Nashville Predators vs Columbus Blue Jackets Preview: Here Comes Gaborik

Bruce Bennett

Team-level stats and the main story lines ahead of tonight's Central Division battle.

The Stats

Columbus Blue Jackets Nashville Predators
Record 15-14-7 20th 15-14-8 18th
GF/Game 2.31 30th 2.43 22nd
GA/Game 2.58 13th 2.54 11th
5-on-5 SF/60 24.3 30th 25.1 29th
5-on-5 SA/60 30.0 22nd 26.0 5th
Fenwick Close 44.52 29th 47.31 23rd
5-on-5 Save % .916 18th .921 14th
5-on-4 GF/60 4.3 28th 6.4 15th
# of PP's/Gm 3.56 10th 3.135 24th
4-on-5 GA/60 4.2 3rd 8.0 27th
# of PK's/Gm 3.11 5th 3.14 7th

The Blue Jackets are very much a work in progress, getting out-shot and out-scored consistently. Yes, they've been more competitive this season than has been typical of their history, but they still have a long ways to go.

So far this season the Preds have gone 1-1-1 against Columbus, with the most recent match coming on March 23, a 5-2 Predators triumph at Bridgestone Arena.

Columbus Blue Jackets

Fans in Columbus are justifiably excited over yesterday's trades, and they'll get a chance to watch their shiny new toy tonight as Marian Gaborik is expected to make his debut for the Blue Jackets.


Marian Gaborik

#10 / Right Wing / Columbus Blue Jackets

6-1

204

Feb 14, 1982



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG
SOG PCT
2012 - Marian Gaborik 35 9 10 19 -8 8 1 0 4 113 8.0

What may have been bigger for Columbus, however, was getting rid of Steve Mason in goal, clearing the decks for Sergei Bobrovsky to carry the load down the stretch. Yes, the Predators ran him from the game back on March 23rd, but he still ranks 2nd in the NHL in save percentage these days:


Sergei Bobrovsky

#72 / Goalie / Columbus Blue Jackets

6-2

190

Sep 20, 1988



GP MIN W L OTL GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2012 - Sergei Bobrovsky 26 1490 12 8 6 53 2.13 730 677 .927 3

Currently, the Jackets sit one point behind Nashville in the standings, but hold a game in hand - a regulation victory tonight would give them a leg up on a hated rival in their final season here in the Central Division.

Nashville Predators

Yesterday's moves leave the Predators with 21 players on the Active Roster, which includes Gabriel Bourque and Mike Fisher, who haven't skated recently due to injuries. Unless Fisher is ready to go, the Preds may need to recall Chris Mueller from Milwaukee in order to fill out the lines.

Of course, the next question is how those lines will look, and who steps into the top spot vacated by Martin Erat. One trio which may be building some momentum is that of Taylor Beck-David Legwand-Patric Hornqvist, which had a big game Tuesday night against Colorado. Legwand's effort lifted him into the team scoring lead, and with a history of solid production against the Blue Jackets (45 points in 59 career games vs Columbus), Nashville will look to Leggy to drive their playoff push:


David Legwand

#11 / Center / Nashville Predators

6-2

204

Aug 17, 1980



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG
SOG PCT
2012 - David Legwand 37 10 11 21 2 18 2 0 2 60 16.7

Make sure to come back for more on tonight's game ahead of the 7:00 p.m. puck drop at Bridgestone Arena...

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