Nashville Predators: How They Can Continue Their Success over Columbus

Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Nick Foligno (71) battles for position against Nashville Predators defenseman Dante Fabbro (57) in the third period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Nick Foligno (71) battles for position against Nashville Predators defenseman Dante Fabbro (57) in the third period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

Just when it seemed like the Nashville Predators had turned the corner with brighter days ahead, they had their two-game winning streak snapped by the Red Wings. They now look to rebound against the Columbus Blue Jackets at home on Saturday.

The good news is the Predators have had success against Columbus this season. The bad news is we aren’t sure which Predators team will show up on Saturday.

This will be the fifth meeting of the season between these two teams, with the Predators taking three of the previous four games.

8-8-5 (21 Pts). 113. Saturday, Feb 27. 8-11-0 (16 Pts). 151. Columbus +107, Preds -127. 2 PM CDT. Fox Sports TN

The Predators and the Blue Jackets are very similar teams with familiar issues. Columbus is further up in the standings than Nashville due to their ability to take teams to overtime and pick up extra points.

The Predators desperately need the two points from this game but will still have tons of work to move up in the division. A win will still find the Predators several points away from the coveted fourth playoff spot.

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Columbus Looking For Wins

The Blue Jackets find themselves amid a three-game losing streak, including a loss to the Predators on February 20. They will be looking to make an example out of the Predators on Saturday.

The Blue Jackets may be getting desperate and hungry. They only have one win in their last six, which will be a motivating factor in the next two games against Nashville.

Columbus sits in the fifth spot in the standings and, despite recent losses, finds itself within striking distance of the top four spots. Their position means they will have to turn their fortunes around if they wish to stay near the top four.

The Blue Jackets will be bolstered by the elevated play of Cam Atkinson, who has four points in his last five games and is tied with Oliver Bjorkstrand in total points on the season.

Columbus will also be looking for huge games from the recently acquired Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic. Other than a three-point game against Chicago, Laine has been quiet, as has Roslovic.

Which Predators Team Will Show Up?

Had you asked me after the 2-0 win against the Red Wings, I would have said that Nashville has an excellent chance of beating Columbus. Now I am not sure what to think.

The Predators are a team in disarray. Their lack of consistency and intensity has cost them greatly and are just a couple of the reasons why they are in the basement of the Central.

With each passing game, it becomes painstakingly clear that the Predators will be sellers at the deadline and in full rebuild mode.

Unless the Predators can muster some superhuman strength and suddenly find ways to beat teams like Tampa, Florida, and Carolina, it is only a matter of time.

The Predators need to go back to their two most recent wins, analyze what they did well, and stick with that gameplan even if it means that Head Coach John Hynes doesn’t get to play line blender.

We are still waiting for several players to bust out of whatever rut they are in at the moment. The glaring example is Viktor Arvidsson.

Arvidsson has been virtually invisible all season and has not shown his normal speed or stickhandling ability since before his injury last season. He has no points in his previous five games and hasn’t scored a goal since late January.

Filip Forsberg is one of the few bright spots on this struggling team. He has three goals and an assist in his previous five games. He sits at 17 points (9 goals, 8 assists) on the season.

We will more than likely see Juuse Saros in the net for this game. Saros hasn’t seen a start since February 18 and has had his own set of challenges this season.

While some of the struggles that Saros has had are due to the team’s bad execution, others are of his own making. The Predators could use some of the magic that Saros mustered at the end of last season.

Must Read. Nashville Predators: Who Is Truly to Blame For Their Failures?. light

While we have been hopeful all season that the Predators would be contending for a playoff spot, we have to face the fact that this team is what it is, and there may not be much upside to this season.

As fans, we need to take this team for what it is, enjoy the wins, and wait for the hammer to drop on the rebuild. It could be coming quicker than many realize.

The game starts at 2:00 PM CDT and, as usual, will be televised regionally on Fox Sports Tennessee.  Follow along with us on Twitter for up-to-date action in the game.