The sold out crowd in the arena got their money's worth with 65 minutes of end to end action and six rounds of a shootout before the Jackets doubled their recent Bridgestone win total on a Derick Brassard shot that got past Pekka Rinne to give Columbus the 3-2 victory.
Fox Sports Tennessee had a double fail to start the game. First, through no fault of their own, the Alabama-Texas A & M basketball game ran long. Then, in a major disaster for those wanting to see #hockeyisback, FSTN switched to some meaningless tennis match for the first several minutes of the contest, including Marty Erat's goal 39 seconds into the game.
Stick tap to Pekka Rinne who got the first goalie point of the season on Erat's goal.
Scott Hannen made a good first impression on his teammates when Derek Dorsett put a clean hit on Kevin Klein near the boards and Hannen responded and went toe to toe with the Jacket's agitator.
On the Jackets' power play goal there was nothing Pekka Rinne could have done with Nick Foligno's perfect tip on the Fedor Tyutin's shot. Foligno also got a pipe on a power play midway through the second period when he had Rinne out of position.
After leading the NHLlast season on the power play with ex Pred Ryan Suter having the most points, it was a real confidence builder to see Ryan Ellis get the goal on the Preds first man advantage opportunity this season on a feed from Sergei Kostitsyn trying out his new role on the point.
Kostitsyn was a point a game player in the KHL and continued his success this year with primary assists on the Preds' first two goals. If he continues, he may be an option in fantasy leagues.
It probably wan't a great idea for Captain Shea Weber to tangle with Jared Boll as he stepped up for Craig Smith who Boll hit before the fight. Weber really needs to leave the fisticuffs to others so he can stay out of the box and off injured reserve in the short season.
Barry Trotz did a lot of mixing and matching on his third and fourth lines but was fairly consistent with the Fisher-Kostitsyn-Erat and Legwand-Smith-Hornqvist combinations. Colin Wilson also earned plenty of minutes, playing on several lines. Weber-Josi, Klein-Hannen, and Gill-Ellis seemed fairly set. You have to wonder when Jon Blum or Victor Bartley will play.
The one issue that was most concerning for the Preds was sloppy play on the breakout of their defensive zone. There were too many giveaways that would turn into goals against a better opponent.
The Predators mad a decent push at the end of the third period to try to avoid the dreaded three point game but it was to no avail. The pressure continued into overtime but it still headed to the skills competition.
The Preds will go at it again at 5 p.m. Monday against St. Louis at Bridgestone Arena. Someone needs to give a heads up to the scheduling gurus that most fans in Middle Tennessee do not have a day off for MLK Day. For many STH, it is a useless ticket with the start being when most folks are still at work.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass