Game 28 Preview: Home Cookin'

Nashville Predators at Columbus Blue Jackets

December 8, 2011 - 7:00pm EST
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
Radio - WBNS FM 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponents Blog: On the Forecheck
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The road trip is history. It was OK, but not great: four points in four games. Certainly better than the opening portion of the schedule, but not good enough if the Jackets want to work their way back to mediocrity in the standings.

Coming to town tonight is the old nemesis, the Nashville Predators. Columbus banished the hellish losing streak in Nashville a few weeks ago, so now they need to end their losing streak to Nashville at home. After losing on opening night, it is a 1-game losing streak at Nationwide...

In all seriousness, Nashville has been in a bit of a tailspin since Columbus came in and won in Music City back on November 19. Going into that game, the Preds were 10-5-3, and riding a 3-0-1 streak. Their record since, including that game in which Columbus won in overtime? 2-6-1. During that stretch, they've scored three-or-more goals only twice, including the loss to the Jackets. Overall, they've potted just 20 goals in that nine-game span, and even that is skewed by a six-goal dump against Vancouver.

So, I guess what I'm saying is: tonight could be a night to take advantage of a struggling team. The Jackets need to come out, score first again (something they've actually done quite well of late), and suffocate the struggling Preds' offense. Turn the tables, for once; make them grip the sticks a little too tightly.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(8-16-3, 19 Points; 5th division, 15th conference)

Vinny Prospal Jeff Carter Rick Nash
Derick Brassard Antoine Vermette Ryan Johansen
R.J. Umberger Mark Letestu Derek Dorsett
Derek MacKenzie Samuel Pahlsson Jared Boll
Fedor Tyutin Nikita Nikitin
Marc Methot James Wisniewski
Grant Clitsome John Moore
Curtis Sanford
Steve Mason

Nashville Predators
(12-11-4, 28 Points; 4th Division, 11th Conference)

Colin Wilson David Legwand Martin Erat
Sergei Kostitsyn Mike Fisher Craig Smith
Matt Halischuk Nick Spaling Patric Hornqvist
Kyle Wilson Chris Mueller Jerred Smithson
Ryan Suter Shea Weber
Jack Hillen Kevin Klein
Roman Josi Jonathon Blum
Pekka Rinne
Anders Lindback

Season Series

10/07/11 - Nashville 3 at Columbus 2 - recap
11/19/11 - Columbus 4 at Nashville 3 (OT)
12/08/11 - Nashville at Columbus
12/22/11 - Columbus at Nashville
01/19/12 - Nashville at Columbus
01/23/12 - Columbus at Nashville

By The Numbers

Scoring
NSH - 2.59 G/G (17th)
CBJ - 2.33 G/G (26th)

Defense
NSH - 2.70 GA/G (t14th)
CBJ - 3.22 GA/G (t27th)

Power Play
NSH - 19.4% (9th)
CBJ - 12.5% (27th)

Penalty Kill
NSH - 83.7% (12th)
CBJ - 76.1% (28th)

Game Notes:

  • For Those About to Goon... - You may be disappointed. Noted ass-hat Jordin Tootoo is out for this game, serving his two-game suspension for running Ryan Miller. I'm not sure what Ryan Miller did to earn repeated beat-downs from opposing forwards, but he might want to reconsider.
  • Top-6 Shake-up - Derick Brassard looks to be drawing back in, and in the top-6 to boot. With Kristian Huselius back out with a groin injury, Vinny Prospal moves back up. Brassard takes Prospal's spot on the second line, but the other move is that Antoine Vermette is moving up to that line as well. The Three Centers will be interesting; Porty Tweeted that Vermette is going to take draws, and then drift back to the wing while Brassard plays in the middle. Odd.
  • Holy Crap - The top pairing of Ryan Suter and Shea Weber is on pace for a face-melting number of points. Between them, they have 11 goals and 26 assists. They are third and fourth on their team in total points. Yikes! Weber and Suter have a combined seven Power Play goals on the season, which leads nicely into...
  • Special Teams - Nashville is struggling to score, but their PP unit is still dangerous; they scored two PPGs against the Jackets back on 11/19 in the loss, and have scored 10 of their 20 goals in this last stretch on the man advantage. While the CBJ PK has been better of late (18 of their last 20 killed off), they cannot afford to give the Predators extra chances to score on the PP. For a team that's having a horrendous time scoring at even strength, you can't play into their hands and give them free shots at you. Those 20 times shorthanded for Columbus span eight games (21 times total), which is 2.5 penalties a game. That discipline has to continue.

Seems to me the time is right for a winning streak against the Preds. If the Jackets can find a way to get three goals, I like their chances. And honestly, who doesn't want free chili?? At the end of the night, a regulation win for Columbus would close the gap in the division to [gulp] only seven points.

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