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Game Day: Preds at Blue Jackets Preview

Nashville Tries for Split Against Blue Jackets in Columbus

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Senior Communications & Content Coordinator

The Predators are back at it tonight in Columbus with another meeting against the Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. Nashville will be looking to split their two-game set with the Jackets after they were shut out on Thursday night by a 3-0 final.

They weren't displeased by their overall effort on Thursday, but the Preds also know effort won't get them any points in the standings. Still, the group kept their heads up Friday with a spirited practice that included plenty of pace and energy - the ideal way to go about things as they try to find their way back into the win column.

[View: Virtual, Interactive Preds Press]

[Read More: Preds Projected Lineup vs. Columbus]

Video: Josi looks to be more aggressive moving forward

"We know we're kind of in a funk right now, we know we've dug a hole and we've got a lot of work to do to get out of it," Preds forward Rocco Grimaldi said Friday. "Sometimes, smiling and having fun can boost morale on the ice, but we'll get better as well. I thought [Thursday] we did a lot of good things, a lot of good opportunities… and that was a stride in the right direction. We didn't get the result we wanted, but we wanted to have a good day and get ready for [tonight].

Video: Grimaldi confident Preds' team effort will pay off

"You get frustrated if you're playing bad and the results aren't going your way… and if guys are doing the right things as a team and are working hard, it's just not going in, it can be frustrating. But that's when we just need to stick with the game plan and not try to go on our own page and do it our own way just because it's not working… We've just got to keep doing the right things with the guy sitting next to us in the room and stick together. That's the biggest thing. People are going to want to pull apart and pick us apart right now, but we've got to stay together as a team. It only matters about the guys in that locker room."

The Preds were joined by injured forward Brad Richardson, although he did not take line rushes. Forwards Eeli Tolvanen and Michael McCarron were reassigned to the taxi squad Friday, while defenseman Ben Harpur was recalled.

Update: Preds Head Coach John Hynes provided updates on some of Nashville's injured players on Saturday morning.

Video: Coach Hynes provides updates on player injuries

On Ryan Johansen and Brad Richardson: "Ryan Johansen is skating. He's been introduced to some light contact, so he will not be available tonight, but he is making strong progress. Brad Richardson has practiced with the team full the last couple days, so he looks like he's on his way back. He won't be available for tonight, but both of those guys have really taken good strides, which is why we brought them on the trip, and hopefully anticipating them being ready for the Detroit series possibly."

On Mattias Ekholm: "Ekholm is back skating. He's made some good progress, so his next step, I think we'd probably hopefully like to see him in practice on Monday, and then evaluate where he goes from there, but he is making good strides."

On Mathieu Olivier: "Mathieu Olivier is back at home, he is progressing, but I would say that he's a little bit ways away from coming back right away. He's got to get into some practice, into some contact, and he's not at that point yet."

Update (4 p.m. CT): The Preds have recalled forward Eeli Tolvanen from the taxi squad ahead of tonight's game.

The Good Guys:

Juuse Saros made 19 saves in Thursday's 3-0 loss to Columbus, as the Preds fell for the fifth time in seven tries this month. Filip Forsberg leads the club in scoring with 14 points (7g-7a), followed by Matt Duchene (3g-5a) and Roman Josi (2g-6a) with eight points each. Rocco Grimaldi and Mikael Granlund are tied for second on the team with three goals apiece. Pekka Rinne and Saros are both 3-5-0 in net for the Preds.

Video: Coach Hynes speaks on ending the Preds' slump

The Opposition:

Cam Atkinson, Max Domi and Eric Robinson all tallied for Columbus on Thursday, and goaltender Elvis Merzlikins stopped all 32 Nashville shots he faced in the win.

Atkinson leads Columbus with seven goals and 14 points, followed by Oliver Bjorkstrand (4g-9a) with 13 points and Jack Roslovic (4g-6a) with 10 points. Boone Jenner has five goals on the season, while Bjorkstrand, Roslovic, Nick Foligno, Alexandre Texier and Patrik Laine have four goals each. Merzlikins is 3-2-1 in net for the Jackets; Joonas Korpisalo is 5-4-3 on the season.

All-Time Meetings:

The Predators are 61-21-(1)-7 all-time against the Blue Jackets, including a 24-15-(0)-4 record on the road. Nashville is 2-1-0 against Columbus this season, sweeping its two-game set against the Blue Jackets to open the 2020-21 campaign.

The Preds have earned at least a point in eight of their last 10 games versus the Blue Jackets (7-2-1), including wins in three of their last four. Nashville is 2-2-1 in its last five games at Nationwide Arena and 5-4-1 in its last 10. Prior to Thursday night's defeat, the team's last regulation loss to Columbus on the road came on Nov. 20, 2015.

Notables Versus Columbus:

Filip Forsberg notched his fifth career hat trick on April 7, 2018 versus Columbus. He has 11 points (6g-5a) in 15 career meetings with the Blue Jackets. In addition to posting 19 points (7g-12a) in 30 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 is one of four players on the Predators to tally at least 10 career points versus Columbus; he's picked up 13 points (2g-11a) in 24 contests against the Blue Jackets. Pekka Rinne owns a 21-8-3 record, 2.33 goals-against average and .920 save percentage in 33 career meetings with Columbus.

Watch & Listen:

Coverage for tonight's 6 p.m. CT puck drop from Nationwide Arena begins on FOX Sports Tennessee at 5:30 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 5 p.m. with Darren McFarland. For broadcast information and channel locations throughout the country, click here.

Streaming Info:

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

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