For the second time on this road trip, the Nashville Predators will try to win the second half of a back-to-back set, this time in Columbus against the Blue Jackets. It's the first of two meetings between the two clubs this season; the Preds will host the Jackets in March.
Tonight marks the fifth contest of Nashville's current six-game excursion, and they've collected at least a point in all four of them, including wins in three straight. The most recent victory came on Wednesday night in Chicago, thanks largely in part to a pair of goals from Filip Forsberg, including the game-winner in overtime.
After following up a 4-3 overtime loss in Detroit last Friday with a 4-1 win on Saturday night in Montreal, the Preds will now look for a sweep of their current back-to-back, with Head Coach Peter Laviolette stating he'd like to see his team put forth an improve defensive effort tonight from what they showed in Chicago.
However, two points is still two points, especially on the road. And when Forsberg is performing like he did in Chicago, there will always be reason for optimism.
Video: Forsberg leads Predators with two goals, OT winner
Last Time Out:
In addition to Forsberg's tallies, Viktor Arvidsson and Colton Sissons also scored for Nashville, while Pekka Rinne collected his 17th win of the season. The top line of Arvidsson, Forsberg and Johansen combined for three of the game's four goals and 18 shots in total.
Johansen tallied a pair of assists on Wednesday and continues to lead the club in scoring with 38 points, followed by Mattias Ekholm with 32 points and Roman Josi with 31. Forsberg's 16 goals lead the team; Craig Smith has 14 and Arvidsson has 13.
The Blue Jackets have one win in three tries in the new year, including a 4-0 loss to Tampa Bay on Tuesday. Artemi Panarin leads the team with 45 points, followed by Cam Atkinson with 42 points and Pierre-Luc Dubois with 37. Atkinson has 24 goals on the season, Dubois has 16 and Panarin has 13. Former Preds defenseman Seth Jones has seven goals and is fourth on the team with 25 points. Sergei Bobrovsky is 18-13-1 in net for Columbus with a .906 save percentage.
Video: Fiala explains why Preds have improved on the road
The Predators are 58-19-(1)-6 all-time against the Blue Jackets, including a 24-14-(0)-3 record at Nationwide Arena. Nashville has won five straight against Columbus and seven of the last eight overall. The Preds have won two in a row and four of their last five games on the road versus the Blue Jackets.
Notables Versus Columbus:
Filip Forsberg notched his fifth career hat trick on April 7, 2018, at Bridgestone Arena against Columbus. He has six points (3g-3a) in nine career meetings with the Blue Jackets. P.K. Subban has 15 points (3g-12a) in 15 career games versus the Blue Jackets, including points in seven of his last nine meetings with Columbus (2g-9a).
Video: Predators face Blue Jackets to complete back-to-back
Watch & Listen:
Tonight's game from Nationwide Arena comes with a 6 p.m. (CT) start. Coverage on Fox Sports Tennessee begins at 5:30 p.m. with Predators Live with Willy Daunic, Chris Mason and Lyndsay Rowley. Fans may listen to the contest on 102.5 The Game and the Predators Radio Network with Pete Weber and Hal Gill on the call. For broadcast information and channel locations throughout the country, click here.
If the Predators are playing hockey, you can count on the game being on at Preds Approved Bars & Restaurants. Locations throughout Tennessee may be seen by clicking here.
Tonight's Preds Official Watch Party takes place at Buffalo Wild Wings in Smyrna. For more information, 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