The Blue Jackets won for just the seventh time in Nashville and the second time this season in this series between Central Division rivals. Matt Calvert also had a goal and an assist, James Wisniewski had a power-play goal, and Brandon Dubinsky had two assists. Sergei Bobrovsky made 38 saves.
Kevin Klein scored a goal for Nashville, which slipped one point behind Columbus and into 11th place in the Western Conference.
The Blue Jackets had a goal waved off after officials ruled Calvert kicked the puck into the net at 6:42 of the third, a goal that would have put Columbus up 3-1. Calvert scored a goal at 10:50 that didn't require a review. He sent a wrister from just inside the blue line that Pekka Rinne hit with his blocker, but the puck bounced over him.
Columbus had Gaborik on the ice wearing No. 10 after sending a private plane to bring him to Nashville on Wednesday. The Blue Jackets sent three players and a draft pick to the New York Rangers for the veteran forward and two minor league defensemen. Forward Blake Comeau, a trade pickup from Calgary, is expected to join Columbus in St. Louis on Friday.
Columbus made all the moves to build on March, the best month in the franchise's history. The Blue Jackets, who have made the playoffs only once, are one place below the postseason cutoff in the West.
The Predators sent right wing Martin Erat to Washington for top prospect Filip Forsberg at Wednesday's trade deadline. Nashville showed plenty of energy, outshooting Columbus 13-8 in the first period and forcing Bobrovsky to make several saves in the opening minutes.
Bobrovsky also stopped Sergei Kostitsyn on a breakaway in the second.
Gaborik earned his first point with Columbus, helping the Blue Jackets go up 1-0 on Wisniewski's power-play goal. The teams were skating 4-on-4 when Nashville captain Shea Weber was penalized for hooking at 8:21 of the second. Columbus needed only 15 seconds before Dubinsky passed the puck out to Wisniewski for a slap shot from the high slot.
Nashville tied it at 12:14 by catching Bobrovsky with his stick in front of him in the crease and not in his hand. Klein scored on a wrister that Bobrovsky couldn't stop even as he tried to twist himself over to his left, missing the puck.
Notes: Rinne was called for tripping Nick Foligno at 14:54 of the first period, giving him six penalty minutes this season. Only three other goalies have multiple penalties this season. ... Columbus is 4-5 in the first game of back-to-back sets this season. ... Wisniewski's goal was the second by Columbus on a 4-on-3 this season. ... Klein has points (1 goal, 2 assists) in three consecutive games to match the longest streak of his career. ... Nashville C David Legwand has seven points (3 goals, 4 assists) in five games.