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Predators-Blue Jackets Preview @NHLdotcom
Predators-Blue Jackets Preview

GAME: Nashville Predators (31-13-6) at Columbus Blue Jackets (19-30-2).

TIME: Saturday, 7 p.m. EST.

The Columbus Blue Jackets are learning that sometimes it's better to be lucky than good.

Coming off one of their strangest wins of the season, the Blue Jackets look to move into sole possession of third place in the Central Division when they welcome the Nashville Predators to Nationwide Arena.

Columbus rallied Friday for a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Wild. Bryan Berard and Rick Nash scored in the third as the Blue Jackets erased a two-goal deficit.

Sergei Fedorov's centering pass was deflected into Minnesota's net by Wild defenseman Nick Schultz, giving the Blue Jackets an improbable 4-3 win.

"I've scored two or three goals in my career off a skate, but not a game-winner like that," Fedorov said.

The win was the Blue Jackets' seventh in eight home games overall, but just their fourth in 20 games this season when trailing after two periods.

"That's what good teams are made of," said Nash, who recorded his first point in five games. "We obviously didn't play very well the first two periods, we just outworked them in the third."

David Vyborny had two assists, giving him five in his last two games.

Nashville looks to regroup after a 5-1 loss Thursday to Minnesota, its first in 10 games that the Predators didn't earn a point - they had three overtime losses in that span.

The regulation loss was also the first in 17 games this season for the Predators with right wing Scott Walker in the lineup. Nashville had been 13-0-3 with Walker in the lineup.

Walker, an original Predator, has been limited by injuries to just three goals in 17 games after tying a career high with 25 goals in 75 games in 2003-04.

Linemate Paul Kariya has scored three points in each of his last two games against the Blue Jackets and has three goals and five assists in five games this season against them.

The Predators start play two points behind the Western Conference-leading Detroit Red Wings.

STANDINGS: Predators - 68 points, 2nd place, 2 PB, Central Division. Blue Jackets - 40 points, 3rd place (tied), 30 PB, Central Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Predators - Steve Sullivan, 25 goals; Kimmo Timonen, 31 assists; Kariya, 47 points; Darcy Hordichuk, 107 PIM. Blue Jackets - Nikolai Zherdev, 15 goals; Vyborny, 23 assists and 36 points; Jody Shelley, 107 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Jan. 26): Predators - Power play: 18.5 percent (59 for 319), 11th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.3 percent (273 for 324), 9th. Blue Jackets - Power play: 14.8 percent (42 for 284), 26th. Penalty killing: 82.4 percent (280 for 340), 14th.

GOALTENDERS: Predators - Tomas Vokoun (25-9-5, 1 SO, 2.59 GAA); Chris Mason (5-3-1, 0, 3.16). Blue Jackets - Marc Denis (11-17-0, 1, 3.37); Pascal Leclaire (5-10-2, 0, 3.69).

SEASON SERIES: Predators, 4-1.

LAST MEETING: Jan. 21; Predators, 7-2. At Nashville, Tenn., Kariya and Scott Hartnell each had two goals and an assist to lead the Predators, who unloaded 48 shots at Leclaire. Berard and Trevor Letowski each scored for the Blue Jackets.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Predators - 12-8-5 on the road; Blue Jackets - 13-12-0 at home.

Associated Press
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