(30-36-8) Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Nashville Predators (38-23-13)
7 P.M. | Bridgestone Arena | #CBJvsNSH
TV: FS-TN | Radio: 102.5 The Game | Pregame: 6:30 P.M.
The Nashville Predators are set to welcome Seth Jones back to town this evening as he and the Columbus Blue Jackets make a stop at Bridgestone Arena. It's the first meeting between the two clubs since Jones was dealt to Columbus in exchange for Ryan Johansen on Jan. 6, 2016.
“This one would feel good to win for sure,” Johansen said Friday after Nashville’s practice. “It’ll be interesting seeing all those guys and being on the same ice playing against them. I’m looking forward to it now; it should be a fun night.”
The Preds came back to beat the Vancouver Canucks in a shootout on Thursday, giving Nashville points in nine-straight home games (6-0-3). Columbus fell 3-2 to Carolina on Thursday and are 4-6-0 in their last 10 outings.
Since the swap in January, Johansen has 25 points (7g-18a) in 34 games with the Preds, including two game-winning goals. Prior to the trade, Nashville ranked 18th in goals per game at 2.55, scored two goals or fewer 21 times and were shut out on four occasions. Since the deal, the Preds are seventh in goals per game at 2.91, scored two goals or fewer just 13 times and have been shut out twice.
Winger Filip Forsberg is having a career season with 31 goals so far in 2015-16. He's the fifth player in franchise history to post 30 in a single season and the first since 2009-10. He joins Jason Arnott, Steve Sullivan, Paul Kariya and Patric Hornqvist to reach the mark. Should James Neal score another goal this season, it will be the first time since 2005-06 that the team will have multiple 30-goal scorers in a single campaign (Sullivan/Kariya).
The Predators set the franchise record for most sellouts in a single season on Thursday night against the Canucks, their 12th straight in a full barn and 31st overall. The team has played to 99.2 percent capacity this season, hosting over 600,000 fans. The Preds are on pace to surpass the most-ever visitors at Bridgestone Arena, with the record being 691,028 set during the 2014-15 regular season.
Forsberg continues to lead the Preds in goals and points with 31 and 55, followed by defenseman Roman Josi with 53 points. Neal's 29 goals are second on the team and his 49 points slot third, followed by Mike Ribeiro with 47 points. Craig Smith and Shea Weber have scored 18 and 17 goals, respectively. Goaltender Pekka Rinne is 31-19-10 between the pipes this season.
Ribeiro has a point in three of his last four games versus the Blue Jackets (1g-2a); Smith has a point in two of his last three games against Columbus (2g-1a).
Cam Atkinson leads the Jackets in points with 47 and is second in goals with 26. Boone Jenner leads the club with 27 goals; former Preds forward Scott Hartnell is second in points with 45, to go along with 21 goals. Sergei Bobrovsky holds a 13-17-1 mark in net this season; Joonas Korpisalo is 14-9-4.
In the first meeting between the two teams on Nov. 20, 2015 at Nationwide Arena, the Blue Jackets defeated the Predators by a score of 4-0. All-time, Nashville is 53-19-7 versus Columbus, including a 31-5-4 mark at Bridgestone Arena.
Predators Game Day Video:Preds Players: Pekka Rinne and Colton Sissons
Blue Jackets Players: Seth Jones
What to Watch for: Preds Web Team Breakdown
Coach Presser: Head Coach Peter Laviolette
The Predators did not hold a morning skate on Saturday. Below is the team's projected lineup based on the line rushes seen in Friday's practice.
| ||Forwards || |
|Calle Jarnkrok ||Ryan Johansen ||James Neal |
|Filip Forsberg ||Mike Ribeiro ||Craig Smith |
|Colin Wilson ||Mike Fisher ||Viktor Arvidsson |
|Miikka Salomaki ||Colton Sissons ||Eric Nystrom |
| ||Defense || |
|Roman Josi ||Shea Weber |
|Barret Jackman ||Ryan Ellis |
|Mattias Ekholm ||Petter Granberg |
Goaltenders: Pekka Rinne is the projected starter in net after not taking part in the Preds optional morning skate. Carter Hutton is expected to serve as the backup.
Extra: (D) Anthony Bitetto (lower-body), (F) Paul Gaustad (upper-body), (F) Gabriel Bourque (upper-body), (F) Austin Watson
Columbus Blue Jackets:
| ||Forwards || |
|Matt Calvert ||Brandon Dubinsky ||Cam Atkinson |
|Brandon Saad ||Boone Jenner ||Nick Foligno |
|Scott Hartnell ||Alexander Wennberg ||Oliver Bjorkstrand |
|William Karlsson ||Michael Chaput ||Gregory Campbell |
| ||Defense || |
|Ryan Murray ||Seth Jones |
|David Savard ||Dalton Prout |
|Dean Kukan ||Cody Goloubef |
Goaltenders: Joonas Korpisalo is the projected starter in net with Sergei Bobrovsky serving as the backup.
Injured: (D) Jack Johnson, (F) David Clarkson, (D) Justin Falk, (G) Curtis McElhinney (F) Jared Boll, (F) Rene Bourque, (D) Fedor Tyutin