(SportsNetwork.com) – The Nashville Predators will try to extend their winning
streak to a season-high four games when they host the struggling Columbus Blue
Jackets in Saturday’s clash at Bridgestone Arena.
The Predators have won three straight for the second time this season,
matching their run from Nov. 6-11. Nashville, which enters Saturday tied with
St. Louis for the Central Division lead, hasn’t posted four consecutive wins
since Jan. 31-Feb. 7, 2013.
All three of Nashville’s recent wins have come after regulation, as the Preds
opened a four-game homestand with close wins over Florida, Los Angeles and
Edmonton. The Preds posted shootout decisions over the Panthers and Kings on
Saturday and Tuesday, respectively, and then notched a 1-0 overtime victory
against the Oilers on Thanksgiving night.
Filip Forsberg continued his impressive season, scoring with 1:05 remaining in
overtime to help the Preds down Edmonton on Thursday.
Nashville did not appear to be in good shape early in OT, as the Oilers began
the extra session on a power play, then were awarded a penalty shot 13 seconds
into the extra session when Nashville defenseman Shea Weber closed his hand on
the puck while in the crease. Pekka Rinne denied Jordan Eberle on the free
chance, stretching with his left pad to deny the penalty shot attempt at the
Moments later, Forsberg spun to shield the puck from an Edmonton player
and fired a wrist shot from the left circle past Viktor Fasth.
Forsberg is leading all rookies this season in both goals (10) and assists
Rinne made 37 saves to earn his second shutout of the season and 34th of his
“It wasn’t our strongest game, but we came through at the end,” Rinne said.
“We kept improving the whole night.”
Rinne has solid career numbers against the Blue Jackets and is expected to
start tonight. He owns a 15-7-2 record and a 2.44 goals against average in 25
career games versus Columbus.
The Blue Jackets have lost five straight heading into tonight’s tilt, but the
club hopes to pick up a win this evening against a team it has had a run of
success against in recent years. Columbus has claimed three of four and five
of the last seven overall meetings with the Preds and also has won two in a
row and three of the past four encounters in Music City.
Columbus, however, is mired in a 0-4-1 drought and only has two wins over its
last 16 games (2-12-2). The Blue Jackets, who have been decimated by injuries
in 2014-15, are dead last in the NHL standings with 14 points after making the
playoffs last spring for only the second time in team history.
The Blue Jackets were routed Friday night at home despite trailing Vancouver
only 1-0 after 40 minutes. The Canucks added four more goals in the third
period and Ryan Miller completed a shutout in the 5-0 blowout.
Sergei Bobrovsky made 25 saves on 29 shots for Columbus.
“We just couldn’t score. They do have one of the best goalies in the world, no
question, but we didn’t score a goal,” said Blue Jackets defenseman Jack
Columbus is currently playing without a host of key players including forwards
Brandon Dubinsky, Nathan Horton, Mark Letestu and defensemen Ryan Murray and
Fedor Tyutin. Among that group, Dubinsky is believed to be the closest to
returning, but he has yet to play this season and is questionable for tonight.