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Game #18 Preview: Jackets try to right the ship against Predators

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What will the Blue Jackets do for an encore?

Columbus Blue Jackets v Nashville Predators Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images

Thursday, February 18, 2021 - 7:00 EST
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
TV: Fox Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: On The Forecheck

Nashville Predators (6-9-0, 12 points, 7th Central)

vs.

Columbus Blue Jackets (7-6-4, 18 points, 5th Central)

Following their embarrassing 7-3 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, the Columbus Blue Jackets return home to face the Nashville Predators tonight and on Saturday night.

The Predators haven’t played since last Saturday’s 4-2 loss at home to the Detroit Red Wings after having both games in Dallas postponed due to Covid protocols.

Player to Watch

Kevin Stenlund

Kevin Stenlund has six points (three goals, three assists) in six games this season — the only game he didn’t have a point was last Saturday night at the Blackhawks.

As discussed on the recent The Cannon Cast, the retirement of Mikko Koivu might just be the springboard for Stenlund’s regular accession into the starting lineup.

Jackets Notes

Stefan Matteau was sent back to the Taxi Squad following his brief call-up for Monday’s game against the Hurricanes in which he played 12 minutes and 16 shifts.

Zach Werenski was out of the lineup on Monday, could he be back for the upcoming games against the Predators? Maybe not.

The Blue Jackets have the first goal in 13 of 17 games this season and are 5-4-4 when scoring first. ... Columbus has outscored opponents in the first period 21-10, but have been badly outscored 26-9 in the second period, 20-19 in the third period, and 3-0 in overtime. ... Columbus is 5-1-0 in one-goal games. ... Seth Jones didn’t record a point in Monday’s game which snapped a career-high six-game point streak (one goal, six assists). ... Elvis Merzlikins will make the start for the Blue Jackets tonight, his first start since Jan. 31 at the Blackhawks. ... He appeared in relief of Joonas Korpisalo on Monday allowing two goals, and against the Dallas Stars on Feb. 2 stopping all nine shots faced.

The Other Bench

Nashville is 4-9-0 since starting the season with consecutive home wins against the Blue Jackets. They are currently just one point over the Central Division basement’s Detroit Red Wings as they look to right their own ship. ... The big guns, including Mattias Ekholm, is out on a week-to-week basis with an undisclosed injury. ... Ryan Johansen, Mathieu Oliver, Brad Richardson, and Luca Sbisa are all out (upper body). ... Pekka Rinne is 3-5-0 this season (2.74 GAA, .907%) while Juuse Saros is 3-4-0 (3.66, .880%). ... This is Nashville’s first game at Nationwide Arena since Jan. 10, 2019, which the Blue Jackets won 4-3 in overtime.

Season Series

01/14/2021 CBJ 1 @ NSH 3
01/16/2021 CBJ 2 @ NSH 5
02/18/2021 NSH @ CBJ
02/20/2021 NSH @ CBJ
02/27/2021 CBJ @ NSH
02/28/2021 CBJ @ NSH
05/03/2021 NSH @ CBJ
05/05/2021 NSH @ CBJ

Stats

Nashville Columbus
2.33 (28) GPG 2.88 (18)
3.47 (25) GAPG 3.47 (25)
14.6% (23) PP% 15.6% (22)
67.8% (30) PK% 73.0% (28)
51.7% (9) 5v5 Shot Attempt % 47.0% (28)
52.4% (7) 5v5 Unblocked shot attempt % 47.7% (27)
6.6 (26) 5v5 Shot % 8.8 (12)
.916 (21) 5v5 Save % .904 (27)
Filip Forsberg, 7 G Leader Cam Atkinson, 6
Filip Forsberg, 7 A Leader Oliver Bjorkstrand, 9
Filip Forsberg, 14 P Leader Cam Atkinson, Oliver Bjorkstrand, 13
Mark Borowiecki, 29 PIM Leader Oliver Bjorkstrand, 23
1-5-0 Home / Road 4-2-2
4-6-0 Last 10 5-4-1

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
Patrik Laine Jack Roslovic Cam Atkinson
Mikhail Grigorenko Kevin Stenlund Oliver Bjorkstrand
Boone Jenner Alexandre Texier Nick Foligno
Eric Robinson Riley Nash Max Domi
Vladislav Gavrikov Seth Jones
Scott Harrington David Savard
Michael Del Zotto Andrew Peeke
Elvis Merzlikins
Joonas Korpisalo
Nashville Predators
Filip Forsberg Luke Kunin Viktor Arvidsson
Calle Jarnkrok Matt Duchene Mikael Granlund
Nick Cousins Erik Haula Eeli Tolvanen
Yakov Trenin Colton Sissons Rocco Grimaldi
Roman Josi Ryan Ellis
Jarred Tinordi Dante Fabbro
Mark Borowiecki Matt Benning
Pekka Rinne
Juuse Saros