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Game Preview #37 – Joining The Battle

Columbus Blue Jackets at Nashville Predators

April 4, 2013 – 8:00pm EDT
Bridgestone Arena – Nashville, Tennessee
Radio – WBNS 97.1 – TV – Fox Sports Ohio
Opponents Blog: On the Forecheck
SBNation Game Page

Well, here we are! These two teams are neck-and-neck in the playoff race, and play each other twice more in these last 12 games (11 for Nashville). And, both teams look A LOT different this morning than they did yesterday.

For Columbus, we’ve covered it fairly extensively: no more Derick Brassard, John Moore, and Derek Dorsett; helloooo, Marian Gaborik! So long Steve Mason, helloooo ANYTHING NOT NAMED STEVE MASON! Welcome* Blake Comeau!
*When he clears immigration, that is

Of course, the former Blue Jackets went on to have a kick-ass night for the Rangers, so naturally we’ll cross our fingers and hope for the same from our newest addition. Either way, it’s a new day for Columbus, and our new GM is a total Roster Viking!

But what about Nashville? They, too made a couple of moves yesterday, one of which was also a bit of a surprise. The difference? They were short-term sellers. Lifetime Jackets tormentor Martin Erat is gone to Washington. The big shock? He ASKED to be traded. This is a team trying to make a playoff push. Also gone is Scott Hannan, though that move obviously doesn’t move the needle as much.

This Preds team is only slightly better at scoring than the Jackets are, and is as good on defense. Considering some of the injuries they’re battling, you would think they might take a flyer on adding some scoring. But, considering the Shea Weber and Pekka Rinne deals, they aren’t in a position to add salary. The Preds are at a bit of a crossroads, and it will be interesting to see how the final push shakes out between these two clubs, considering their opposite approaches on deadline day.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(15-14-7, 37 Points; 5th division, 11th conference)

R.J. Umberger Ryan Johansen Marian Gaborik
Matt Calvert Artem Anisimov Cam Atkinson
Vinny Prospal Brandon Dubinsky Mark Letestu
Colton Gillies Derek MacKenzie Nick Foligno

Fedor Tyutin Jack Johnson
Nikita Nikitin Dalton Prout
James Wisniewski Adrian Aucoin

Sergei Bobrovsky
Michael Leighton

Nashville Predators
(15-14-8, 38 Points; 4th Division, 10th Conference)

Sergei Kostitsyn Paul Gaustad Gabriel Bourque
Taylor Beck David Legwand Patric Hornqvist
Rich Clune Nick Spaling Matt Halischuk
Brandon Yip Craig Smith Bobby Butler

Roman Josi Shea Weber
Victor Bartley Kevin Klein
Hal Gill Jonathon Blum

Pekka Rinne
Chris Mason

Season Series

01/19/13 – Columbus 3 at Nashville 2 – SO
03/19/13 – Nashville 3 at Columbus 4
03/23/13 – Columbus 2 at Nashville 5
04/04/13 – Columbus at Nashville
04/27/13 – Nashville at Columbus

Head to Head

Nashville Columbus
2.43 (22) GPG 2.31 (30)
2.54 (11) GAPG 2.58 (13)
18.1% (16) PP% 13.3% (27)
77.6% (26) PK% 85.7% (5)
Gabriel Borque, 11 G leader Vinny Prospal, 10
Shea Weber, 14* A leader Fedor Tyutin, 14
David Legwand / Shea Weber, 21* Pts leader Vinny Prospal, 21
Richard Clune, 91 PIM leader Jared Boll, 86
10-3-4 Home/Road 4-10-2
4/2 vs Colorado, W 3-1 Last Game 3/31 vs Anaheim, W 2-1 (OT)
4-4-2 Last 10 5-2-3

*now that Martin Erat is gone Game Notes

  • So Long Marty – Well, we only get two games against the Preds before we switch to the East and start seeing him again, but Martin Erat’s career in Nashville against the Jackets looked like this: 57 games, 16G, 37A, 53P. I will not miss him these last two games.
  • Welcome Back, Nick and Dubi! – The reports are that Nick Foligno and Brandon Dubinsky will both be back tonight. Thank goodness for that nice three-day break which may have enabled the guys to get back sooner without missing more games. The addition of Gaborik and the departure of Brassard–combined with the injury to Boll–makes it easier for these guys to slot back in on lower lines, so as not to give them too much too soon. That said, it’ll be great to have them back. No disrespect to Sean Collins intended, but Foligno and Dubinsky both bring a little more to the table.

This is the kickoff of the final sprint to the finish line. Can the Jackets make it happen?