NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Sunday, January 2nd
(All times eastern)
Columbus Blue Jackets (20-15-3) at Nashville Predators (18-13-6), 6 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Columbus Blue Jackets will shoot for a fourth straight
victory when they visit the Nashville Predators in tonight's Central Division
clash at Bridgestone Arena.
The Blue Jackets have won three consecutive tests, giving Columbus its first
winning streak since the club claimed five victories in a row from Nov. 17-24.
Scott Arniel's club was just 3-9-3 in the 15 games played between the two
Columbus will have to end a lengthy losing streak in the Music City tonight if
it wants to keep its current hot stretch going. The Blue Jackets have lost 14
straight in Nashville since last winning at Bridgestone Arena on April 3,
Nashville and the Blue Jackets have split a pair of games this year in
Columbus and the Predators have taken seven of nine and eight of the last 11
meetings in this series overall.
Columbus enters tonight with a one-point lead over Nashville in the division
standings. The Predators are currently last in the competitive Central
Division with 42 points, but they are still only 11 points behind first-place
The Blue Jackets were able to record a win in their latest game despite
blowing a three-goal lead. Columbus ultimately won Friday's home test over
Ottawa on Jakub Voracek's goal at 2:06 of overtime.
Columbus held a 3-0 lead near the end of the second period, but allowed Ottawa
to score three unanswered goals to force overtime.
Voracek somehow picked up a loose puck behind the Ottawa net in spite of two
Senators players, then took a stride in front and slid a shot through the pads
of Brian Elliott to end the contest.
R.J. Umberger, Samuel Pahlsson and Rick Nash also tallied for the Blue
Jackets, while Steve Mason made 35 stops for the win.
"It's a process. It isn't about just one game and being satisfied," Columbus
head coach Scott Arniel said about Mason's play. "Gradually you see confidence
again and that is the first step to him being a good goalie. He's done a good
job in the last three games."
Mason has started all three games on the current win streak and is expected to
get the call again tonight. He is 4-2-4 with a 2.33 goals-against average in
10 career games against Nashville.
Tonight marks the start of a four-game road trip for the Blue Jackets, who had
lost seven straight as the guest before picking up a win Thursday in Toronto.
Columbus is 9-6-2 as the visiting team this season.
The Predators ended a five-game losing streak their last time out as they
posted a decisive victory Friday in Minnesota. Pekka Rinne stopped 22-of-23
shots as Nashville downed the Wild, 4-1, at Xcel Energy Center.
Cody Franson, Patric Hornqvist and Joel Ward lit the lamp for the Predators,
who recorded their first win since posting a victory in New Jersey on Dec. 17.
"It was a real smart road game. We didn't let them get too excited about
anything," said Nashville head coach Barry Trotz. "It was a real solid effort
all around. We had a good mentality from the start, and those first two goals
gave us a real nice cushion."
The Predators will now try to halt a three-game home losing streak tonight.
Nashville, which will embark on a three-game road trip after this evening's
test, is 8-4-5 as the host this season.
01/02 11:08:46 ET