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Game Preview #6 (X) - Last Train to Nashville

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The Jackets head south with a good chunk of their opening night lineup as they look to continue their offensive output from Saturday.

Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Columbus Blue Jackets at Nashville Predators

Tuesday, September 29, 2015 - 8:00 PM EDT
Bridgestone Arena - Nashville, Tennessee
Radio: WBNS 1460 AM
Opponent's Blog - On the Forecheck

After seeing the new-look top line on Saturday, what's not to like? Ryan Johansen looks ready to be a legitimate 80-point threat, Brandon Saad seems to have instant chemistry with him, and Nick Foligno is no stranger to playing with Joey either. If they can stay healthy and continue to play like they did on Saturday, is it crazy to start thinking of numbers like 80 goals for the three of them?

I know, I know. Pre-season. Meaningless games. Don't jinx it. Etc.

Even still, this is what the Jackets are looking to do, especially as the defense will probably need time to jell: they are looking to jump on teams with this offense, and then keep the hammer down. Witness a 4-0 run on the Penguins at which time Columbus was up 18-1 in shots. Sometimes the best defense is a good offense?

Three of the four expected opening night lines will be on the ice tonight, with only the (presumed) Boone Jenner -- Brandon Dubinsky -- Rene Bourque line sitting out tonight with the latter nursing an injury. Just another chance for Kerby Rychel to make an impression, methinks. On defense, two of the three pairs are in, with Fedor Tyutin and Jack Johnson getting the night off.

I don't have the exacts on the Predators defense tonight, but if they ice most of their lineup as well as Pekka Rinne, it will be a nice test for this Jackets' offense. Strength meets strength.

Sergei Bobrovsky got the work in the starter's net this morning, so we expect him to start, though we might see Curtis McElhinney get some time as well since Bob went the distance on Saturday and looked very good.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets 
('13-'14: 42-35-5, 89 Points; 5th division, 11th conference)

Brandon Saad Ryan Johansen Nick Foligno
Scott Hartnell Alexander Wennberg Cam Atkinson
Matt Calvert Gregory Campbell David Clarkson
Kerby Rychel Michael Chaput Jared Boll
Ryan Murray David Savard
Kevin Connauton Dalton Prout
Justin Falk Cody Goloubef
Dean Kukan
Sergei Bobrovsky
Curtis McElhinney

Nashville Predators
('13-'14: 47-25-10, 104 Points; 2nd Division, 3rd Conference)

(Note: This is the Preds' entire roster, 28-strong. Nothing at press time about their lines for tonight, yet.)

FORWARDS
9 Filip Forsberg
11 Cody Hodgson
12 Mike Fisher
15 Craig Smith
16 Cody Bass
18 James Neal
19 Calle Jarnkrok
21 Steve Moses
24 Eric Nystrom
28 Paul Gaustad
33 Colin Wilson
38 Viktor Arvidsson
45 Jamie Devane
51 Austin Watson
57 Gabriel Bourque
63 Mike Ribeiro
84 Colton Sissons

DEFENSE
2 Anthony Bitetto
3 Seth Jones
4 Ryan Ellis
5 Barret Jackman
6 Shea Weber
14 Mattias Ekholm
59 Roman Josi
64 Victor Bartley

GOALIES
1 Juuse Saros
30 Carter Hutton
35 Pekka Rinne