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Preview: Blue Jackets at Predators

Nashville 6-1-1 in past eight games; defenseman David Savard may return for Columbus

by Robby Stanley / NHL.com Correspondent

BLUE JACKETS (32-11-4) at PREDATORS (23-17-8)

8 p.m. ET; FS-O, FS-TN, NHL.TV

 

Blue Jackets team scope

The Columbus Blue Jackets, two points behind the Washington Capitals for first place in the Metropolitan Division and Eastern Conference, will try for their 15th road win this season. The Blue Jackets are 14-6-3 on the road, but 2-4-0 in their past six games away from home after a 4-2 loss at the New York Islanders on Tuesday. "I don't think it was all effort, I'll give you that," coach John Tortorella said. "We have some things to work on with our structure, and we just need to get better. I'll leave it at that." Columbus is 5-6-0 in its past 11 games after its 16-game winning streak, the second longest in NHL history. Defenseman David Savard, who has missed three games with an undisclosed injury, participated in the morning skate Thursday, but Tortorella has yet to determine if Savard will play. Forward Cam Atkinson was named to the Metropolitan Division team on Thursday for the 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles, replacing Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin. Atkinson, the Blue Jackets leading scorer, is tied for eighth in the League with 46 points (24 goals, 22 assists).

 

Predators team scope

The Nashville Predators have gone 6-1-1 in their past eight games, after going 2-4-2 in their previous eight games, to move into third place in the Central Division, which would give them a Stanley Cup Playoff spot. "The team is starting to play the way we want … and we've put ourselves in a good spot here," forward Ryan Johansen said. "We've got to keep gaining ground on teams and keep moving forward and winning games. We've got one game here before the break, and that's always emphasized. You want to go into the break with a win." Johansen, who has six points (one goal, five assists) in a three-game point streak, will face his former teammates for the second time since being traded for defenseman Seth Jones on Jan. 6, 2016. Johansen will play his 400th NHL game.

 

Blue Jackets projected lineup

Matt Calvert - Brandon Dubinsky - Cam Atkinson

Brandon Saad - Alexander Wennberg - Nick Foligno

Boone Jenner - William Karlsson - Josh Anderson

Scott Hartnell - Lukas Sedlak - Sam Gagner

Zach Werenski - Seth Jones

Jack Johnson - Ryan Murray

Scott Harrington - Dalton Prout

Sergei Bobrovsky

Joonas Korpisalo

Scratched: Marcus Hannikainen

Injured: David Clarkson (back), Markus Nutivaara (undisclosed), David Savard (undisclosed)

 

Predators projected lineup

Filip Forsberg - Ryan Johansen - Viktor Arvidsson

Austin Watson - Mike Fisher - Craig Smith

Colin Wilson - Calle Jarnkrok - James Neal

Cody McLeod - Colton Sissons - Harry Zolnierczyk

Mattias Ekholm - P.K. Subban

Matt Irwin - Ryan Ellis

Anthony Bitetto - Yannick Weber

Pekka Rinne

Juuse Saros

Scratched: Derek Grant , Brad Hunt, Mike Ribeiro

Injured: Petter Granberg (upper body), Roman Josi (upper body), Miikka Salomaki (lower body)

 

Status report

Nutivaara did not participate in the morning skate for the Blue Jackets. He has missed five games. … Ribeiro could be a healthy scratch.

 

Who's hot

Bobrovsky is 17-3-0 with 38 goals allowed in his past 20 starts. … Atkinson has three goals in his past two games. … Wennberg has four assists in his past two games. … Forsberg has five points (four goals, one assist) in a four-game point streak. … Arvidsson has five points (two goals, three assists) in a four-game point streak. … Ellis has five points (three goals, two assists) in his past four games. … Rinne is 4-1-0 with eight goals allowed in his past five starts.

 

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