Columbus Blue Jackets @ Nashville Predators Preview: Playoffs?


7:00 CT | Radio: 102.9 FM | TV: Sports South

As former Indianapolis Colts Coach Jim Mora once said:

 

And that's exactly what will be on the line for the Nashville Predators when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight at Bridgestone Arena. The Preds can capture the franchise's 6th playoff birth in 7 years if collect just a point. But of course, they'll be hungry for more.

Nashville is still in the hunt for home-ice advantage, and they aren't getting any help from the rest of the Western Conference. Predators captain and Norris Trophy candidate Shea Weber said, "Teams that need to win are winning. We can't rely on anyone else. We have to focus on (today) and winning that game." [The Tennessean] For Nashville to get home-ice, they need to win tonight, and tomorrow in St. Louis, and have Los Angeles drop at least a point in their final two contests against Anaheim. It all starts tonight at the Tire Barn, however, where the Predators need to come away with the 2 points.

To say the Predators have owned the Blue Jackets would be a bit of an understatement. The Predators hold a 16 game home winning streak over Columbus, a streak that dates back to Nov. 18, 2006 and is the longest active home winning streak against one team in the NHL. They also own the all time series lead at 43-14-1-4. This season, the Blue Jackets are already eliminated from playoff contention. They've lost 3 in a row, and are 1-5-3 in their previous 9 contests.

By all accounts, Nashville should win tonight's game. They're the hot team, at home, fighting for playoff positioning, going up against a struggling side out of the playoffs that they've played well against historically. It's simply a matter of putting it all together for 60 minutes, something Nashville has struggled with as of late.

Follow after the jump for a quick note about a Preds meetup, injury news from both teams, and projected lineups:

The Predators will be hosting their final meet-up of the regular season tomorrow night and want you to come out!

Via the team's Facebook Page:

We will meet next to the inflatable hockey player, talk hockey, meet other fans, and get the rowdiest 7th Man in the NHL ready to go for the game vs Columbus.

Plaza Party starts at 4 PM, and our meetup will start at 6. See you there!

For more information, check out the team's Facebook Event.

Projected Lineups:

Nashville:

Per Cooper, Erat is questionable tomorrow, and we may see Steve Sullivan back on the ice for the first time since late February in his place. O'Reilly has been skating, but isn't expected to return to the lineup just yet.


Pekka Rinne

#35 / Goalie / Nashville Predators

6-5

207

Nov 03, 1982



GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2010 - Pekka Rinne 62 3670 32 21 131 2.14 1835 1704 .929 6

Kostitsyn - Fisher - Hornqvist
Ward - Legwand - Erat/Sullivan
Tootoo - Smithson - Spaling
Halischuk - Geoffrion - Wilson

Weber - Suter 
Blum - Klein
Franson - O'Brien

Columbus:

Rick Nash, struggling through a "lingering back injury" will be out for the rest of the seasonSteve Mason is also expected to start in net.


Steve Mason

#1 / Goalie / Columbus Blue Jackets

6-4

211

May 29, 1988



GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2010 - Steve Mason 52 2908 24 19 144 2.97 1486 1342 .903 3


Umberger-Brassard-Voracek
Calvert-Vermette-Murray
Upshall-Pahlsson-Dorsett
Clark-MacKenzie-Boll

Tyutin-Lepisto
Methot-Clitsome
Rivet-Stralman

Let's go get a win. I don't know about you, but I'm ready for some playoff hockey.
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