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Game #53 Preview: Jackets take on Preds to start final homestand of season

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The Blue Jackets look to play spoiler against an old rival.

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Nashville Predators Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Monday, May 3, 2021 - 7pm ET
Nationwide Arena - Columbus Ohio
TV: Bally Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s blog: On The Forecheck

Nashville Predators (28-22-2, 58 points, 4th Central)
vs.
Columbus Blue Jackets (16-25-11, 43 points, 8th Central)

With four games remaining this season, the Blue Jackets return home to take on the Nashville Predators. The Predators have taken five of the first six matchups, and need to pick up some more points to fend off Dallas for the final playoff spot in the Central. The Blue Jackets have played better as of late, picking up points in their previous three games (1-0-2) and will look to finish the season strong and maybe play spoiler to the Preds’ playoff dreams.

Player to Watch

Emil Bemstrom

Bemmer made his way back into the lineup this weekend after a six week absence due to a lower body injury. Prior to his injury he had been playing much better and was more noticeable even if he wasn’t scoring. Ever since he hit that post on the open net in the playoffs last year, he’s had zero confidence. I’m rooting hard for this guy to put a few in the net before the season ends just to give him something to feel good about heading into the offseason (and final year of his contract.) Nobody personifies this team’s offensive struggles better than Emil Bemstrom: Lots of potential, but no results.

Jackets Notes

Where is Kevin Stenlund? Every time I see a lineup posted that is missing #11 I am enraged. Are they trying to keep him under the radar for the expansion draft, or is he not seen as a part of the future? There are usually lineup decisions that we don’t agree with as fans, but to me this one is indefensible. For this is valuable development time, and it’s being wasted on journeymen and career minor leaguers.

Aaron Portzline put out a very interesting article this morning about the perception of the city, coach and general manager from a few players who have worn the Union Blue and have since moved on. It was nothing too earth shattering in terms of new information, as it was largely what most fans would assume, but it does hurt a bit to hear it directly from the source (even if the players were anonymous.)

The Other Bench

The Predators are coming off a HUGE win Saturday night in which they defeated the Dallas Stars 1-0 in overtime. Nashville now controls their own playoff destiny as the Stars cannot catch the Preds in terms of max possible points, so the Predators will definitely be bringing their best into Nationwide. The Predators turnaround this season has been remarkable. They were left for dead earlier this season and GM David Poile had essentially made everyone on his team not named Roman Josi or Pekka Rinne available. Only a couple months ago their playoff chances were at 2%, and now headed into the final few games of the year that number is at 91%. No doubt will they be looking to push that closer to 100% with a couple wins in Columbus.

Season Series

01/14/2021 CBJ 1 @ NSH 3
01/16/2021 CBJ 2 @ NSH 5
02/18/2021 NSH 0 @ CBJ 3
02/20/2021 NSH 4 @ CBJ 2
02/27/2021 CBJ 1 @ NSH 2
02/28/2021 CBJ 1 @ NSH 3

Stats

Nashville Columbus
2.63 (22) GPG 2.31 (29)
2.81 (14) GAPG 3.25 (26)
17.7% (25) PP% 14.4% (29)
75.2% (29) PK% 80% (14)
49.8% (15) 5v5 Shot Attempt % 46.47% (29)
50.5% (13) 5v5 Unblocked shot attempt % 47% (27)
7.92 (18) 5v5 Shot % 7.1 (30)
.935 (2) 5v5 Save % .911 (26)
Mikael Granlund, 13 G Leader Oliver BJORKSTRAND, 15
Roman Josi, 25 A Leader Oliver BJORKSTRAND, 24
Roman Josi, 31 P Leader Oliver BJORKSTRAND, 39
Mathieu Olivier, 68 PIM Leader Max Domi, 73
12-12-2 Home / Road 9-8-7
6-3-1 Last 10 1-6-3

Projected Lines

Columbus Blue Jackets
Eric Robinson Max Domi Oliver BJORKSTRAND
Liam Foudy Alexandre Texier Cam Atkinson
Mikhail Grigorenko Jack Roslovic Patrik Laine
Nathan Gerbe Ryan MacInnis Stefan Matteau
Michael Del Zotto Seth Jones
Vladislav Gavrikov Mikko Lehtonen
Gavin Bayreuther Dean Kukan
Elvis Merzlikins
Matiss Kivlenieks
Nashville Predators
Filip Forsberg Ryan Johansen Eeli Tolvanen
Calle Jarnkrok Mikael Granlund Luke Kunin
Brad Richardson Erik Haula Matt Duchene
Yakov Trenin Colton Sissons Tanner Jeannot
Roman Josi Ryan Ellis
Mattias Ekholm Alexandre Carrier
Erik Gudbranson Matt Benning
Juuse Saros
Pekka Rinne