The Nashville Predators faced off against the Minnesota Wild in St. Paul on Saturday night. In a “wild” contest, the Predators were able to come out on top with a 6-5 OT win to pick up much needed 2 points against a division rival. The OT goal was scored by Mattias Ekholm at 1:45 in the extra period.
Tonight, Nashville looks to continue its extended road trip as they travel to Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets.
The Columbus Blue Jackets (14-15-3) were able to defeat the Chicago Blachawks 3-2 in a shootout on Saturday night. Despite being outshot by a wide margin (41-19), the Blue Jackets were able to use timely goal scoring and outstanding goaltending by Sergei Bobrovsky to take the win. The win in the shootout came in the 9th round when Jack Johnson was able to send one past Chicago goalie, Corey Crawford.
On the season, Nick Foligno leads the team with 30 points and 16 goals. Another player of significance for the Blue Jackets is Ryan Johansen. Johansen leads the team with 20 assists and is 2nd on the team in points with 29.
Keys to Watch
CBJ’s Dynamic Duo
When it comes to offensive production for the Columbus Blue Jackets, a defense must stop the Foligno/Johansen grouping. These two players have combined for 59 points on the season. With 25 goals and 34 assists, they are a duo to be reckoned with on the ice. The Preds will need to keep tabs on these two dynamic players.
NSH vs CBJ Goals Against
When reviewing these two teams, a glaring difference between these two is the Goals Against category. On the season, the Nashville Predators have given up 64 goals, while the Columbus Blue Jackets have given up an astounding 102 goals! There is a positive correlation between winning and the amount of goals you allow in net. Let’s keep this positive trend going!
Defenseman Excelling in New System
In the new offensive system under Coach Laviolette, many Preds defenseman are producing at a high level. Captain Shea Weber looks to meet last year’s numbers, if not beat his production. We’ve seen the emergence of Mattias Ekholm, Ryan Ellis, and Seth Jones. Let’s not forget Roman Josi. Josi should, barring any type of problems, beat last year’s numbers. Josi already has 17 points, and has really come on as of late in his offensive production. This new system has benefited the defensive pairings in more ways than one.
The Nashville Predators will look to take the fight to Columbus tonight. The Blue Jackets are 8-0-1 in the month of December and have been playing a good brand of hockey. This will be a tought test for the Preds in this road trip. The 6:00 pm CST puck drop will be televised on FS-TN or you can listen live on 102.5 The Game.