COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Roman Josi scored 3:24 into overtime and the Nashville Predators tightened their hold on a playoff spot with a 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night.
Emil Bemstrom scored three goals in the third to rally Columbus from a 3-0 deficit before Josi ended it with his second goal of the night.
The Predators are dueling with Dallas for the Central Division’s fourth playoff spot and increased their lead to four points with the Stars’ overtime loss to Florida on Monday night. Nashville has three games remaining and the Stars have four.
Filip Forsberg and Ryan Johansen each had a goal and an assist, and Juuse Saros had 30 saves for Nashville.
Elvis Merzlikins had 34 saves for Columbus.
After a scoreless first period, the Predators got on the board at 9:01 of the second when a falling Forsberg swatted in a rebounded puck.
Nashville tallied again 2 1/2 minutes later on a power play, with Johansen putting back a rebound in front of the net. The Preds made it 3-0 late in the second with the prettiest shot of the evening, a heavy one-timer from the high slot by Josi.
The Blue Jackets rallied in the third behind Bemstrom, who had never had two goals in a game, let alone a hat trick. They were also his first goals this season.
He got credit for his first after a video replay showed his batted puck going in off the bar. Then his snipe from the left circle went over Saros’ shoulder on the near side to make it 3-2 at at 7:26. He got his third on a power play – from the same spot – to tie the game at 15:07.
The Blue Jackets, who have lost two straight and 10 of 11, are trying to finish out of the basement after making the playoffs the last four seasons. With injuries to key players and a sell-off at the trade deadline, they’re putting responsibility on young players like Bemstrom who may form the foundation of next season’s retooled team.
The teams wrap up a two-game series on Wednesday night.
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