BLUE JACKETS (14-11-5) at PREDATORS (17-11-2)
Last 10 -- Columbus 2-5-3; Nashville 6-3-1
Season series -- This is the second of six regular-season meetings between these Central Division clubs. Nashville won 4-3 in a shootout at home on Nov. 21. David Legwand clinched it for the Preds with the deciding goal against Steve Mason. The Predators make their first visit to Columbus on Monday.
Big story -- Nashville has taken three of the last four games from Columbus, dating back to last season, and has won 12 in a row over the Blue Jackets in MusicCity. The Blue Jackets have been reeling lately; having dropped eight of their last 10 games. But they're coming off a 3-0 home victory over Florida on Wednesday.
Blue Jackets -- The Jackets went into Wednesday's action tied with Carolina for the most goals allowed. But they looked more like the team that made the playoffs last season during Wednesday's shutout victory over Florida.
The most encouraging aspect of the game for Columbus was the play of Mason. Last season's Calder Trophy winner has been struggling recently, but stopped all 32 shots he faced against Florida for his first shutout of the season.
"He gave us a chance tonight," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "He and the defensemen played very well tonight, and that's what we were looking for."
Predators -- Nashville is set to play the third of their current four-game homestand tonight after splitting its first two: a 5-3 loss against Minnesota on Saturday and a 4-2 win over Vancouver on Tuesday.
The Predators have also been a bit inconsistent since their seven-game winning streak ended on Nov. 27 at home against St. Louis, having alternated wins and losses in the six games following that defeat.
Who's hot -- For Columbus, Jason Chimera has scored goals in each of his last three games. Martin Erat had three goals and an assist in Nashville's win over Vancouver on Tuesday, giving the veteran right wing 8 points (5 goals and 3 assists) in his last four games. He has 8 goals in his last 10 games after getting just one in his first 17.
Injury report -- Forward Derek Dorsett was activated from injured reserve by the Blue Jackets on Wednesday and played 10:21 in the Panthers game. Defenseman Rostislav Klesla had surgery last Friday to repair two torn tendons in his groin and an abdominal tear and is expected to miss 6-8 weeks. … Preds center Dave Scatchard missed another game on Tuesday with an upper-body injury and remains listed as day-to-day.
Stat pack -- Nashville hasn't lost at home to Columbus since April 3, 2006. The Blue Jackets are 4-19-3 with one tie all-time in Nashville. … The Predators are 13-1 when scoring at least once on the power play. … Columbus is 0-3-2 in its last five on the road. Goaltender Mathieu Garon, who's expected to start for the Jackets, is 0-4-0 with a 4.08 goals-against average at Nashville and has posted a 4.43 GAA in losing five straight starts overall against the Predators
Puck drop -- "I was looking for a little bit of a change. We've got our three oldest players on (the first line) and we've got a lot of games, so I was looking for a little change. Sometimes you get a little bit stale when you stay together as a line. Once in a while, the odd change will work." - Predators coach Barry Trotz on moving Erat to the top line on Tuesday.