jackets @ preds

Columbus Blue Jackets @ Predators (Game 1): Preview

Welcome back hockey fans! The lockout is over and it is now time for the puck to be dropped at Bridgestone Arena. Saturday night is the start of the season for both the Nashville Predators and Columbus Blue Jackets, who are also both in a tough Central Division. Puck drops at 7:08pm CT/8:08pm ET.

TV/Radio Coverage

Nashville: FS-TN and 102.5 The Game

Columbus: FS-O and CD102.5

2011-12 Season Series

Date Away Home Result
10/7 NSH CBJ 3-2 NSH
11/19 CBJ NSH 4-3 CBJ
12/8 NSH CBJ 4-3 NSH
12/22 CBJ NSH 5-6 NSH
1/19 NSH CBJ 3-0 NSH
1/23 CBJ NSH 1-4 NSH

Line Up News

Projected Starting Goalies:

(Stats are career against opponents)
Name W L OT GAA SV%
Pekka Rinne 14 4 1 2.45 .916
Sergei Bobrovsky 1 0 0 2.01 .929

Projected Nashville Scratches: #7 D Jonathan Blum, #16 W Chris Clune and D Victor Bartley (elbow)

Projected Columbus Scratches: #9 W Colton Gillies, #11 W Matt Calvert and #58 D David Savard

Projected Lines

Nashville

#74 Sergei Kostitsyn #12 Mike Fisher #10 Martin Erat
#15 Craig Smith #11 David Legwand #27 Patric Hornqvist
#33 Colin Wilson #28 Paul Gaustad #24 Matt Halischuk
#23 Brian McGrattan #13 Nick Spaling #18 Brandon Yip
#6 Shea Weber #59 Roman Josi
#8 Kevin Klein #22 Scott Hannan
#75 Hal Gill #4 Ryan Ellis
#35 Pekka Rinne
#30 Chris Mason

Columbus

#18 RJ Umberger #16 Derek Brassard #13 Cam Atkinson
#17 Brandon Dubinsky #42 Artem Anisimov #16 Derek Dorsett
#71 Nick Foligno #19 Ryan Johansen #22 Vinny Prospal
#10 Mark Letestu #24 Derek McKenzie #40 Jared Boll
#7 Jack Johnson #21 James Wisniewski
#4 John Moore #33 Adrian Aucoin
#51 Fedor Tyutin #6 Nikita Nikitin
#72 Sergei Bobrovsky
#1 Steve Mason

Thoughts on Both Teams

Expectations are low for the Columbus Blue Jackets this season. Las Vegas is giving the Blue Jackets a 100-1 shot at winning the Stanley Cup, which is pretty high. During the offseason, Columbus lost Rick Nash to the New York Rangers in trade. In losing an NHL star, the Blue Jackets received Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov, which adds depth to their lineup. Entering the season Saturday night, the 'Jackets have a solid all-around team. Three of the four lines are even and can score at any time. It is something to keep an eye on. Columbus has a good defense, but their goaltending will need to be upgraded. Neither Sergei Bobrovsky or Steve Mason, especially Steve Mason, will lead this team to great success.

On the contrary, the Nashville Predators enter this season looking to win it all. They have suffered a set back in losing Ryan Suter, but their job will be to not make it a problem. Still with plenty of talent like Pekka Rinne and Shea Weber, the Predators have a good chance at returning to the playoffs. Gabriel Bourque is out with a lower body injury suffered last month with the Milwaukee Admirals. Barry Trotz told the media that Bourque will play with Milwaukee for a few games before returning to the NHL.

Columbus Blue Jackets Players to Watch

#18 RJ Umberger
#42 Artem Anisimov
#71 Nick Foligno

Another story you should read: "How to Beat the Goalie: Mason & Bobrovsky"

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