The Nashville Predators have returned to the familiar surroundings of Bridgestone Arena for a five-game homestand, and it begins this afternoon against the Columbus Blue Jackets at 2 p.m. CT. Today's contest starts a back-to-back set against the Preds and Jackets - both matinees - and Nashville is eager for a chance to get back into the win column.
The Predators and Blue Jackets saw each other recently in Columbus for a two-game set, with Nashville following up a 3-0 loss with a 4-2 win last Saturday, an effort the Preds said was their best of the season. Today, they'll look to replicate that success after falling in Detroit on Thursday night.
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"There's definitely still some good things there, and it wasn't a terrible game, but we lost the game, obviously, and there's things we can do better," Preds forward Erik Haula said following Thursday's loss. "There are some things we can work on, and we just [have to] reset. We're playing back-to-back, Saturday, Sunday, so even though it hurts, forget about this one and just get ready for homestand and put together a couple of wins again."
Nashville did not practice on Friday, but they did recall forward Tanner Jeannot from AHL Chicago to the taxi squad and reassigned forward Sean Malone to the Wolves. Forward Eeli Tolvanen and defenseman Ben Harpur were also reassigned to the taxi squad on Friday.
Forward Brad Richardson remains on Injured Reserve, but he has been skating with the team and could return to the lineup soon. Defenseman Mattias Ekholm's status is also in question; Preds Head Coach John Hynes said the blueliner, who is also on Injured Reserve, would be re-evaluated once the team returned home, and he could return soon as well.
Video: Preds celebrate equality with warmup jerseys
In honor of Black History Month, the Preds will be wearing black jerseys during pregame warmups today. Half of the jerseys will be auctioned off Feb. 27, and the rest on Feb. 28, by the Nashville Predators Foundation to benefit the GUIDER Program. To bid on the jerseys and other memorabilia, text Preds to 76278.
Update: The Preds have activated defenseman Mattias Ekholm from Injured Reserve and recalled forward Eeli Tolvanen from the taxi squad. Additionally, defenseman Jarred Tinordi was claimed on waivers by Boston.
The Good Guys:
Haula and Mikael Granlund tallied for Nashville in Thursday's 5-2 defeat, while Pekka Rinne took the loss in net. Granlund's goal came on the power play, an area that has improved for the Preds as of late. Nashville scored on the power play in three-straight games (4g) for a season-high streak.
Filip Forsberg leads the Predators in scoring with nine goals and 17 points on the season, followed by Captain Roman Josi with 11 points (2g-9a). Granlund (4g-5a) and Ryan Ellis (2g-7a) have nine points apiece. Rinne owns a 5-6-0 record on the season; goaltender Juuse Saros is 3-5-0 in net.
Last Saturday's loss to the Predators started a three-game skid for the Blue Jackets, including a 2-0 result against the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday, Cam Atkinson leads Columbus in scoring with eight goals and 16 points; Oliver Bjorkstrand (6g-10a) also has 16 points. Jack Roslovic has four goals and 12 points since coming over in a trade with Winnipeg earlier this season, while Boone Jenner and Patrik Laine also have six goals each. Joonas Korpisalo is 5-5-4 in net for the Jackets; Elvis Merzlikins was injured last week against the Preds and is week-to-week.
The Predators are 62-21-(1)-7 all-time against the Blue Jackets, including a 37-6-(1)-3 record at Bridgestone Arena. Nashville is 3-1-0 against Columbus this season, and they've earned at least a point in nine of their last 11 games vs. the Blue Jackets (8-2-1), including wins in four of their last five.
The Predators posted a 17-game home winning streak against the Blue Jackets that spanned five seasons from 2006-11. In the Preds' 47 home games versus Columbus, they've only lost six times in regulation, with two of those losses coming in the first three matchups between the two teams.
Notables Versus Columbus:
Filip Forsberg notched his fifth career hat trick on April 7, 2018 versus Columbus. He has 12 points (7g-5a) in 16 career meetings with the Blue Jackets, including points in four of his last six games.
In addition to posting 19 points (7g-12a) in 31 career games against Columbus, Matt Duchene played in 23 games for Nashville's new Central Division foe in 2018-19, recording 12 points (4g-8a).
Roman Josi has picked up 13 points (2g-11a) in 25 contests against the Blue Jackets, and Viktor Arvidsson has five points (3g-2a) in 11 career meetings with Columbus.
Pekka Rinne owns a 22-8-3 record, 2.32 goals-against average and .920 save percentage in 34 career meetings with Columbus. With his win on Feb. 20, Rinne passed Evgeni Nabokov for the most career wins by an NHL goaltender against the Blue Jackets.
Watch & Listen:
Coverage for this afternoon's 2 p.m. CT puck drop from Nashville begins on FOX Sports Tennessee at 1:30 p.m. CT with the Predators Live! pregame show hosted by Lyndsay Rowley and Terry Crisp. Willy Daunic, Chris Mason and Kara Hammer have the call on the television side, while Pete Weber and Hal Gill will broadcast on 102.5 The Game and the Predators Radio Network. Pregame coverage on the radio begins at 1 p.m. CT. For broadcast information and channel locations throughout the country, click here
Listen to a Live Radio Feed (only active during the game broadcast window).
Watch a Live Stream of the game on the Fox Sports Go App or Watch on NHL.TV