Columbus Blue Jackets @ Predators (Game 32): Preview

The Nashville Predators battle the Columbus Blue Jackets Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena on 'Hockey Fights Cancer Night. The Predators are 12-13-6 with 30 points and ranked 12th in the Western Conference. The Blue Jackets are ranked 9th in the West with 32 points and a record of 13-12-6. Puck drops at 7:08pm CT.

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TV/Radio Coverage

Nashville: Fox Sports Tennessee and 102.5 The Game

Columbus: Fox Sports Ohio and 97.1 The Fan

Season Series

Date Away Home Result
1/19 CBJ NSH 3-2 CBJ OT
3/19 NSH CBJ 3-4 CBJ

Line Up News

Starting Goaltenders:

Name W L OT GAA SV%
#35 Pekka Rinne 11 10 5 2.33 .911
#72 Sergei Bobrovsky 11 6 5 2.99 .932

Projected Nashville Scratches: #7 D Jonathon Blum, #15 C Craig Smith (conditioning assignment) and #22 D Scott Hannan (upper body); #27 W Patric Hornqvist (IR; upper body), #28 C Paul Gaustad (IR; upper body) and #33 C Colin Wilson (IR; upper body)

Projected Columbus Scratches: #17 C Brandon Dubinsky (out; lower body), #33 D John Moore and #43 C Sean Collins; #15 W Derek Dorsett (IR; shoulder) and #21 D James Wisniewski (IR; broken foot)

Projected Lines

Nashville

#74 Sergei Kostitsyn #12 Mike Fisher #10 Martin Erat
#56 Taylor Beck #11 David Legwand #57 Gabriel Bourque
#16 Rich Clune #13 Nick Spaling #18 Brandon Yip
#19 Bobby Butler #17 Chris Mueller #24 Matt Halischuk
#6 Shea Weber #59 Roman Josi
#8 Kevin Klein #64 Victor Bartley
#4 Ryan Ellis #75 Hal Gill
#35 Pekka Rinne
#30 Chris Mason

Columbus

#22 Vinny Prospal #16 Derek Brassard #10 Mark Letestu
#11 Matt Calvert #42 Artem Anisimov #13 Cam Atkinson
#71 Nick Foligno #18 RJ Umberger #19 Ryan Johansen
#40 Jared Boll #9 Colton Gillies #24 Derek McKenzie
#51 Fedor Tyutin #7 Jack Johnson
#4 John Moore #6 Nikita Nikitin
#30 Tim Erixson #47 Dalton Prout
#72 Sergei Bobrovsky
#1 Steve Mason

Thoughts on Both Teams

Predators: Nashville hopes to ignite a winning streak at home against their Central Division rivals. Usually, the Predators have been the alpha-male in the rivalry with the Blue Jackets, but it has been the opposite so far this season. Columbus has been able to take advantage of them in their first two meetings. After Saturday night, two more games will be played between the two.

According to head coach Barry Trotz, it appears Hal Gill will return to the lineup. Gill has been injured with a lower body injury suffered exactly a month ago against the Red Wings. Bringing him back to the lineup will be benefitiial to the penalty kill and solidify the depth at defense.

The three keys to victory are 1) Top lines need to produce; 2) Special teams need to perform and 3) Defense first.

Blue Jackets: Saturday night's game in the Music City will be the second of back-to-back games. The night before, Columbus put a 5-1 route on the Flames at Nationwide Arena. Sergei Bobrovsky got the start, so expect Steve Mason to be between the pipes against the Preds.

Columbus is hot right now and have climbed from 15th place in the West to 9th. Currently, they are on a 12 game point streak, which is adding huge competition in the battle for the playoffs. They look to continue the streak in Smashville.

Columbus Blue Jackets Players to Watch:

Name GP G A
#22 Vinny Prospal 31 9 9
#71 Nick Foligno 31 5 10
#42 Artem Anisimov 23 7 2

Who scores the first goal of the game for Predators? Win a Preds player t-shirt, info here.

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