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Preds/Blue Jackets Match-Up To Watch

by Jay Levin / Nashville Predators
Steve Sullivan vs. Jan Hejda and Mike Commodore

Sullivan is Nashville’s most creative and most dangerous offensive player. Mike Commodore and Jan Hejda are Columbus’s top shut-down defensemen.

The injuries to Jason Arnott, Martin Erat, and David Legwand place a larger burden on Sullivan to serve as the primary offensive catalyst for the Preds. In the last four games -- all since Legwand’s injury -- Sullivan figured in seven of the Preds 10 goals scored. Sullivan scored the overtime winner last Saturday and assisted on the game-winning goal the next evening at Detroit.

Hejda leads the Blue Jackets with a +23 plus/minus rating, while Commodore ranks fourth on the team at +11. They are also No. 2 and No. 3 on the team in average ice time, both logging more than 22 minutes per game. Further the duo is the Blue Jackets top penalty killers leading the team in shorthanded ice time this season.

Sullivan has a history of creating trouble for the Blue Jackets. He’s scored 13 goals and 39 points in 35 games versus Columbus, including two points in two games this season. In Tuesday night’s game at Columbus, the Commodore/Hejda defensive pairing were matched against Sullivan’s line for the majority of the game, but Sullivan still assisted on the game’s opening goal by Cal O’Reilly and was consistently Nashville’s most dangerous offensive presence – creating the majority of Nashville’s other top scoring opportunities.

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