BLUE JACKETS AT PREDATORS
SATURDAY, 8 P.M.
FINAL: JACKETS 1 | PREDATORS 0
GAME AUDIO: It's an Arty Party! Artem Anisimov's beauty is the game winner! | LISTEN
WATCH: Artem Anisimov's 3rd period goal.
SECOND PERIOD ANALYSIS: The highlight of the second period was a four-minute power play for the Blue Jackets, but though they didn't score, it sparked them at a time when they needed it. Also chipping in with energy was Corey Tropp, who dropped the gloves with Nashville's Eric Nystrom in the middle frame. The overall energy level was much higher in the second period for Columbus, and a 15-4 shot margin is evidence of that. They've yet to get one past Pekka Rinne - who has been terrific for Nashville - but the key is to keep shooting pucks and creating chaos in front of the net.
FIRST PERIOD ANALYSIS: It's not a secret that the Predators like to start fast in their building, and though they didn't score, they put up 14 shots in the opening period and put a ton of pressure on the Jackets in the early going. Both teams killed off the opposition's only power play chance in the period and did some solid work in front of their goaltender, and both netminders looked sharp in the first. Bobrovsky was the busier of the two, but the Jackets had a couple of really nice chances that they weren't able to convert.
WATCH: Mark Letestu speaks pre-game from Nashville today.
WATCH: Nick Foligno chats with Bobby Mac about tonight's game.
WATCH: Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards' pre-game press conference.
INSIDE EDGE: Today's edition from Nashville with special guest Kirk Herbstreit!
UPDATE (12:45 PM): Aaron Portzline has the scoop on potential line changes for Columbus tonight, and a significant one could be a healthy scratch of Cam Atkinson. He did not take part in regular rushes this morning, which suggests he'll sit out tonight. Matt Frattin could also be a healthy scratch this evening.
UPDATE (12:30 PM): Good news from Bridgestone Arena, as our crew on-site reports that Nikita Nikitin (deemed doubtful for this game due to an upper body injury) is taking part in the morning skate. The team is hopeful that he can play Monday in Dallas.
UPDATE (12:00 PM): As we mentioned last night. Sergei Bobrovsky will start in goal tonight in Nashville.
MORNING SKATE: Hellooooo, Music City! Next stop on this three-game trip is spring-like Nashville, where the Blue Jackets landed late Thursday night after a game in Chicago. The Blue Jackets are scheduled for an 11:30 a.m. (local time) morning skate on Saturday at Bridgestone Arena, and we'll have game day coverage for you right here at Game Day Central. Also, look for lineup changes, thoughts on the match-up against the Predators, storylines from the other side and an interview with coach Todd Richards. Stay tuned to this page for the latest!
The Blue Jackets already needed help on defense with injuries to two key blueliners (Tyutin, Murray) and they were dealt another blow on Thursday night in Chicago. Nikita Nikitin took a high hit in the first period, returned briefly for the second period, but did not return after that. He's doubtful for Saturday's game in Nashville with an upper body injury and as a result, the team recalled Frederic St. Denis on Friday.
There may be line changes at forward, as well, as Richards was not pleased with how the Jackets forward lines performed in a 6-1 loss to the Blackhawks.
Sergei Bobrovsky will start in goal for Columbus.
Jack Johnson said after Thursday's loss in Chicago that it would be difficult for the Blue Jackets to just forget about the game - the emotions of a lopsided loss would stick with them, he said, and hoped it would fire them up for Saturday night's game in Nashville.
Much like they saw on Thursday, the Blue Jackets once again meet up with an old Central Division rival and a team that's given them trouble over the years. Remember the days when it was everything for the Jackets to close out a game in Bridgestone Arena? When it seemed like whatever could go wrong did go wrong? They began to reverse that trend over the past couple of seasons and posted an impressive 4-1-0 record against the Predators in 2012-13.
The big story for Nashville lately has been the return of Pekka Rinne, who missed a significant portion of the season due to an infection that kept him off the ice for months. He spent a brief rehab assignment in Milkwaukee with the Predators' AHL affiliate last week and returned to face the Penguins, and it was a welcomed return for a Nashville squad that's gone through a few goalies this year.
On the other side is a frustrated Blue Jackets team that was not happy with its effort in Chicago, and one eager to redeem itself as it tries to hang in the playoff race. With only 19 games to play, time is of the essence and the Blue Jackets have to bounce back to avoid falling behind in the standings.
AT DALLAS STARS
MONDAY, 8:30 P.M.
AMERICAN AIRLINES CENTER