's trade deadline, tipped in a feed from Brandon Dubinsky 4:16 into the final frame to break a 1-1 stalemate.
Matt Calvert added an insurance goal later on for surging Columbus, winners of three straight and now 11-2-3 since March 3. The most recent triumph -- the Jackets' first regulation win in Nashville since 2006 -- also vaulted Columbus over the Predators in the Western Conference standings.
James Wisniewski also tallied to help back an outstanding 38-save effort from Blue Jackets' goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.
"He made some big saves," Predators defenseman Shea Weber said of Bobrovsky. "That's the way it goes."
Kevin Klein posted the lone goal in the loss, Nashville's fourth in five games, with Pekka Rinne recording 35 saves on the evening.
With the teams knotted at 1-1, Gaborik worked his way behind Predators center Paul Gastad and in position for a pass from Dubinsky, a former Rangers' teammate who placed the puck right on the winger's stick for a tip-in that Rinne had little chance to defend.
"I'm glad I got my first one under the belt," Gaborik said.
Calvert appeared to give Columbus a two-goal advantage less than 2 1/2 minutes later after knocking home a rebound of Cam Atkinson's initial attempt. However, the score was waved off after the replay official ruled he had kicked in the puck.
He left no doubt later on, however, with a wrist shot that handcuffed Rinne and trickled across the goal line to put the Jackets up 3-1 with 9:10 left.
Bobrovsky made the lead hold up the rest of the way, and kept the game tied with a 13-save first period before Columbus forged ahead by capitalizing on a power-play opportunity in the second.
With Weber in the box for hooking, Wisniewski one-timed a delivery from Dubinsky past a screened Rinne with 8:36 elapsed in the middle session to give the Blue Jackets a 1-0 edge. Gaborik received a secondary assist on the play.
The Predators pulled even a little under four minutes later. David Legwand skated behind the Columbus net and dropped the puck in front for Patric Hornqvist, who was stopped by Bobrovsky. Klein was able to slide the puck through with the Blue Jackets' netminder still down, however.
Columbus had been 2-14-6 in its last 22 visits to Nashville and hadn't prevailed in regulation in the Music City since a 3-1 decision on April 3, 2006 ... Dubinsky notched two assists in his return from a six-game absence caused by a left knee injury, while forward Nick Foligno was also back in the Columbus lineup after sitting out three straight with an upper-body ailment ... Predators center Mike Fisher returned after missing three consecutive contests with a hand injury, but had an eight-game point streak halted ... The Predators fell to 4-15-5 when allowing the game's first goal this season.