BLUE JACKETS 1 | PREDATORS 5
Alexander Wennberg's First NHL Goal
ANALYSIS: What was a fairly even hockey game broke open in the span of 98 seconds in the second period. The Predators took advantage of two mistakes by the Blue Jackets, scoring at 7:47 (Colin Wilson) and then at 9:25 (Craig Smith), and that's the jist of it after 40 minutes. A long stretch pass allowed Wilson to break in alone, going blocker side on Bobrovsky and then a turnover at the offensive blue line allowed Nashville to quickly transition the other way, opening a 2-on-1 for Mike Ribeiro and Smith. Ribeiro faked a slap shot and fed Smith, who had a wide open net and there was really nothing Bobrovsky could do. So...it's going to take a big third period from the Blue Jackets, but they've shown during this streak that they can make it happen. Isn't it time for that 0-11-0 record when trailing after two periods to fall?
Second Period Highlights
ANALYSIS: All things considered, not a bad first period for the Blue Jackets, who thought they had an early lead against Nashville here tonight but to no avail. Nick Foligno appeared to score the opening goal at 1:16, but after video review, NHL officials determined that Pekka Rinne accidentally dislodged the Nashville net prior to Foligno's shot crossing the goal line. The play was initially ruled a goal on the ice but overturned after a conversation with the Situation Room in Toronto. After that, it was a pretty even period with shots 12-9 favoring the Predators. The Blue Jackets killed off a late period penalty to Alexander Wennberg while yielding little in the way of a threat in the process, and that's where we stand after 20 minutes.
First Period Highlights
Kevin Connauton Pregame
Alexander Wennberg Pregame
Todd Richards Pregame
UPDATE (11:15 AM):- Todd Richards said this morning that the key to beating Nashville tonight is winning the battles. "It's getting it in their zone and winning battles, grinding it down there. And then it's being prepared and having the attitude to win a 2-1 hockey game."
-Richards commented on just how important Brandon Dubinsky's return to the lineup has been to the team's recent success. "He's a much bigger factor than what it says on paper, just for what he brings to our team," said the coach. Richards said he had told Dubinsky after his first game back that the bench felt different.
- The Blue Jackets have gone to overtime in six straight games, and seven of eight. "As long as we're winning. I think that our group has shown that whatever it takes, if we have to go extra minutes or extra frames, our guys are prepared to do that," Richards said.
UPDATE (10:05 AM): Here are the lines and pairings from this morning's skate...
-Cody Goloubef and Jordan Leopold took part in the line rushes together, while forward Sean Collins was off to the side. The three appear to be out of the lineup tonight.
- Mark Letestu and Scott Hartnell continue to work their way back, with both players taking to the ice this morning. Neither took part in team drills at the morning skate.
Good morning and happy game day, friends!
The Blue Jackets continue their season-long, five-game home stand tonight against the Nashville Predators. Tonight's game is the second of two meetings this season between the former Central Division rivals and it's a big game for both sides. The Jackets want to keep their December run (8-0-1) intact and the Predators want to maintain their pace and close out the pre-Christmas schedule on a positive note, with tonight's game being the first of back-to-backs for Nashville.
Here are some nuggets to get the day started:
- Sergei Bobrovsky is expected to start for the Blue Jackets tonight.
- Injured LW Scott Hartnell (broken finger) took part in Sunday's optional practice at Nationwide Arena but is not expected to play tonight. The Blue Jackets placed him on injured reserve Dec. 12 and he's eligible to return at any time.
- Good to see Mark Letestu (groin/abdominal) skating this week, as well. Nothing too involved right now as he builds back up and there's no targeted return date, but nonetheless, a positive that he's back on the ice.
- Jordan Leopold was among the eight skaters and one goaltender (Curtis McElhinney) on the ice yesterday. He's been a healthy scratch the past three games.