Game 39 Preview: To Catch a Predator

Sorry if the title has been used/overused. It fits for tonight's early evening contest between the Jackets and the Nashville Predators. I couldn't resist. Tonight's game is a dandy little four pointer, with the Jackets currently one point ahead of their Central Division rivals.

I've never liked the Nashville Predators. There's no particular reason, I just don't. On a subliminal level, it could be Barry Trotz's fault. Trotz was the head coach of the Portland Pirates at the time the Springfield Indians left town in 1994. That season, he piloted the Pirates to a Calder Cup Championship, defeating the Moncton Hawks four games to two. Two seasons later, Trotz coached the Pirates to the finals where John Tortorella's Rochester Americans won the cup in a thrilling seven game final series. Along the way to the finals, Trotz's Pirates eliminated the second year Springfield Falcons four games to two.

So maybe, that's enough reason. All the more reason to CARRY THE FLAG for the Blue Jackets this evening when the Jackets head into the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville for a 6PM contest with the Predators.

Believe it or not, the Jackets are 0-9-5 in their last fourteen games in Nashville. The Predators are riding high as this is presently the longest current home winning streak of one team over another. Particularly disappointing to the Blue Jackets are the last four times into Bridgestone with one overtime loss and three shootout losses.

 

Essentials:

Game Time: 6:00 pm EST
TV: Fox Sports Ohio (HD)
Radio: 97.1 WFAN
Predators vs Blue Jackets coverage
Opponent's Blog: On the Forecheck

Keys To The Game:

  • Special Teams -  This week, the Jackets rediscovered some success on the power play. It's essential that they maintain and build on that success tonight. By the same token, the PK shut down Ottawa on all three opportunities for the Sens. The PK needs to remain lights out against the Preds.
  • The Three Stars - New Year's Eve's three stars were Jakub Voracek, Rick Nash and R.J. Umberger. Voracek returned to the lineup after sitting upstairs. Nash over the past few games has again been playing like Rick Nash. Umberger, one of the grittiest forwards in the league, has dug down deep and really accentuated the things that he does so well. These three again tonight, need to be the leaders in this game.
  • Between the Pipes - All indications are that Steve Mason will make his third consecutive start tonight. Although he has had a few moments of awkwardness in the previous two games, he has also shown much of the skill that he possesses. A strong night in goal gives the Jackets more than an even chance to win this game.

 


Blue Jackets Information:

Team Page  Schedule
Roster Stats

 

Columbus Blue Jackets

Kristian Huselius Antoine Vermette Rick Nash 
R.J. Umberger Derick Brassard Chris Clark
Ethan Moreau Samuel Pahlsson Derek Dorsett
Kyle Wilson Andrew Murray Jared Boll


Jan Hejda Fedor Tyutin
Rostislav Klesla Marc Methot
Anton Stralman Kris Russell


Steve Mason
Mathieu Garon

 

Nashville Predators

Patric Hornqvist Cal O' Reilly
J.P. Dumont
Sergei Kostitsyn
Marcel Goc
Linus Klasen
Colin Wilson
David Legwand
Marek Svatos
Jerred Smithson
Nick Spaling

Joel Ward

Ryan Suter
Shea Weber

Kevin Klein

Francis Boullion
  Cody Franson
Shane O' Brien


Pekka Rinne

Anders Lindback
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