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Preview: Predators at Blue Jackets

Ryan Johansen plays at Columbus for first time since trade to Nashville last season

by Craig Merz / NHL.com Correspondent

PREDATORS (27-22-8) at BLUE JACKETS (37-15-5)

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

 

Predators team scope

Nashville Predators center Ryan Johansen will play at the Columbus Blue Jackets for the first time since being traded for defenseman Seth Jones on Jan. 6, 2016. Johansen was selected by the Blue Jackets with the No. 4 pick in the 2010 NHL Draft and played parts of five seasons in Columbus. "I have some lifelong friends on that hockey club, so it's great to see them as individuals and as a team having success, so as much as I like seeing them do well, when we're up against them, I hope we steal two points," Johansen told the Predators website. "It'll be an exciting game." The Predators look to rebound following a 5-2 loss at the Minnesota Wild on Saturday in their first game after a five-day break. They have lost four of six and are tied with the Calgary Flames for the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. "If you get the two points, you have to put it in the bank and move on to the next one and get those two points," forward Vernon Fiddler said after the game. "With the loss, you've got to do the same thing. You can't lose two in a row, and we lost this one, but we've got to get back on the horse and get back at it tomorrow."

 

Blue Jackets team scope

Left wing Scott Hartnell returns after missing two games with a lower-body injury he sustained against the New Rangers on Monday. Hartnell said he expected to be out until the Blue Jackets return from a five-day break Feb. 25 against the New York Islanders but felt better Friday and considered playing then against the Pittsburgh Penguins. "If it's a playoff game for sure I'm playing (Friday)," he said after practice Saturday. "I wanted to give it a couple more days to get the swelling down and feel comfortable with it." Rookie Lukas Sedlak, who sustained a lower-body injury against the Penguins, is questionable. If he can't play, Sam Gagner would move from right wing to center, Hartnell would play on the left and Matt Calvert would switch to right wing. Coach John Tortorella said the Blue Jackets would be focused on the Predators and not the upcoming break. "The expectation is we're not on vacation until after 9 o'clock," Tortorella said. The Blue Jackets are one point behind Pittsburgh for second place in the Metropolitan Division.

 

Predators projected lineup

Filip Forsberg -- Ryan Johansen -- Viktor Arvidsson

Colin Wilson -- Calle Jarnkrok -- James Neal

Austin Watson -- Mike Fisher -- Craig Smith

Colton Sissons -- Vernon Fiddler -- Harry Zolnierczyk

Roman Josi -- Ryan Ellis

Mattias Ekholm -- P.K. Subban

Matt Irwin -- Yannick Weber

Pekka Rinne

Juuse Saros

Scratched: Anthony Bitetto, Brad Hunt, Kevin Fiala

Injured: Miikka Salomaki (lower body), Cody McLeod (lower body)

 

Blue Jackets projected lineup

Brandon Saad -- Alexander Wennberg -- Oliver Bjorkstrand

Boone Jenner -- Brandon Dubinsky -- Cam Atkinson

Nick Foligno -- William Karlsson -- Josh Anderson

Scott Hartnell -- Sam Gagner -- Matt Calvert

Zach Werenski -- Seth Jones

Jack Johnson -- David Savard

Markus Nutivaara -- Ryan Murray

Sergei Bobrovsky

Joonas Korpisalo

Scratched: Dalton Prout, Scott Harrington

Injured: Lukas Sedlak (lower body)

 

Status report 

Neither team held a morning skate. … Fiala was recalled from Milwaukee of the American Hockey League on Saturday. In 32 games with the Predators this season, he has nine points (six goals, three assists). He did not play Saturday but could be in the lineup.

 

Who's hot

Neal has three assists in two games. … Subban has five points (one goal, four assists) in his past five games. … Arvidsson has nine points (six goals, three assists) in his past seven games. … Johansen has 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in his past 12 games. … Dubinsky has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in his past eight games. … Jones has 12 points (three goals, nine assists) in his past 12 games.

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