NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mike Fisher scored two goals, and the Nashville Predators beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 on Monday night for their third straight victory and 11th in 13 games.
The Predators wrapped up their season series with Columbus by going 5-0-1, and Fisher is a big reason for the success against their Central Division-rival. Fisher has scored six of his 11 goals this season against the Blue Jackets.
Matt Halischuk and Patric Hornqvist both scored, and Ryan Suter had two assists as Nashville won for the 12th time in 14 home games. Pekka Rinne stopped 25 shots for a franchise-record and career-high eighth straight victory. Two of the last three have come against the Blue Jackets.
Rick Nash scored for Columbus to avoid the shutout as the Blue Jackets lost their third straight.
The Predators had every reason for a letdown, even with Suter back after he missed three games because of an undisclosed upper body injury.
They were coming off a 5-2 win over Chicago two nights earlier before a raucous sellout crowd, and will visit the Blackhawks on Tuesday night in their final game before the All Star break. The Predators came out shooting, and Martin Erat stole the puck in the slot and fed it to Fisher, who beat goalie Steve Mason with a wrister from in front at 8:07.
It could have been worse for the Blue Jackets as the Predators outshot Columbus 12-3 in the first period and had two power plays. But Mason stopped David Legwand's shot from the right circle, with Brett Lebda pushing the net off its moorings at 16:52 for a delay of game penalty. Nashville couldn't take advantage of the power play.
Columbus kept Rinne very busy in the second. Nash got the puck and skated up the right side before moving in front, where he beat Rinne's outstretched stick with a backhander at 6:14 to tie it 1-1. The Blue Jackets got their lone power play late in the period when Nashville was called for too many men on the ice.
They couldn't convert before being penalized themselves for the same infraction with 20 seconds left on the advantage.
Fisher put Nashville ahead to stay with a power-play goal at 19:31 of the second, off the rebound of a one-timer by captain Shea Weber. Then Halischuk, a healthy scratch in the previous game, made it 3-1 at 7:37 of the third with a wrist shot from in front.
NOTES: The Predators are 31-5-3 against Columbus since the 2006-07 season. ... Nashville has killed 17 straight penalties. ... With Fisher's goal, the Predators are one of three teams with eight players with at least 10 goals. Fisher has four goals and seven assists in his last nine games. The Predators are 14-2-1 when Fisher has a point. ... Erat has three goals and eight assists in his eight games. ... Nashville has scored a power-play goal in three straight games, and has nine man-advantage goals in nine games.