(21-8-2) Nashville Predators vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (14-15-3)
6 P.M. | Nationwide Arena
TV: FS-TN | Radio: 102.5 The Game
The Nashville Predators are set to continue their three-game road trip before the Christmas break as they face the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second and final time this season. The Preds defeated the Jackets 2-1 on Nov. 29 in Nashville.
After four days off between games, the Predators were back on the ice on Saturday against Minnesota, emerging with a 6-5 overtime victory. The win improved Nashville's record against the Central Divsion to 9-3-2 on the campaign.
Preds defenseman Mattias Ekholm played the role of hero over the Wild, tallying the game-winner in overtime, the first game-winning goal of his career. Fellow defenseman Ryan Ellis recorded a career-high six shots on goal, and defenseman Victor Bartley, who was filling in for the injured Anton Volchenkov, added two helpers for his second career two-assist/point game.
Not to be outdone, the Predators top defensive pairing of Shea Weber and Roman Josi also found the scoresheet in Minnesota. Weber, who tallied his fifth multi-point game with two assists against the Wild, leads Preds defensemen in points (6g-14a-20pts), goals and hits (72). Josi potted a power-play goal on Saturday and is second on the club in points by a defenseman with 17. The Bern, Switzerland, native leads Nashville in blocked shots with 80.
Preds rookie sensation Filip Forsberg found the back of the net for the 13th time this season, a mark that continues to lead the Predators and all NHL rookies. Forsberg continues to play at a point-per-game pace with 31 points thus far. The Swede sits just one assist back from Seth Jones for third on the all-time assists by a Preds rookie list. In addition, he is one goal from tying Craig Smith for third on the all-time goals by a Preds rookie list.
The 14-15-3 Blue Jackets are led on the statsheet by Nick Foligno, who has recorded 16 goals and 30 points this season. Ryan Johansen leads Columbus in assists with 19 and is just one point behind Foligno for the team lead. Sergei Bobrovsky has 13 wins between the pipes for the Jackets with a 2.61 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage.
Prior to NHL realignment for the 2013-14 season, the Preds and Jackets played 13 seasons as divisional foes, with Nashville compiling a 50-17-7 record during that span. The Predators beat Columbus 4-1 in their only visit to Ohio last season. Weber has 35 points in 44 career games against the Blue Jackets, his highest total against any team.
What to Watch for: Brent and Willy's Breakdown:
Morning Skate:Predators Update:
Forward James Neal, who missed Saturday's game at Minnesota, has joined the team in Columbus and participated in the morning skate. With his return, the Preds showed a bit of a different look in the forward rushes.Projected Nashville Lines:
Forsberg - Ribeiro - Smith
Wilson - Fisher - Cullen
Nystrom - Jokinen - Bourque
Beck - Jarnkrok - Neal
Roy - Gaustad - Stalberg Defensemen:
Josi - Weber
Ekholm - Ellis
Bartley - Jones
Extra: Volchenkov (day-to-day, lower-body)Goaltenders:
*Probable StarterProjected Columbus Lines:
Foligno - Johansen - Morin
Calvert - Dubinsky - Atkinson
Tropp - Wennberg - Skille
Cracknell - Chaput - BollDefensemen:
Johnson - Savard
Connauton - Wisniewski
Tyutin - ProutGoaltenders: