COLUMBUS -- Which Columbus Blue Jackets team will show up at Nationwide Arena on Wednesday to face the Nashville Predators?
Anyone who has that answer needs to buy a lottery ticket, because the Blue Jackets were all over the map literally and figuratively on a just-concluded five-game trip across Canada.
It opened with a 4-1 win against the Ottawa Senators followed by a humbling 7-0 defeat to the Edmonton Oilers. Columbus rebounded to defeat the Calgary Flames 2-1 in overtime before falling 6-2 against the Vancouver Canucks.
The final game on the road ended on a good note with a 6-0 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday.
"We seem to not be losing two in a row lately, but the big thing is we've got to find a way to get [ticked] off in the sense we want to win every night," Blue Jackets left wing Matt Calvert said. "That's something I think you'll see tonight. We're going to put the work boots on like we did in Toronto."
Columbus coach Todd Richards said consistency will come with better defensive play.
"If you do a better job in your own zone closing quickly and checking better there, you're not spending as much time in your own zone," he said. "It leads to more offense."
Nashville coach Barry Trotz can relate to the Blue Jackets’ roller-coaster ride. The Predators (12-10-2) ended a 17-day, seven-game road swing losing four straight by a combined score of 17-2. Then they came home and won 7-2 as part of the current stretch of four wins in five games.
"It's urgency," Trotz said. "Sometimes you fall into ruts on the road. If things don't go your way it gets to be a drag. It changes on a dime. You've got to fight through those."
The Blue Jackets (9-12-3) are facing a former bitter rival from the Central Division of the Western Conference. The Predators holding a 50-23-1 advantage. Because Columbus moved to the Eastern Conference the teams will play one more time this season, March 8 in Nashville.
Trotz said there is a change to the series now.
"It's just a little [different] but it doesn't mean it's less important," Trotz said. "Two points is two points. … We're both in similar situations. We're trying to get in that top eight in our conference."
The projected lineups for the Predators against the Blue Jackets:
Colin Wilson - Mike Fisher - Eric Nystrom
Craig Smith - Matt Cullen - Nick Spaling
Viktor Stalberg - David Legwand - Gabriel Bourque
Rich Clune - Paul Gaustad - Matt Hendricks
Shea Weber - Roman Josi
Seth Jones - Kevin Klein
Ryan Ellis - Victor Bartley
Scratched: Mattias Ekholm
Injured: Filip Forsberg (upper body), Patric Hornqvist (upper body), Pekka Rinne (hip)
Matt Calvert - Artem Anisimov - Cam Atkinson
Nick Foligno - Ryan Johansen - Boone Jenner
RJ Umberger - Mark Letestu - Blake Comeau
Sean Collins - Michael Chaput - Jack Skille
Fedor Tyutin - Jack Johnson
Ryan Murray - James Wisniewski
Dalton Prout - David Savard
Scratched: Tim Erixon
Injured: Jared Boll (foot), Brandon Dubinsky (foot), Marian Gaborik (knee), Nathan Horton (left shoulder surgery), Derek MacKenzie (back), Nikita Nikitin (foot)