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Martin Erat scores twice to lift Predators over Blue Jackets 6-3

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Nashville Predators got the jump on the Columbus Blue Jackets to salvage a split in the home-and-home series.

A night after allowing three first-period goals in a loss in Columbus, the Predators scored three times in the first period and went on to beat the Blue Jackets 6-3 on Saturday.

"Last night we came out really well, but nothing went in for us," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "Tonight we came out really well and got out to a three-goal lead."

Martin Erat scored two goals and Shea Weber added a goal and three assists. Dan Ellis made 24 saves for Nashville, including 13 in the third period.

Joel Ward, David Legwand and Rich Peverley also scored for Nashville. Jason Chimera, Marc Methot and Rick Nash scored for Columbus.

"We got outworked, we didn't play well enough in the defensive end, we didn't finish our checks in the offensive end, and we got checked off pucks," Nash said. "There are no excuses."

Ward scored a short-handed goal with 3:53 left in the first.

"Anytime you can get a short-handed goal it is a big plus for the team," Ward said. "I got a great pass from Scott Nichol that went right through the defenceman's legs, and I was fortunate to put it in."

The Predators have won nine straight home games against Columbus. The loss Friday night ended Nashville's string of 16 games with a point against Columbus (15-0-1). It was the longest active streak in an NHL regular-season series.

"We didn't get off to the start we wanted to the other night," Ellis said. "We got back at them tonight, played Predators hockey, and that is why we got the two points tonight."

Legwand opened the scoring at 6:30 of the first period. He won a faceoff in the left circle, headed to the slot and deflected Weber's slapshot from the right point past goalie Fredrik Norrena.

"When you win faceoffs in the offensive zone and get possession of the puck, good things can happen," Weber said.

Erat and Ward also scored first-period goals for Nashville.

Erat's goal at 5:26 of the second period made it 4-0. After the goal, Norrena, 0-9-1 against Nashville, gave way to Dan LaCosta in goal. LaCosta was recalled after Pascal Leclaire bruised his right thumb in the third period Friday night.

"I saw guys battling there down at the net, and I saw the puck go behind (Norrena's) back," Erat said. "I was just there to push it in."

"We were poor in a lot of aspects and we didn't get away with them tonight," Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We didn't give up a lot of scoring chances, but the ones we did were doozies."

Chimera and Methot scored just over six minutes apart in the second to cut it to 4-2.

Weber and Peverley scored early third-period goals for Nashville. Nash's fourth goal of the season completed the scoring.

Notes: After being held pointless in seven games against Nashville last season, Nash has three goals in the two games this season. ... Columbus' last victory in Nashville was a 3-1 decision on April 3, 2006. ... Nashville captain Jason Arnott missed his third consecutive game because of a broken ring finger on his right hand.



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