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Game #19 Preview: Back in Business

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Oh, yeah, and the Jackets play the Predators again

Nashville Predators v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images

Saturday, February 20, 2021 - 7:00 EST
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, Ohio
TV: Fox Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: On The Forecheck

Nashville Predators (6-10-0, 12 points, 7th Central)

vs.

Columbus Blue Jackets (8-6-4, 20 points, 5th Central)

Well, here we are again, chums. They changed the locks (as they should!) but I’ve been working on the Peloton for months now and I am trim enough to squeeze through the doggy door. With Elaine heading off to new and exciting adventures, I’ve been called up from the taxi squad and am absolutely taking TOI away from some unknown, young player with greater upside. I won’t apologize. I’ve paid my dues.

Let’s see if I still know how to write these things.

The Columbus Blue Jackets have played 18 games this season and I’ve watched two of them. Thursday’s victory over the Nashville Predators was not one of those two games. I could read Rachel’s recap — but I don’t need to.

I see a 3 - nil score box. I see Elvis Merzlikins was in net. I see Cam Atkinson scored (luck!). So did the new 1C Max Domi. He’s not the new 1C? Ah. Well. Anyway, shut out! That’s what counts.

The Columbus Jackets won two days ago. Not much has happened since - which is apparently a bit of a rarity this season. I’m writing this preview on Friday night because toddlers demand attention during daytime hours, but I hope this is out of date by puck drop. It might be that Alexandre Texier, or Martel to those in the know, might be out after taking a puck off the foot. Had it been a little higher on his leg, it would have ended his adventuring days, but missing a game is bad enough.

Here, I’m supposed to talk about the Predators. They are not very good this year. Interestingly enough, when comparing their stats (from the pretty table below) to the last time the CBJ played Nashville last season — both teams are performing almost exactly the same as last season. The only differences? Nashville’s 5 on 5 shooting percentage is worse and Columbus’ 5 on 5 save percentage is A LOT worse. What does this mean? That Nashville wasn’t very good last year either and that the CBJ allow more goals 5 on 5 this year.

Player to Watch

Cam Atkinson

Hahahah! You all know how I operate. Atkinson started the season off slowly with 5 points in 13 games. Just as well that I wasn’t around to comment on that. Perhaps he sensed that I was coming through that door and picked up his game. Now he’s on a hot streak - 5-4-9 in his last 5 games! Yeah, some were fluky. Maybe some were cherry picked. The points still count and there’s something to be said for making your own luck. This has to continue just so I don’t have to write about him cratering or turning back into an anchor or something.

Potentially Interesting Jackets Notes

David Savard has had a rough season and did not practice on Friday. He might be a scratch, but it may be more due to injury (the man blocks a lot of shots) than a benching due to poor play. The commentariat have been clamoring for a new face on the defensive pairings. Chances are increasing that it will happen against Nashville.

Possible Lines

Columbus Blue Jackets
Patrik Laine Jack Roslovic Cam Atkinson
Mikhail Grigorenko Kevin Stenlund Oliver Bjorkstrand
Sonny Mil...Emil Bemstrom Nick Foligno Boone Jenner
Eric Robinson Riley Nash Max Domi
Vladislav Gavrikov Seth Jones
Michael Del Zotto Andrew Peeke
Gabriel Carlsson Scott Harrington
Joonas Korpisalo
Elvis Merzlikins
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

Stats

Nashville Columbus
3.07 (16) GPG 2.57 (27)
3.10 (21) GAPG 2.61 (3)
17.3% (T-24) PP% 16.4% (27)
76.1% (29) PK% 81.7% (12)
50.9% (10) 5v5 Corsi % 49.2% (19)
51.6% (5) 5v5 Fenwick % 50.9% (11)
8.6 (12) 5v5 Shot % 6.8 (28)
.916 (21) 5v5 Save % .911 (25)
Filip Forsberg, 7 G Leader Josh Anderson, 9
Filip Forsberg, 7 A Leader Oliver Bjorkstrand, 9
Filip Forsberg, 14 P Leader Cam Atkinson, 14
Mark Borowiecki, 29 PIM Leader Oliver Hanson, 23
1-6-0 Home / Road 5-2-2
3-7-0 Last 10 5-4-1