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Predators-Blue Jackets Preview

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Predators-Blue Jackets Preview

GAME: Nashville Predators (12-3-3) at Columbus Blue Jackets (5-16-0).

TIME: Wednesday, 7 p.m. EST.

The Nashville Predators knew they were in for a tough week, but never could have imagined such an unnerving start to it.

The Predators take the ice against the Columbus Blue Jackets in their first game since their contest in Detroit was postponed after Red Wings defenseman Jiri Fischer suffered a seizure on the bench.

Play was stopped with 7:30 left in the first period after the Red Wings alerted officials to an emergency on their bench. Medical personnel worked on the 25-year-old Fischer at the door to the bench for several minutes before he was wheeled back toward Detroit's dressing room.

Originally the game was going to resume, but then the decision was made to postpone the game.

"It was obvious to everybody involved that it was the right decision," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "It was very disturbing to both sides and I think the NHL recognized it, the players recognized it. To be quite honest, the game became very secondary. When a friend or a teammate was in danger like Jiri was in, then the decision was made for everybody to reschedule it."

Monday's contest, which has yet to be rescheduled, was slated as the first of four in six nights for Nashville. This game with last-place Columbus was supposed to be the easy one during the stretch, with the Predators hosting Los Angeles on Thursday and Dallas on Saturday.

The Predators have won four of five, and have scored 10 power-play goals in their last four games.

Both of Nashville's goals came on the power play Saturday night in a 4-2 loss to Minnesota. Paul Kariya scored one of the goals and has a four-game points streak, with two goals and five assists during that span.

Kimmo Timonen assisted on Kariya's power-play goal, and has three goals and six assists during his five-game points streak.

Predators goaltender Tomas Vokoun has lost his last three games against the Blue Jackets, including a 3-2 overtime loss on Oct. 26.

The Blue Jackets have only won twice in 11 games since beating the Predators, and have a league-worst 10 points.

Columbus has just seven goals during its current five-game losing streak, and has scored a league-low 38 this season.

Gilbert Brule scored his first NHL goal for the Blue Jackets on Sunday night in a 5-1 loss to Phoenix.

"I'm happy that I got the first one out of the way, but I know this team needs a win," Brule said. "I think that would be more important."

Goaltender Marc Denis, who has won just three of 14 starts, has a strained groin and is expected to miss the Nashville game.

The Blue Jackets recalled goaltender Pascal Leclaire from Syracuse of the AHL to be Martin Prusek's backup.

STANDINGS (through Nov. 22): Predators - 27 points, 2nd place, 5 PB, Central Division. Blue Jackets - 10 points, 5th place, 22 PB, Central Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Predators - Steve Sullivan, 8 goals; Kariya and Timonen, 12 assists; Kariya, 19 points; Jeremy Stevenson, 50 PIM. Blue Jackets - David Vyborny, 6 goals; Manny Malhotra, 11 assists; Bryan Berard, 15 points; Jody Shelley, 44 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 22): Predators - Power play: 19.4 percent (22 for 113), 8th in NHL. Penalty killing: 85.8 percent (103 for 120), 3rd. Blue Jackets - Power play: 9.5 percent (12 for 126), 30th. Penalty killing: 82.6 percent (124 for 150), 13th.

GOALTENDERS: Predators - Vokoun (11-3-2, 0 SO, 2.53 GAA); Chris Mason (1-0-1, 3.31). Blue Jackets - Prusek (2-3-0, 3.39); Leclaire (0-2-0, 3.56).

SEASON SERIES: Blue Jackets, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Oct. 26; Blue Jackets, 3-2, OT. At Columbus, Ohio, Adam Foote scored a short-handed goal 35 seconds into overtime to hand the Predators their first loss, snapping their season-opening, eight-game winning streak.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Predators - 3-2-3 on the road; Blue Jackets - 4-6-0 at home.


Associated Press
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