NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, December 1st
(All times eastern)
Nashville Predators (10-8-5) at Columbus Blue Jackets (14-8-0), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Columbus Blue Jackets will try to rebound from a rough
weekend when they host the Nashville Predators for tonight's Central Division
battle at Nationwide Arena.
The Blue Jackets did not fare well against another divisional opponent this
past weekend, as they were swept by Detroit in a home-and-home series. The Red
Wings won both games in regulation, posting a 2-1 victory Friday in Ohio
before returning to the Motor City for Sunday's 4-2 decision.
Columbus entered the home-and-home tied with the Red Wings for first in the
Central, but is currently six points behind Detroit.
The Blue Jackets are also just three points ahead of last-place Nashville in
the Central, but Columbus took an early lead in the season series by posting a
2-0 win over the Predators a few weeks ago at Nationwide Arena. That victory,
which came on Nov. 22, was just the second for Columbus in the last eight
meetings between the clubs.
However, Nashville has lost five of seven and six of its last nine at
Nationwide Arena. The Blue Jackets are 6-6-0 overall as the host this season.
The Blue Jackets held a 1-0 lead in Sunday's game against Detroit, but Niklas
Kronwall and Darren Helm scored 14 seconds apart in the second period to give
the Red Wings the lead for good.
Derick Brassard and R.J. Umberger lit the lamp for the Blue Jackets, who had a
five-game winning streak halted by the Red Wings on Friday in Columbus. Steve
Mason stopped 38 shots in defeat.
"They played good both games (of the home-and-home)," said Umberger. "The
difference is this time they were in their building. They were completely
energized all night."
Umberger extended his point streak to nine games with his goal on Sunday, but
also saw his club-record assist streak end at eight games. The 28-year-old
forward has five goals and four assists in 15 career games against Nashville.
The Blue Jackets are expecting to have forward Ethan Moreau back in the lineup
tonight for the first time since Oct. 20. Moreau suffered a broken right hand
in a game against Anaheim, but has declared himself ready to play. The veteran
winger has one goal and one assists in five games this season.
Columbus defenseman Marc Methot, however, has missed the last three games for
the Blue Jackets and expected to sit out again tonight.
The Predators ended a four-game slide Tuesday with a shutout victory over the
visiting Phoenix Coyotes. Pekka Rinne stopped all 33 shots he faced for his
third shutout of the season in the 3-0 win over the Coyotes.
Shea Weber and Cal O'Reilly notched man-advantage scores for the Predators,
who posted an 0-2-2 record over their previous four games. Steve Sullivan
added a pair of assists.
"It was good to get a goal early on the power play," Nashville head coach
Barry Trotz said. "I thought early our power play was moving the puck really
Preds forward David Legwand missed his sixth straight game with a lower-body
injury and is not expected to be ready to play until Saturday's game against
Carolina at the earliest.
Nashville is 6-7-0 as the visiting team this year and has lost its last two
12/01 10:47:04 ET