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Game Day: Preds vs. Blue Jackets

by Thomas Willis & Brooks Bratten / Nashville Predators

(11-3-3) Nashville Predators vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (7-13-0)
  6 P.M. (CT) | Nationwide Arena | #NSHvsCBJ
TV: FS-TN | Radio: 102.5 The Game


The Nashville Predators are set to begin a five-game road trip tonight in Columbus by facing the Blue Jackets. It's the first of two meetings between the two clubs this season after getting together twice in the preseason.

Nashville is coming off of a 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday, with the Predators now having scored 18 goals in their last four games. Columbus fell 3-0 to the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night, after picking up wins in their previous three games.

The Preds have won five of their last seven games at Nationwide Arena (5-2-0 record), scoring a combined 23 goals in that span and three-or-more goals in six of those seven contests. All-time, Nashville has a 22-13-3 road record against Columbus, which is their second-best road record against any NHL club.

Nashville has played in 10 one-goal games this season, earning points in nine of those contests (6-1-3 record). The Preds have an 8-0-2 record when holding the opponent to two or fewer goals, and are 8-1-1 when scoring three goals or more. They've also scored the game's first goal in 12 of 17 contests they've played, scoring within the first 10 minutes of the game on seven occasions. Nashville has a 10-1-1 record when scoring first.

The Predators blue line continues to lead the League in their offensive output, starting with Roman Josi, who paces Nashville's blueliners with 13 points (4g-9a). Preds defensemen are first in points in the NHL with 52 and are also first with 17 goals.

James Neal leads the Preds in goals and points with nine and 15, respectively, followed by Josi's 13 points. Forwards Mike Ribeiro and Filip Forsberg each have identical stat lines (2g-9a), while Shea Weber (6g-4a) and Seth Jones (1g-9a) have 10 points apiece. Craig Smith and Calle Jarnkrok are tied for third on the team in goals with four.

Pekka Rinne made a season-high 38 saves Tuesday against Anaheim, including 19 in the second period. He has a 3-0-1 record in his last four games and is 10-2-3 overall.

Former Preds forward Scott Hartnell leads Columbus on offense with 14 points (8g-6a), followed by Ryan Johansen, Boone Jenner and Brandon Saad, who each have 13 points. Jenner and Saad both have nine goals to their credit, while Brandon Dubinsky and Cam Atkinson have potted four each. Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky is 7-9-0 on the season for the Jackets; he expected to get the start in net tonight for the Jackets

The Nashville Predators and Columbus Blue Jackets will meet for the first of two contests this season on Friday night at 6 p.m. CT. Nashville swept the two games last season versus Columbus and has won three of the past four meetings in the series dating back to the 2013-14 season. All-time, the Predators are 53-18-7 against the Blue Jackets.


Predators Game Day Video:


What to Watch for: Pete and Brent Preview


Projected Lineups:

Nashville Predators:

The Predators held an optional morning skate on Friday. Below is the team's projected lineup based on the line rushes seen in Thursday's practice.


Forwards
Miikka Salomaki Mike Fisher James Neal
Filip Forsberg Mike Ribeiro Craig Smith
C. Wilson/E. Nystrom Calle Jarnkrok Austin Watson
Gabriel Bourque P. Gaustad/C. Sissons Cody Hodgson
Defense
Roman Josi Shea Weber
Barret Jackman Seth Jones
Mattias Ekholm Ryan Ellis

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Extra: (D) Victor Bartley, (D) Anthony Bitetto


Columbus Blue Jackets:

Forwards
Boone Jenner Ryan Johansen Brandon Saad
Scott Hartnell Nick Foligno Cam Atkinson
Matt Calvert William Karlsson Rene Bourque
Kerby Rychel Gregory Campbell Josh Anderson
Defense
Jack Johnson David Savard
Fedor Tyutin Kevin Connauton
Ryan Murray Cody Goloubef

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Goaltenders: Sergei Bobrovsky is the expected starter in net with Curtis McElhinney serving as the backup.

Injured:
(F) Brandon Dubinsky, (F) David Clarkson, (F) Jared Boll, (F), Alexander Wennberg, (D) Dalton Prout

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