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03/19/2013 11:44 PM EDT
Bobrovsky helps Jackets extend point streak to 11
COLUMBUS 4, NASHVILLE 3

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- The Columbus Blue Jackets won this one
with their offense instead of relying on their dominating
defense.



Sergei Bobrovksy shook off a slap shot to his mask and withstood
two late goals, and Mark Letestu had a goal and an assist as the
Blue Jackets beat the struggling Nashville Predators 4-3 on
Tuesday night to extend their franchise-record point streak to
11 games.



"I think you could sense it on the bench," Columbus coach Todd
Richards said. "We had a couple good shifts in the offensive
zone right before Mark Letestu scored. I sensed a little bit of
confidence in the group, just offensively, the way we were
going."



Fedor Tyutin, Nikita Nikitin and Derick Brassard also had goals
for Columbus, the lowest scoring team in the NHL.



Vinny Prospal, who had three assists, said his team's surprising
surge is about attitude.



"Confidence and an ability to win close games," said the veteran
winger, who has 501 career assists. "That's what the league is
all about right now. The good teams, even though they don't play
their best, they find a way to win. We have been able to win the
close games."



Bobrovsky, who made 32 saves, came in on a 6-0-2 spurt with two
shutouts in the previous eight games. Jack Johnson had two
assists for the Blue Jackets, whose previous four games were
decided by shootouts.



Gabriel Bourque, Chris Mueller and Mike Fisher scored for the
Predators, who are on a season-worst, four-game skid.



"We're putting ourselves in real bad positions and we're not
making it easy," said Shea Weber, who added two assists. "It's
just tough."



Nashville fell to 3-9-1 in its last 13 games. To make matters
worse, the team's stout defensive style has sprung a leak. The
Predators have allowed 20 goals in its last four games.



Pekka Rinne, who had been pulled in two of his previous three
starts, finished with 27 saves and wasn't able to make the big
stop.



Columbus appeared to break the game open late in the third
period with two quick goals to make it 4-1, but Nashville
rallied with two of their own 47 seconds apart in the final two
minutes.



It was of no consolation to frustrated Nashville coach Barry
Trotz.



"We've got to play good defensively," he said. "We've got to
sort that out and go from there. Some guys, I'm not happy with
their game. They've got to give us more. That's the part that
bothers me."



Mueller scored his first career goal on a jam shot with 2:01
remaining, and Fisher made it 4-3 with a spinning backhander
under the stretched leg of Bobrovsky for his seventh.



The Blue Jackets' near meltdown will certainly make for good
film study session.



"We relaxed," Richards said. "It was disappointing too because
our goaltender has been so good."



The Blue Jackets increased their lead when Nikitin's floating
shot from the point through a congested slot found the net for
his third, on the power play, to make it 3-1 with 10 minutes
remaining.



Just under three minutes later, Brassard, trailing the play,
took a nice feed from Letestu and beat Renne with a low shot for
his fifth.



Bobrovsky was stunned in the second period when he took Kevin
Klein's slap shot in the mask and didn't hop back up. Bobrovksy
was tended to by a trainer for several minutes near the net as
he wiped his face and used smelling salts before he was ready to
play again.



Later, Tyutin sent a wrist shot from the deep point through
traffic at 4:08 of the second period to give Columbus a 1-0
lead.



"Pretty good feeling especially when the team gets two points,"
Tyutin said of earning his 200th career point.



Letestu followed with his seventh 5:31 later after a long
Columbus possession in the Predators zone. A nice keep at the
right point by rookie defenseman Dalton Prout to Prospal kept
the attack alive. Prospal whipped a long pass to the left circle
to Letestu, who wristed a shot over Rinne's blocker.



The Predators made some noise late in the period. Bourque's slap
shot deflected off a skate and skidded past Bobrovsky for his
10th to make it 2-1 at 14:45.



"We expect to be in the playoff picture," Letestu said. "We
expect to be in the mix come the end."



NOTES: Nashville recalled LW Taylor Beck from Milwaukee of the
AHL and placed F Paul Gaustad on the injured list on Tuesday.
The Predators were also without injured C Colin Wilson, RW
Patrick Hornqvist and D Hall Gill. ... Prout's assist was the
first point of his career. ... Predators coach Barry Trotz
benched LW Sergei Kostitsyn for making a bad line change Sunday,
leading to a goal in a 3-2 loss at Edmonton. ... The Blue
Jackets have won 12 of 16 against Nashville. ... The Predators
went 1-4 on a five-game trip.

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