NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, January 26th (All times eastern)
Nashville Predators (29-19-3) at Columbus Blue Jackets (20-25-9), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Nashville Predators hope tonight's matchup against the last-place Blue Jackets will help them avoid their longest losing streak in over three months, as the Central Division foes battle at Nationwide Arena in Columbus.
The Predators, who are second in the Central with 61 points, have lost three in a row on the heels of a three-game winning streak. Nashville hasn't dropped four straight since a six-game slide from October 10-21.
Meanwhile, Columbus has lost five of its last seven games and has a dreadful 8-19-7 record over its last 34 games. The Blue Jackets are last in the division with 49 points and are second-from-last in the Western Conference.
Nashville has won all four meetings against the lowly Blue Jackets this year and has taken five straight and six out of seven overall in the series. The Preds have also come out on top in both meetings at Columbus this year, but the Blue Jackets have won four of the last seven encounters at Nationwide Arena.
The Predators are coming off Friday's close loss in Denver as Craig Anderson made 29 saves to help the Colorado Avalanche edge Nashville, 2-1, at Pepsi Center.
Cody Franson had a power-play goal for the Predators, while Pekka Rinne stopped 21-of-23 shots in defeat.
Nashville appeared to tie the game with 7:31 left in regulation, but a questionable goaltender interference penalty on Predators sniper Patric Hornqvist wiped out the goal.
"It's a hard situation. Sometimes the referee calls it, sometimes he does not," Hornqvist explained. "This is a tough (loss) for the team. We played well, but took too many penalties."
The Predators have lost the first two tests on a four-game road trip that ends Friday in Detroit. Nashville has a 15-9-2 record as the guest this year.
Columbus last played on Saturday in Minnesota and wrapped a three-game road trip with a 4-2 loss. Mikko Koivu scored two goals to help the Wild defeat the Blue Jackets at Xcel Energy Center.
Rick Nash and Antoine Vermette scored for the Blue Jackets, while Steve Mason stopped 24 shots in a losing effort. The Wild had staked themselves to a 4-0 edge before Nash and Vermette scored in the final minute.
"Obviously, we set ourselves back early in the game and we find ourselves having to fight back for the rest of it," said Mason. "That's not the way we want to start hockey games."
Tonight marks the first of two straight on home ice for Columbus, which is 11-8-5 as the host this year. The Blue Jackets will welcome Los Angeles to town on Thursday.
01/26 10:39:23 ET