The Nashville Predators like to roll four lines, but one line continues to lead the way offensively.
Center Jason Arnott and wingers J.P. Dumont and Alexander Radulov all extended their points streaks in Thursday night’s 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, a Central Division rival.
“We know that is our role,” Dumont said. “It is good pressure. That is the pressure that you want as a hockey player. You want to be the go-to guy.
“You want to be on the ice when we need a goal. That’s what we are doing now. It is something that comes with experience. We are the guys that have to do it.”
Dumont extended his points streak to 16 games with two assists. It is the longest current points streak in the NHL. Despite his success, Dumont still refuses to acknowledge it.
“What streak?” he asked with a smile.
Dumont finished the month of January with 20 points. Only Washington superstar Alex Ovechkin had a better month. He recorded 23 points.
“When I signed here two years ago I knew I was going to have an offensive role,” Dumont said. “Every line is scoring some big goals. But the prime lines are going to be the first two lines. They have to score goals.”
Arnott scored a power-play goal in his brief time on the ice. He has points in his last eight games. Radulov, who scored the first goal of the game 26 seconds after the opening face-off, has a five-game goal scoring streak, a career-high.
The Predators entered the game in 11th place. Heading into Saturday night’s game with Phoenix the Predators are tied with the Vancouver Canucks for eighth place with 57 points.
“At the end of third I looked at the scoreboard and saw that Vancouver lost,” Dumont said. “I didn’t see any shootout or overtime beside it so that was good news.
“We are kind of lucky right now in the position we are in. We know have to play against teams that are ahead of us are racing with us. If we win these games it is going to be huge. It is going to be a great race. We have to put ourselves in a position to finish it.”
Center Scott Nichol, who scored the final goal of the game for the Predators, knows that the standings will be a continuous story the rest of the season.
“We have to put this game behind us and keep going,” Nichol said. “One of the assets on this team is we are pretty resilient. We are a pretty even-keeled bunch.”
Against Columbus, four different Predators scored with Vernon Fiddler also finding the back of the net. It was the perfect example of scoring by committee that the Predators have stressed throughout the season.
“Arnie and J.P. Dumont and Radulov have done really well,” Nichol said. “But having everyone chip in here and there and having everyone pull their own weight is something we reiterated at the beginning of the year.”
The Predators played the last game before the All-Star break in Phoenix, losing 4-3 in overtime to the Coyotes.
“They are pretty fresh on our minds,” Nichol said. “We had a really good outing against them. We thought we should have been on the better end of the score. But that’s hockey.
“We know their personnel. We expect them to play pretty much the same. We have to play the same way. We are not a fancy team. We just grind out and score goals.”
ARNOTT MENDING: Arnott left the game in the second period with a leg injury that coach Barry Trotz classified as a “charley horse” type of problem.
“He sort of got tangled up with one of the Columbus guys,” Trotz said. “There is nothing serious. It was a precaution more than anything. I don’t expect it to be anything.”
He did not expect Arnott to practice today. He rated Arnott as probable for Saturday’s game with Phoenix.
LEGWAND RETURNS: Center David Legwand was back on the ice after missing three games with an ankle injury. Left wing Darcy Hordichuk also was back after missing seven games with a leg injury. Hordichuk earned his first assist of the season.
“I thought Leggy skated really well,” Trotz said. “The Legwand, Marty Erat and Rich Peverley line was really good when it was in there. I thought he controlled the game and battled down low.
“Hordichuk drew two or three penalties just because he was getting pucks deep and Columbus couldn’t hold him up. It was a real solid return for him.”
MORE TOOTOO: Right wing Jordin Tootoo sat in the press box as he continues to recover from a hip flexor injury. Following Thursday’s morning skate it was announced he had signed a two-year extension worth a reported $2 million.