The Nashville Predators closeout a five-game home stand against a former division-rival, the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Tonight’s game is the second and final meeting between the two clubs, the Predators (26-27-10) won the previous clash 4-0. When Nashville shutout the Blue Jackets (32-26-5) earlier this season, the Predators were in the middle of one their better stretches of the season.
A dominant win by the Predators certainly seems like a thing of the distant past for the club, the team is on a three-game skid and has only scored one goal in each of those contests. Will the scoring touch return to the home team tonight?
What to watch for in tonight’s contest:
- Multiple goals for Nashville: The Predators have not scored two five-on-five goals in a game since February 6th. The club has done a fair job at limiting the chances of some of the NHL’s top squads, but unable to cash in on their own opportunities either, the Predators have only mustered one win over their last seven games. The Jackets have allowed eight goals in their previous two games, so the Predators new-look lineup has a decent chance at finally depositing more than a single puck into their opponent’s net.
- Rinne’s first win in a while: Goaltender Pekka Rinne returned to Nashville’s net two games ago after missing the last four months with a hip infection. The netminder has performed admirably against two of the most dynamic teams in the NHL (St. Louis Blues and Pittsburgh Penguins), but has still lost both of his starts. If Rinne can continue to make the awe-inspiring saves he has recently, he may be in line to shutdown the less-intimidating lineup of the Blue Jackets.
- Push for the playoffs: Columbus has only qualified for the postseason once in their franchise’s history. Two points behind the Detroit Red Wings for the Eastern Conference’s final Wild Card spot, a strong stretch for the Blue Jackets over their final 19 games should be enough to make the big dance. In order to catch the Wings or Tampa Bay Lightning, the Jackets will need to pick up two points over teams, “they are supposed to beat.” Even though the Predators got the better of them last time, the Jackets are regarded as the favorite in tonight’s contest.
Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m. (CST) at Bridgestone Arena.