NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Artem Anisimov just keeps scoring for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Anisimov had the only goal of the game with 6:25 remaining in the third period and Sergei Bobrovsky made 28 saves to lead the Blue Jackets to a 1-0 victory over the Nashville Predators on Saturday night.
It was the sixth goal in the last six games for Anisimov, who also has scored the last four game-winners for Columbus.
With the game still scoreless, James Wisniewski sent a pass from the left circle to Anisimov at the left faceoff dot. Anisimov carried the puck to the goal line before cutting toward the Nashville net and sliding a backhander by Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne just inside the far post.
“He skated down the ice and he actually made the drop to me,” Wisniewski said of Anisimov. “I love when the D-man just stays there because then the forward just skates right around them, make a quick pass, and he’s all alone with the goalie. He made a great move and scored.”
The Predators have lost four in a row and seven of their last eight. They have scored just three goals in their last four games, and it was Bobrovsky’s third shutout of the season for Columbus, which has won four of five.
“We’ve been shooting enough pucks, we’re just not finding the back of the net,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. “There are a lot of dry players.”
Making his third consecutive start after being sidelined since late October with an infection in his hip, Rinne made 35 saves.
“I felt confident and I felt comfortable out there tonight,” Rinne said. “Hopefully, myself too, I can improve all the time.”
Rinne faced just five shots in the first, but with 5:45 remaining in the opening frame, he denied Ryan Johansen’s wrist shot attempt from the right side off of a 2-on-1 break.
Midway through the second, Rinne got his blocker on Boone Jenner’s shot from the right circle.
Nashville dominated the shots on goal in the first period, outshooting the Blue Jackets 14-5.
“I though guys did a great job in front of me,” Bobrovsky said of his defencemen. “They shot from mostly outside, so they boxed them out. They were great.”
The tables turned in the middle frame when Columbus put 15 shots on Rinne, and the Predators managed just four on Bobrovsky.
The Blue Jackets had the shot advantage in the third as well, 16-10.
The Predators had a chance to tie late in the third, but Mike Fisher’s shot from the slot rang off the far post with less than 30 seconds remaining and then Bobrovsky got his glove on an attempt from Colin Wilson.
“It is one of those games where you are wondering is anybody going to be able to beat either one of those guys,” Columbus coach Todd Richards said. “Bob came up big at the end when the game was on the line.”
NOTES: Columbus made their only visit to Nashville for the 2013-14 season. The Blue Jackets and Predators were both members of the Central Division before Columbus moved to the Eastern Conference before the start of this season. … Nashville was just 1-4-0 on its five-game homestand coming out of the Olympic break. The Predators are on the road for their next three. … The Predators have not scored a power-play goal in their last four games.