for this game

Blue Jackets seek to stay on a roll against Predators

Feb 22, 2011 - 4:10 PM
(Sports Network) - The Columbus Blue Jackets will try continue their recent hot stretch when they welcome the Nashville Predators for a Central Division battle at Nationwide Arena.

The Blue Jackets have earned points in four straight games (3-0-1) and Columbus has a 6-1-1 record over its last eight contests. The improved play has helped move Columbus within four points of a Western Conference playoff spot.

Nashville, meanwhile, is tied for fifth in the West standings with Calgary and the Predators are six points in front of the Blue Jackets. However, the Preds have lost two of their last three games and have a 4-5-2 mark over their last 11 tilts.

The Preds have taken two of three from Columbus this season, winning two in a row since a 2-0 loss in Columbus on Nov. 22. Nashville won a shootout decision in Ohio on Dec. 1 and recorded a 4-1 home victory the last time the clubs met on Jan. 2.

Nashville has won eight of 10 overall in the series but has dropped five of eight in Columbus. These teams will play again on Sunday, when the Predators welcome the Jackets to the Music City.

Columbus should be well rested for tonight's clash, having last played in Friday's road win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Anton Stralman capped a three- goal second period to help lead the Blue Jackets to the 4-3 regulation win at the United Center.

Matt Calvert, Derek MacKenzie and Antoine Vermette also tallied for the Blue Jackets. Steve Mason turned aside 37-of-40 shots for the victors.

"We're playing with a lot of confidence," Mason said. "We keep it real simple when we're on the road and we stick with our game plan."

Mason is 5-1-0 in his last six starts and has allowed just 11 goals over that span. The third-year netminder is expected to get the start tonight.

The Blue Jackets have been red hot on the road, winning a franchise-record six straight as the guest, but the club has lost two of three and four of their last six on home ice. Columbus has a 14-13-2 record at Nationwide Arena this season.

On the injury front, Blue Jackets defenseman Marc Methot could be back in the lineup tonight after missing Friday's game with an undisclosed injury. Forward Kristian Huselius is doubtful for tonight after suffering a lower-body injury against the Blackhawks.

There is also a chance that Columbus forward Derek Dorsett could play tonight for the first time since suffering a concussion against Colorado on Feb. 11. Dorsett has missed the last three games, but has been practicing with the team.

The Predators are coming off a close regulation loss, as they dropped a 3-2 decision Saturday to visiting Phoenix. Ilya Bryzgalov made 30 stops to anchor the visitors in their win at Bridgestone Arena.

Shea Weber and Sergei Kostitsyn both lit the lamp for the Predators, who had won three of four coming into the contest. Pekka Rinne made 23 saves in the loss.

Rinne is expected to get the start tonight and is 7-3-0 with a 2.46 goals- against average in his career against Columbus.

Predators defenseman Ryan Suter sustained a lower-body injury in Saturday's loss and is expected to miss this evening's tilt. Suter is tied with Weber for the team lead in assists with 25.

Nashville has a 17-14-1 road record this season.


    Feb 22 9:36 PM

  • Columbus Power-Play Goal - Rick Nash (29), at 19:08.

    Predators 0, Blue Jackets 4  3rd - 0:52Feb 22 9:30 PM

  • Columbus Goal - Antoine Vermette (15), from Kris Russell and Grant Clitsome at 9:49.

    Predators 0, Blue Jackets 3  3rd - 10:11Feb 22 9:11 PM

  • Patric Hornqvist backhand shot on Steve Mason.

    Predators 0, Blue Jackets 2  3rd - 15:00Feb 22 9:03 PM

  • Columbus Goal - Rick Nash (28), at 1:11.

    Predators 0, Blue Jackets 1  3rd - 18:49Feb 22 8:56 PM

    End of 2nd

    Feb 22 8:37 PM

    End of 1st

    Feb 22 7:43 PM

    1st Period - 20:00

    Feb 22 7:08 PM
  • 15
    RUWTbot Added 15 roots

    Predators vs. Blue JacketsJun 23 6:02 AM