Late in a scoreless first period, Columbus forward David Vyborny was decked by fellow Czech Martin Erat and had to be helped off the ice. He injured a knee and didn't return. There was no immediate update on how long he would be out.
Erat was given a 5-minute major penalty for interference and was ejected.
The penalty led to two goals by his teammates.
While the Predators tried to kill the penalty, Nichol scored off an assist from Antti Pihlstrom before Ortmeyer made it 2-0.
After the Blue Jackets scored their own short-handed goal on Manny Malhotra's nifty cross-crease pass to Dan Fritsche, Ville Koistinen scored on a wrister from the point with the Predators on the man advantage.
The teams were a combined 1-for-17 on the power play through two periods. The Blue Jackets outshot Nashville 33-18.
Columbus experimented with underachieving forward Nikolai Zherdev as first-line center between Vyborny and Rick Nash. A flashy player who has never become a consistent threat, Zherdev was languishing in former general manager Doug MacLean's doghouse last season. After MacLean was fired in the offseason, his replacement, Scott Howson, reached out to Zherdev to try to help him develop into a star. Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock said Zherdev would be evaluated after centering the first line for the first week or 10 days of camp.