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Nashville Predators @ Columbus Blue Jackets Preview: End of the Road

Tonight at 6:00 p.m. Central (on FS-TN), the Nashville Predators will wrap up a disappointing 2013 NHL Regular Season. One more loss, however, might actually lead to happier days ahead.

Frederick Breedon

The Stats

Nashville Predators Columbus Blue Jackets
Record 16-22-9 27th 23-17-7 17th
GF/Game 2.30 29th 2.38 25th
GA/Game 2.77 20th 2.43 11th
5-on-5 SF/60 25.5 29th 24.8 30th
5-on-5 SA/60 27.0 6th 30.0 22nd
Fenwick Close 46.30 25th 45.05 26th
5-on-5 Save % .914 17th .927 9th
5-on-4 GF/60 6.0 15th 4.3 30th
# of PP's/Gm 2.98 27th 3.25 18th
4-on-5 GA/60 8.1 27th 5.4 8th
# of PK's/Gm 2.91 3rd 3.06 6th

The Predators are 1-2-1 against Columbus so far this season, but check out the all-time record: 50 wins, 16 losses, 1 tie and 6 overtime/shootout losses. We'll sure miss those losers...

Columbus Blue Jackets

The fact that this bunch of skaters is close to a playoff berth is probably Sergei Bobrovsky's best argument for Hart Trophy consideration. They get out-shot worse than the Predators do and have trouble scoring on the power play, but goaltending has been their salvation.

Sergei Bobrovsky

#72 / Goalie / Columbus Blue Jackets



Sep 20, 1988

2012 - Sergei Bobrovsky 37 2159 20 11 6 73 2.03 1064 991 .931 4

This game is hugely important for the Blue Jackets, as they sit in 9th place currently but have the opportunity to pass Detroit and/or Minnesota to sneak into the playoffs. That would make for one heckuva story, after the team traded away Rick Nash last summer and swapped out their front office.

How many Preds fans would rather see the BJ's make the post-season than the Red Wings or Wild? Quite a few, judging by the conversation in the comments here and on Twitter in recent days.

Nashville Predators

You know, I'm really coming around to the idea of just how important it is that the Predators lose this game. Thanks to a win last night by Colorado, there's an outside chance that the Preds could line up for the second overall pick, pending the outcome of the Draft Lottery on April 29.

As of this writing, the Predators are set for the 4th pick, with the Tampa Bay Lightning one point behind them, and the Avalanche two. Both of those teams would take the tiebreakers to move ahead of Nashville if they end up with the same number of points.

As far as today's game goes, we'll get one more look at Filip Forsberg, who was called back up from Milwaukee yesterday, while Matt Halischuk is out with a shoulder injury. Unless they call another player up, they might skate a man short today, instead of dressing 20. It's rare, but it does happen on occasion in the NHL (in recent years New Jersey & Calgary did it due to salary cap issues).

UPDATE: Daniel Bang & Kevin Henderson have been recalled from Milwaukee in time for the game.

Chris Mason gets the start tonight, in what might well be his final NHL start. Let's hope the guys give him better support than they did at Detroit Thursday:

Chris Mason

#30 / Goalie / Nashville Predators



Apr 20, 1976

2012 - Chris Mason 10 408 1 6 1 27 3.97 183 156 .852 0

So... what are you looking for out of the season finale?