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Predators-Blue Jackets Preview @NHLdotcom

GAME: Nashville Predators (8-0-0) at Columbus Blue Jackets (2-7-0).

TIME: Wednesday, 7 p.m. EDT.

The Nashville Predators will look to move closer to setting a new mark for the best start in NHL history when they visit the struggling Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Predators won their eighth in a row Tuesday with a 5-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.

Tomas Vokoun continued his stellar work in net with a season-high 38 saves as Nashville moved to within closer to the NHL record of 10 straight victories at the start a season set by the 1993-94 Toronto Maple Leafs.

The triumph over Chicago allowed Nashville to match the second-longest season-opening winning streak in league history. The 1934-35 Maple Leafs and 1975-76 Buffalo Sabres also opened with eight wins in a row.

"We're in pretty elite company right now," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "I told the team that if we can do something special, go for it. If it happens, great. If not, we'll move on."

Vokoun, quickly emerging as an elite goaltender, is 9-5 with a 2.09 goals-against average in his career against Columbus, but has lost in his last two appearances against them.

Should Nashville beat Columbus, the Predators can match the record when they play host Saturday to the Edmonton Oilers.

"We are trying not to make a big deal of the record," said David Legwand, who had a goal and an assist against the Hawks. "We are aware of our situation, but it is early."

Columbus lost for the fifth time in six games Monday, 6-2 to Detroit. Bryan Berard and Trevor Letowski scored and Marc Denis stopped 31 shots but suffered a bruised collarbone.

He is listed as day-to-day and is not expected to return until Friday against Minnesota.

On Tuesday, Columbus recalled goalie Andrew Penner from Syracuse of the AHL. Penner has won his only game for the Crunch this season, making 41 saves in a 6-3 victory Saturday over the Rochester Americans.

Denis' injury is the latest for the Blue Jackets. Left wing Rick Nash, who tied for the NHL lead in goals in 2003-04, is out with a sprained ankle while Gilbert Brule (sternum), Dan Fritsche (foot) and Rostislav Klesla (leg) are also sidelined.

"We're just a little snakebit right now and until that changes we have to just keep plugging away," defenseman and captain Luke Richardson said.

STANDINGS: Predators - 16 points, 2nd place, 2 PB, Central Division. Blue Jackets - 4 points, 5th place, 14 PB, Central Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Predators - Sullivan, 5 goals and 11 points; Sullivan, Kariya and Dan Hamhuis, 6 assists; Jeremy Stevenson, 37 PIM. Blue Jackets - Berard and Jason Chimera, 3 goals; Manny Malhotra, 5 assists; Berard, 6 points; Jody Shelley, 21 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Oct. 24): Predators - Power play: 19.5 percent (8 for 41), 8th in NHL. Penalty killing: 87.5 percent (35 for 40), 5th. Blue Jackets - Power play: 9.6 percent (6 for 62), 29th (tied). Penalty killing: 83.8 percent (57 for 68), 13th.

GOALTENDERS: Predators - Vokoun (7-0-0, 0 SO, 2.09 GAA); Chris Mason (1-0-0, 3.69). Blue Jackets - Denis (2-5-0, 3.69); Martin Prusek (0-0-0, 2.72); Penner (no appearances).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Predators, 4-1-0-1.

LAST MEETING: March 27; Blue Jackets, 3-2, OT. At Nashville, Tenn., Nikolai Zherdev scored on the power play in the third period to force the overtime and Tyler Wright had the game-winner in the extra session.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Predators - 3-0-0 on the road; Blue Jackets - 1-3-0 at home.

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