Game Preview #64 - Cue The Imperial March...

Frederick Breedon

...it's DARTH VADER!!

Columbus Blue Jackets at Nashville Predators

March 8, 2014 - 8:00 pm EST
Bridgestone Arena - Nashville, Tennessee
Radio - WBNS 97.1 -- TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponent's Blog: On The Forecheck
SBN's Predators vs Blue Jackets coverage

Well, this could get interesting. Todd Richards is not just tinkering with his lines; this is a full-on shake-up. We'll see how it goes. Portzline is reporting that Cam Atkinson is most likely going to be a healthy scratch, and Corey Tropp and Blake Comeau get back in tonight. Matt Frattin will also sit. But, it's more than that: the forward lines have been completely rearranged. I just... wow.

On defense, the same thing is happening, though it's due to the fact that now ALL THREE normal starting left defensemen are out. The good news is that Nikita Nikitin appears a possibility for Monday in Dallas. The bad news? Well, Frederic St. Denis might play tonight. Yep.

The Preds, thankfully, are still on their way back after last season's crater-job. They traded away noted Jacket-killer David Legwand, and though Pekka Rinne is back in goal, their overall team defense has been pretty bad this season, giving up almost three goals per game.

The one area in terms of raw stats in which the Preds are dangerous is still the Power Play; Shea Weber is a difference-maker. So, the Jackets need to stay disciplined and keep this game 5-on-5, or to work over the Preds' weak PK unit.

Either way, this defense is going to probably take some years off of our collective lives until (if?) it gets healthy. Let's hope the Jackets can bury Thursday night and start over from scratch to get on the winning side of the ledger again.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(32-26-5, 69 Points; 4th division, 9th conference)

Matt Calvert Brandon Dubinsky Nathan Horton
Nick Foligno Ryan Johansen Boone Jenner
R.J. Umberger Artem Anisimov Corey Tropp
Blake Comeau Derek MacKenzie Mark Letestu
Jack Johnson David Savard
Nick Schultz James Wisniewski
Cody Goloubef Dalton Prout
Sergei Bobrovsky
Curtis McElhinney

Nashville Predators
(26-27-10, 62 Points; 7th division, 12th conference)

Nick Spaling Mike Fisher Patric Hornqvist
Gabriel Bourque Colin Wilson Craig Smith
Eric Nystrom Matt Cullen Viktor Stalberg
Rich Clune Paul Gaustad Patrick Eaves
Roman Josi Shea Weber
Mattias Ekholm Seth Jones
Michael Del Zotto Ryan Ellis
Pekka Rinne
Carter Hutton

Season Series

11/27/13 - Nashville 4 at Columbus 0
03/08/14 - Columbus at Nashville

Head to Head Stats

Nashville Columbus
2.40 (24) GPG 2.87 (8)
2.90 (23) GAPG 2.81 (19)
20.1% (11) PP% 19.2% (14)
79.7% (26) PK% 81.7% (16)
Craig Smith, 18 G leader Ryan Johansen, 25
Shea Weber*, 25 A leader James Wisniewski, 32
Shea Weber*, 40 Pts leader Ryan Johansen, 49
Rich Clune, 122 PIM leader Brandon Dubinsky, 90
15-15-4 Home/Road 14-15-3
3/6 vs. St. Louis, L 2-1 Last Game 3/6 @ Chicago, L 6-1
3-5-2 Last 10 6-3-1

*David Legwand has 30 assists and 40 points, but now plays for Detroit

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