Of the 72 times the Nashville Predators and Columbus Blue Jackets took to the ice against each other in Ye Olde Central, the Predators were victorious in 50 of them. As another Central team that bounced to the East, the Jackets are looking to start the cross-conference rivalry on the right foot by sticking it to their old familiar foes tonight.
For the scoop on all things Blue Jackets, spend some quality time over at The Cannon today.
|Nashville Predators||Columbus Blue Jackets|
|5-on-5 Close SF/60||29.0||17th||25.6||27th|
|5-on-5 Close SA/60||29.6||15th||30.0||17th|
|5-on-5 Close Save %||.922||15th||.920||19th|
|# of PP's/Gm||3.17||26th||3.50||13th|
|# of PK's/Gm||3.29||11th||3.13||8th|
The Columbus Blue Jackets
The Jackets, like the Predators, thought their season was going to go a bit better than it has. After just narrowly missing the playoffs last year, despite a fantastic push, Columbus was hoping to build off that momentum. With the reigning Trophy winner backstopping the club, it wasn't ludicrous for fans of the team to have some optimism. However, the team has been a middle-of-the-pack or worse in most categories, and Sergei Bobrovsky has been mortal, at best. He's sporting a .907 SV% with a 2.79 GAA. Not the kind of follow up Lumbus fans were hoping for.
The good news is, that thanks to the epic suck of the Metro, the BJs are only three points out of the third playoff spot. The bad news is half of their team (give or take) is broken. Marian Gaborik and Brandon Dubinsky are on the IR, Jared Boll missed Monday's game, Artem Anisimov left the same game and Nathan Horton hasn't even put on a Jackets jersey yet. Luckily, 21-year-old Ryan Johansen, is having what could be a career year. In 24 games, Johansen has notched 16 points (second on the team) which is getting close to his career high of 21. He only needs two more goals to set a personal best in that category.
The Nashville Predators
How about that Marek Mazanec kid, huh? He has ever so quietly cemented himself as the starter in Rinne's absence, and has looked superb doing it. My fear is how the rigors of a full NHL workload are going to wear on him as time drags on. Remember, this is his first time in the league and he has made seven starts in a row. It may be time to get Carter Hutton in goal for a minute, just so Mazanec doesn't run out of steam. Depending on how Rinne's next MRI goes (scheduled for December 5th), he may need it.
In the absence of Nashville MVP Patric Hornqvist, the team did quite well for themselves, at least for most of the game. Horny is out again tonight, along with fellow Swede Filip Forsberg. Maybe the team can be the Jekyll again tonight, rather than have hideous Mr. Hyde Show up. At this point, I just want to see entertaining games. It's one thing to lose a hockey game. It's another to be a completely impotent team that is boring and miserable to watch. Hopefully Lumbus can help in their own way: Nashville has +63 goal differential when playing the Jackets, and scores more than three goals a game, on average. Can you imagine?
The FS-TN feed comes back from the dead tonight at 6:00 p.m. CST.
More from On the Forecheck:
- Tuesday's Dump & Chase: Good Game Last Night; Bad Game Next?
- Nashville Predators 4, Phoenix Coyotes 2: Great Start, Lucky Finish
- Patric Hornqvist Injury: Out for Monday vs Phoenix, Hopefully Back Later This Week
- The Week Ahead for the Nashville Predators
- Central Division Breakdown: Contenders & Pretenders