This could be just what the doctor ordered. Not that a win would get this team closer to the playoffs, but it would make us all feel pretty good. We all know how much success the Nashville Predators have had against the Columbus Blue Jackets in recent memory. Here's a hint: the most success.
The Jackets are coming off a 6-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, which is even more encouraging. However, the team is squarely in the middle of a playoff race in the Metropolitan division, and are going to claw for every single point they can possibly get. Even though the career stats look it, this is not going to be an easy game to win.
|Columbus Blue Jackets||Nashville Predators|
|5-on-5 Close SF/60||28.3||22nd||29.7||14th|
|5-on-5 Close SA/60||27.9||10th||27.1||4th|
|5-on-5 Close Save %||.919||22nd||.904||29th|
|# of PP's/Gm||3.38||13th||3.08||27th|
|# of PK's/Gm||3.56||23rd||3.05||3rd|
The Columbus Blue Jackets
There is one name in Columbus that the Predators aren't familiar with: Nathan Horton. The 28-year-old came back from major shoulder surgery and has been instrumental in making Columbus' first line one of the most dynamic in the league. Horton has only played eight games against the Predators, but has scored six points against them. He's been helping Ryan Johansen (who has shattered his previous scoring record) and Boone Jenner (same, but he's a rookie) thrive on the first line.
With a forward corps supported by Brandon Dubinsky, Nick Foligno, and Cam Atkinson, the Blue Jackets have found themselves as a top 10 offensive team. They're currently scoring 2.87 goals a game.
Couple that with the great play of Sergei Bobrovsky, and it gives Columbus a serious chance to make the postseason for only the second time in franchise history. The Metro is a dogfight right now, but they are more worried about the teams ahead of them (New York and Philadelphia) then they are the teams behind them (Washington and New Jersey). Still, they aren't going to roll over tonight just because Nashville has a penchant for destroying them on the scoreboard.
The Nashville Predators
There isn't a whole lot to be said about this squad that hasn't been said already. They are about to miss the playoffs for the second-straight season, and are still adjusting to life without David Legwand. Personally, while I think it doesn't make much sense to call up all of the forward prospects in Milwaukee, they should definitely give some of them a look for a few games at a time. At this point in the season, the organization needs to start showcasing the players in the pipeline that could be helping them down the road.
So I'm curious: short of a coaching/management change, what do you all want to see done in the last 19 games of the season?
It's been so long since I've written a game preview, I almost forgot to write something witty and catchy to tell you the game starts at 7 p.m. CST on FS-TN tonight. Wait, did I do that right?