Evangelista scores tie-breaker, Predators beat Blue Jackets 2-1 for 10th win in 11 games


Luke Evangelista lights the lamp for Predators

Luke Evangelista lights the lamp for Predators

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- — Luke Evangelista scored a tie-breaking goal in the third period, Kevin Lankinen made 32 stops and the Nashville Predators beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1 on Saturday for their the 10th win in 11 games.

“We're feeling it right now," said Evangelista, who has two goals and an assist in the last two games. “We’ve got a lot of confidence.”

Kiefer Sherwood also scored for Nashville, whose only loss since Feb. 15 was in overtime to Montreal on Tuesday. The Predators have moved up into the top wildcard playoff spot in the Western Conference.

The Blue Jackets wasted an outstanding game by goaltender Daniil Tarasov, whose 47 saves tied his career high. Alexandre Texier scored the only goal for Columbus. The last-place team in the Metropolitan Division entered the game having won three of the last four.

Nashville scored before Columbus could manage a shot on goal.

With the shot tally at 14-0, Sherwood gathered the puck off a faceoff and broke away on a rush, beating Tarasov between the pads with 7:41 left in the first period. The Blue Jackets finally recorded a shot on goal with 4:48 left in the frame.

“With our start, if it wasn’t for (Tarasov) it would have been a lot worse,” Columbus captain Boone Jenner said. “We come in after the first period and we’re only down one. He kept us in it and kept us in it the whole night."

Texier got the Blue Jackets on the board when he shoveled in a rebounded puck from Ivan Provorov's long-distance shot 1:50 into the second.

A potential go-ahead goal by Jenner late in the second was disallowed because the Columbus captain's stick was above the crossbar when he batted in a bouncing puck.

Early in the third, Evangelista snapped off a shot from the left dot that went over Tarasov's head and gave Nashville the lead for good.

“Honestly, it wasn’t our prettiest (game)," Evangelista said. "We had some lulls in there. They had some bits and pushes, especially at the end there, but we’re finding ways right now and it’s a lot of fun.”

Columbus coach Pascal Vincent had praise for the 24-year-old Tarasov, who has played in just 38 NHL games. He has been backing up starter Elvis Merzlikins.

“We know he's got great potential, and now he’s showing it more consistently,” Vincent said. “It’s a big positive evaluation for him moving forward in the future. He’s got poise, he’s got good hockey sense, he’s a big guy, and right now it feels like he’s adapting to the NHL game.”


Predators: Visit Minnesota on Sunday.

Blue Jackets: Visit Montreal on Tuesday night.


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