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18 to Go!!

by Jeff Rimer / Columbus Blue Jackets

March 5

With just 18 regular season games remaining the Blue Jackets get back to Division play tonight and as Coach Ken Hitchcock has stated repeatedly... these Division games starting tonight here in Nashville will ultimately determine whether or not the Jackets will be a playoff team.

The Predators are red hot... having won five straight... four in a row on the current homestand that ends tonight, they have outscored their opponents 24 to 9 in the five games. No less than six of their players are on extended scoring streaks and their power play has been performing at better than 33-percent during their winning streak.

Tonight we have a marquis goaltending matchup against the NHL's two leading rookie netminders... Steve Mason 25-15-3 with a 2.20 goals against average, a league leading eight shutouts and a 918 save percentage will face Pekka Rinne of the Predators who is 21-10-1 with six shutouts a 2.23 goals against average and 923 save percentage!

The latest on the just acquired center Antoine Vermette is that the Blue Jackets are hoping that Vermette will be able to clear immigration to the U.S. by 3 p.m. Columbus time... then board a flight to Nashville in order to play tonight. If not, he is expected here sometime tonight, will practice with the team tomorrow before we head to Detroit where he will make his debut Saturday night against the Red Wings.

Good news for tonight is that Freddie Modin will play while Rusty Klesla will return to the lineup Saturday.

*Throughout the season, AAA will bring you the Broadcaster's Blogs - "Davidge Dishes" and "Rimer Ramblings." The Columbus Blue Jackets radio and television analysts will try to keep you updated on all the season action through their blogs, especially when the Blue Jackets are on the road.

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