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Columbus
Blue Jackets
35-43-4
Nashville
Predators
49-25-8

28 SOG
37 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
CBJ
NSH
game preview

Blue Jackets-Predators Preview

Monday, 04.03.2006 / 7:00 PM

Associated Press

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Blue Jackets-Predators Preview
Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Nashville Predators

GAME: Columbus Blue Jackets (31-40-3) at Nashville Predators (43-23-8).

TIME: Monday, 8 p.m. EDT.

The Columbus Blue Jackets look for a franchise-record sixth straight win when they visit the Nashville Predators, a team looking to move closer to a playoff berth for the second straight season.

The Blue Jackets beat Chicago 5-2 on Saturday to extend their winning streak to five games, matching the record set from Jan.24-Feb. 2.

Mark Hartigan had two goals and an assist, all in the third period, for his first career multipoint game, and Columbus scored four goals in the final period.

"I think we might like playing from behind for some reason," Hartigan said. "We just keep battling and stay in there and try to play our game. Luckily, we're finding ways to win."

Columbus has shown an offensive surge during its winning streak, scoring 21 goals in the five victories. Before that, Columbus was averaging only 2.5 goals per game, third-fewest in the league.

Saturday marked the second time the Blue Jackets have scored four goals in the third period during the streak, having accomplished the same feat on March 25 against Detroit.

"There's one good thing about the new NHL: You have a chance to come back in every game if you don't dig yourself too big of a hole," said Columbus goalie Marc Denis, who had 27 saves against the Blackhawks.

Nashville topped St. Louis 2-1 on Saturday to snap a four-game losing streak and maintain its hold on the fourth spot in the Western Conference. The Predators are four points ahead of fifth-place Anaheim with eight games remaining for each team.

Former Blues forward Mike Sillinger scored 41 seconds into the third period and Martin Erat followed with the go-ahead goal 2 1/2 minutes later, his career-high 18th.

"I saw the defenseman backing up behind the blue line, and I knew that I was going to cut to the middle and try to shoot it," Erat said. "We put the four-game losing streak behind us, and now we have to focus on our remaining eight games."

Nashville already has set franchise records for most wins and points in a season. As the eighth seed in the West, the Predators lost 4-2 to Detroit in the first round in 2003-04.

The Predators, who have won seven of their last eight home games, have a conference-best 28 victories at Gaylord Entertainment Center this season, one behind Carolina for the league lead.

The Predators have won seven of their last eight at home against Columbus, and haven't lost a regulation home game to the Blue Jackets since March 1, 2001.

STANDINGS: Blue Jackets - 65 points, 3rd place, 45 PB, Central Division. Predators - 94 points, 2nd place, 16 PB, Central Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Blue Jackets - Nikolai Zherdev, 27 goals; David Vyborny, 37 assists and 55 points; Jody Shelley, 147 PIM. Predators - Steve Sullivan, 31 goals; Paul Kariya, 48 assists and 75 points; Brendan Witt, 183 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Blue Jackets - Power play: 14.3 percent (59 for 413), 29th in NHL. Penalty killing: 81.5 percent (388 for 476), 20th. Predators - Power play: 18.3 percent (84 for 459), 11th. Penalty killing: 83.8 percent (402 for 480), 10th (tied).

GOALTENDERS: Blue Jackets - Denis (19-24-0, 1 SO, 3.23 GAA); Pascal Leclaire (9-13-3, 3.37). Predators - Tomas Vokoun (36-18-7, 4, 2.67); Chris Mason (6-4-1, 3.12).

SEASON SERIES: Predators, 5-2.

LAST MEETING: Feb. 11; Predators, 5-2. At Nashville, Tenn., Marek Zidlicky had two power-play goals and an assist to help the Predators snap a three-game losing streak.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blue Jackets - 11-23-3 on the road; Predators - 28-7-1 at home.

2005-2006 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 03 '06CBJ 3 at NSH 1J. Chimera
Feb 11 '06CBJ 2 at NSH 5S. Upshall
Jan 28 '06NSH 3 at CBJ 4D. Vyborny
Jan 21 '06CBJ 2 at NSH 7Y. Perreault
Dec 23 '05NSH 5 at CBJ 4A. Hall
Dec 17 '05CBJ 3 at NSH 7S. Sullivan
Nov 23 '05NSH 4 at CBJ 2D. Legwand
Oct 26 '05NSH 2 at CBJ 3 - OTA. Foote
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%