NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, March 23rd
(All times Eastern)
Columbus Blue Jackets (13-12-6) at Nashville Predators (12-13-6), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Nashville Predators will try to get some payback
against the surging Columbus Blue Jackets when the clubs meet for the second
time this week in Saturday's battle at Bridgestone Arena.
The Blue Jackets posted a 4-3 home win against the Predators on Tuesday and
then followed with a 5-1 rout of Calgary to extend their club-record point
streak to 12 games.
Friday's victory over the Flames was also the third consecutive win for
Columbus, which has pushed itself into playoff contention with an 8-0-4 record
during the streak. The Blue Jackets, who have made only one playoff appearance
in their history, enter Saturday tied with San Jose for the eighth and final
postseason berth in the Western Conference.
Columbus has won both meetings with the Predators this season after entering
this campaign on a four-game losing streak in the series. The win on Tuesday
was just the Blue Jackets' second in the past 10 meetings against Nashville
and Columbus has lost 19 of its last 21 tilts in Music City.
Nashville's recent setback in Columbus was the team's fourth straight loss --
all in regulation -- but the Preds halted the slide with Thursday's victory
over a visiting Calgary club.
Mike Fisher had two goals to help the Predators post a 5-3 win over the
Flames. Fisher has notched five goals over his last five games, giving him
nine markers on the season.
Martin Erat added a goal and two assists while Nick Spaling and Brandon Yip
also scored for the Predators. Pekka Rinne turned away 19 shots in the win.
"The most important thing is we got the two points," Erat said. "We had a
couple of bad mistakes the last three, four games, and it happens. It is a
long season and we bounced back today."
Nashville is currently tied with the Phoenix Coyotes for 11th place in the
West. Both teams have 30 points, leaving them two points shy of the eighth
The Blue Jackets capped a 3-0-2 homestand with Friday's triumph over the
Flames. Nick Foligno potted a pair of goals in a 51-second span as part of a
three-goal second stanza that helped the Columbus rout Calgary at Nationwide
Artem Anisimov capped the second-period flurry, while Jared Boll and Colton
Gillies also lit the lamp for the Blue Jackets, who haven't lost in regulation
since a setback to Chicago on Feb. 24.
"I think if you ask anybody in the hockey world they probably never would have
imagined this," Columbus coach Todd Richards said of his team's point streak.
"All we did was take it game-by-game."
Sergei Bobrovsky posted 24 saves to improve to 8-0-2 in his last 10 games.
The Russian netminder has started eight straight games and is likely to get
the call again on Saturday.
The Blue Jackets are not expected to have forward Brandon Dubinsky, who sat
out Friday's win with a lower body injury.
Columbus is kicking off a four-game road trip on Saturday and will also make
stops in Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary. The Blue Jackets are just 3-8-1 on
the road this season.
03/23 10:59:37 ET