The last time the Nashville Predators faced the Columbus Blue Jackets, they saw their 12-game series winning streak come to an end. On Thursday night, they'll try to continue their home dominance against the Central Division rival.
The Predators (25-21-5) had their impressive overall run against the Blue Jackets (25-21-6) halted on Jan. 12 with a 2-1 shootout defeat on the road.
"The more times you play, sooner or later (it was going to happen)," Predators coach Barry Trotz said of the loss.
Nashville, though, has won 16 of 21 all-time home meetings with Columbus, including six in a row since a 3-1 loss on April 3, 2006. However, the last three victories have come by one-goal margins.
The Predators, who are opening a four-game homestand, hope to maintain that edge and overcome a one-point gap on the second-place Jackets in the Central.
Nashville failed to do just that Tuesday, when Chris Mason allowed two third-period goals in a 3-1 loss at Boston.
Despite the loss, J.P. Dumont extended his career-high scoring streak to 15 games - the longest active run in the league - when he assisted on Alexander Radulov's second-period goal. Dumont has totaled eight goals and 12 assists during the surge, tying him with Radulov for the team lead in goals (18) while putting him two points shy of Jason Arnott's team-high 45.
Dumont has three goals and two assists in four meetings with Columbus this season, but only one goal and two assists in six career games at Sommet Center.
|The Columbus Blue Jackets and Nashville Predators last met on Saturday, Jan 12, 2008, in Columbus, Ohio. The Blue Jackets won 2-1 in a shootout. (AP Photo/TerryGilliam)|
Radulov has also been hot of late. The 21-year-old right wing is looking to set a career high by scoring a goal in a fifth consecutive game. He found the net in four straight contests from Nov. 23-30, 2006, and has five goals during his current streak.
Radulov has scored in each of the last two games against the Blue Jackets.
Columbus, meanwhile, is looking to rebound from a disappointing 4-2 loss to Phoenix on Tuesday after giving up three third-period goals.
Pascal Leclaire is looking for a bounce-back performance after he allowed three goals on 27 shots against the Coyotes. The goaltender was outstanding in his previous start, getting his league-leading eighth shutout by stopping 30 shots in a 1-0 win at Chicago last Thursday.
Leclaire made 26 saves and two more in the shootout to win the last meeting with the Predators. He hasn't fared well at Nashville, though, going 1-2-0 with a 4.03 goals-against average in three starts.
Part of Columbus' struggles against the Preds could stem from a lack of production from Rick Nash, the Blue Jackets' leader with 26 goals. The All-Star left wing doesn't have a point in the last eight overall meetings and the last five at Nashville.
The Jackets could be without veteran defenseman Adam Foote, who missed his first game of the season Tuesday with the flu, while center Sergei Fedorov is expected to miss his fifth game due to a concussion.
"We're going to have to make adjustments along the way," Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We're going to have players in and out - we're going to have situations all the time. Right now, it's not about who is out, but who is in - the people that are in have to do the job."