Smith, Rinne lift Predators to rout of Columbus
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Craig Smith scored two goals, Pekka Rinne made 30 saves to earn his NHL-leading 22nd win, and the Nashville Predators routed the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-1 on Monday night.
Colin Wilson had a goal and an assist, and Seth Jones and Mike Fisher also scored for Nashville, which has won five of six. Victor Bartley added two assists.
Rookie Alexander Wennberg scored his first NHL goal late in the third period to spoil Rinne's shutout bid. Columbus had its nine-game point streak (8-0-1) snapped, losing for the first time in December.
The Blue Jackets rode goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who seemed to tire in the third period. He was pulled after the fourth goal and finished with 26 saves on 30 shots.
After a scoreless first period, Nashville broke through against a suddenly loose Blue Jackets defense in the second and netted two goals 1:38 apart.
In the third, the Predators pulled away with three more in 2:14 to make it 5-0.
Wilson started the scoring when he outreached defenseman Fedor Tyutin for the puck and put it past Bobrovsky at 7:47 of the second for his seventh. Smith then converted during a 2-on-1, putting a feed from Mike Ribeiro into an open net following a Blue Jackets turnover in the neutral zone.
In the third, following a kick save by Rinne against Cam Atkinson, Jones powered his way in on Bobrovsky. Jones redirected his own rebound, sending it between Bobrovsky's legs at 6:29 for his first goal.
Smith made it 4-0 with a shot from the right circle for his 10th goal.
Moments later, Fisher beat Curtis McElhinney on the first shot he faced for his third at 8:43.
Columbus thought it opened the scoring when Nick Foligno put in a puck during the first period, but the goal was disallowed when a video review determined that the net was off its moorings. Rinne had dislodged it in his attempt to stop Foligno.
NOTES: The Predators will play the Bruins at Boston on Tuesday, but Columbus won't return to the ice until Dec. 27 when the Blue Jackets host Boston. ... Rinne has been in net for all of Nashville's 22 wins. ... Columbus had played six straight games that went beyond regulation. The NHL record is seven. ... The Blue Jackets missed a chance to have their winningest December.