Whatever it was that woke Mike Fisher up, give him some more of it! (PHOTO: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports)

Gameday: Columbus Blue Jackets at Nashville Predators, 3/23/13

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS

at NASHVILLE PREDATORS

March 23rd, 2013
Bridgestone Arena
Nashville, Tennessee
7:00 p.m. CDT
TV: FOX Sports Tennessee
Columbus leads season series 2-0

The Nashville Predators have earned just one point in their two games against the Columbus Blue Jackets this season. Tonight is the third of five meetings between the soon-to-be-former division rivals.

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS

(13-12-6, 4th in Central)

NHL: Nashville Predators at Columbus Blue Jackets

Sergei Bobrovsky has earned his team a point in 11 straight starts. (PHOTO: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports)

Key players

Sergei Bobrovsky (11-6-5, 2.00 GAA, .932 SV%) has earned at least one point for Columbus in the standings in each of his last 11 starts. The last three have all been wins – a shutout of Phoenix and wins against Nashville and Calgary. It seems safe to say he’s settling into the starter’s role in Columbus pretty well.

Others to watch

NHL: Edmonton Oilers at Columbus Blue Jackets

Vinny Prospal is having another productive year at age 38. (PHOTO: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports)

Vinny Prospal (9G-9A) has been a consistent presence for the Blue Jackets this season, leading the team in scoring thanks in part to his three-assist performance earlier this week against the Nashville Predators.

Derick Brassard (5G-11A) has six points in his last nine games, including a goal against the Predators on Tuesday.

NASHVILLE PREDATORS

(12-13-6, 5th in Central)

Nashville finally broke its four-game losing streak behind it with a 5-3 win over the Calgary Flames on Thursday, but there’s still a very big mountain to climb if the team hopes to make the playoffs.

Key players

Pekka Rinne (11-10-5, 2.33, .911) finally broke his losing streak last time out against Calgary – but he still gave up two shorthanded goals and another on the power play.

Mike Fisher (9G-7A) has awakened from his slumber recently. He’s currently on a five-game point streak during which he has five goals and an assist. Two of those goals came against the Flames on Thursday night on assists from Martin Erat (4G-12A), with whom Barry Trotz reunited Fisher for the first time in a while.

Shea Weber (5G-13A) has 17 points in his last 18 games. His next point will tie him with Colin Wilson for the team lead.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Nashville Predators at Phoenix Coyotes

Hal Gill is back in action tonight for the first time since late February. (PHOTO: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports)

Others to watch

Defenseman Hal Gill is set to return to the lineup tonight after a 16-game absence dating back to February 24th. The Nashville penalty kill has been atrocious without the 6’7” veteran patrolling the blue line.

Bottom line

The Nashville Predators’ potential path to the playoffs requires points, and it requires them now. Every regulation loss the Predators take thins their chances of returning to the post-season. They’ll have to continue their recent trend of offensive competence – they have at least three goals in each of their last six games – to win against the red-hot Sergei Bobrovsky.

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Tags: Columbus Blue Jackets Nashville Predators

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