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Jackets try to get back on track vs. Predators

by John Kreiser /

PREDATORS (10-8-5) at BLUE JACKETS (14-8-0)

TV -- FS-Tennessee; FS-Ohio

Last 10 -- Nashville 5-3-2; Columbus 6-4-0

Season series -- It's the second meeting of the season between the Central Division rivals. The Predators came to Nationwide Arena on Nov. 22 and left with a 2-0 loss as Steve Mason stopped 27 shots.

Big story -- The Predators come to town on an upswing after a 3-0 victory at home against Phoenix on Tuesday ended a four-game losing streak. The Blue Jackets have had a couple of days off to get over the disappointment of a home-and-home sweep at the hands of the Red Wings, who won 2-1 at Columbus on Friday and 4-2 at Detroit on Sunday.

Team Scope:

Predators -- A four-game losing streak has dropped Nashville out of the top eight in the West, so beating Phoenix at home wasn't just a luxury -- it was a necessity.

"We had a desperation in our game tonight," goaltender Pekka Rinne said. "The penalty killing did a good job. The power play did a good job. All of the areas we have been practicing have improved.

Blue Jackets -- The Jackets are off to the best start in their history -- no thanks to the power play. They spent a lot of Tuesday's practice working to improve on the NHL's 28th-ranked power play. They'll also have to get over their hangover after the disappointing weekend against Detroit.

"If we skate, we can hang with these guys," Blue Jackets defenseman Mike Commodore said after Sunday's loss. "If we stop and we watch, we're in trouble. But that's like any team against Detroit. A lot of times teams do that and it's a result of the way Detroit is playing, the way they move and control the puck."

Who's hot -- Rinne has allowed just one non-shootout goal on 57 shots in Nashville's last two games. … Columbus center R.J. Umberger has a nine-game points streak, matching the club record held by Rick Nash and Andrew Cassels.

Injury report -- Nashville center David Legwand (lower body) missed his sixth game on Tuesday. He hopes to be back by the end of the week. … Columbus defenseman Mark Methot (upper body) is day-to-day but didn't practice Tuesday. Forward Kristian Huselius is out for at least another 2-3 weeks with a high ankle sprain, but Ethan Moreau (broken hand) may return Wednesday.

Stat pack -- Nashville captain Shea Weber's goal on Tuesday was his 175th career point. He is tied with Marek Zidlicky for second in Nashville history for points by a defenseman. … Though they came into the NHL just a year apart, the Predators have dominated the series between the teams. The Jackets are 17-32-9 all-time vs. Nashville, including 13-13-3 at home.

Puck drop -- The Jackets have had a couple of days off to regroup after the losses to Detroit, while the Predators come to Columbus after playing Tuesday. The Jackets have never fared well against Nashville -- and if they want to prove they're for real, this is the type of game they have to win.

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