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Columbus finishes season strongly, tops Nashville
Columbus, OH (Sports Network) - Jack Johnson scored the game-winner as part of a three-goal third period that helped the Columbus Blue Jackets take a 3-1 victory over the Nashville Predators on Saturday at Nationwide Arena.
Columbus (24-17-7) won three straight and eight of its last nine to finish the season with 55 points, but it wasn't enough to send the Blue Jackets to their second playoff berth in franchise history.
The Minnesota Wild also finished with 55 points after downing Colorado on Saturday and will be heading to the postseason due to the fact that they hold the tiebreaker with 22 regulation and overtime victories.
Brandon Dubinsky and Cam Atkinson each added a goal and an assist in the flurry, while Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 19 shots for the Blue Jackets.
"He was our rock back there," Dubinsky said of Bobrovsky. "He kept us in each and every game. I'm proud of these guys and the city should be too."
Shea Weber netted the lone Nashville goal, while Chris Mason made 44 saves in defeat for the Preds, who lost 10 of their final 11 games to finish 16-23-9, causing them to miss the playoffs for just the second time in nine seasons.
"Their desperation level got ramped up to playoff level and we weren't able to stay with them and they were able to capitalize," Nashville coach Barry Trotz admitted.
Columbus trailed 1-0 entering the third, but after failing on an early power- play opportunity, the Blue Jackets broke through on their second man-advantage of the frame after Chris Mueller was whistled for holding at 9:05.
Mason fought off a flurry early in the ensuing power play before Dubinsky recovered a loose puck on the low left side and made a slick move to get the disc to his backhand before flipping a shot through the five-hole of Mason to knot the game at 10:09.
The Blue Jackets then found the go-ahead goal with 4:48 remaining when Johnson made his way behind the net before throwing a pass in front that hit the stick of Mason and slipped between his legs to make it 2-1.
Atkinson added an empty-netter with 30 seconds left to account for the final margin.
After a scoreless first period, Nashville got on the board in the second when the Blue Jackets turned the puck over in their own end and David Legwand wheeled around in the right circle before feeding Weber, who rifled a wrister past Bobrovsky for a 1-0 lead at 8:29.
Nashville dropped its last 10 road games to finish 5-14-5 as the guest this season ... Columbus finished 14-5-5 at home ... Columbus took four of five from Nashville this season.
04/27 23:31:40 ET