The Nashville Predators finished their pre-season schedule with a 4-2 road win at Columbus. The Preds played with a makeshift line up that gave many of the younger and borderline players one last chance to impress the coaching staff.
Ryan Jones scored two goals in only 9:29 minutes of action. Other Pred goals were scored by Patric Hornqvist (five shots) and newcomer, Francis Bouillon. Assists were added by six different Predators.
The Preds were out-shot in every period with an 11-2 edge to Columbus in the first period. Columbus fielded a team that was fairly close to what they may send out on opening night.
Dan Ellis stopped 36 of 38 Columbus shots to give Coach Barry Trotz something to think about when choosing a starter for the season opener. Pekka Rinne was fairly well snake-bit in his final tune-up last night with several odd goals being scored in that contest.
Special teams were improved in today's outing. The Predators were 2 for 4 on the power play while stopping 5 of 6 Columbus man advantage opportunities.
Face offs have been a strong point for the Preds over the years but have been inconsistent in the pre-season and were only successful at a 45% clip today. Ben Guite was a standout going 12-5.
The Predators returned to Nashville after the game where Barry Trotz and his staff will meet to make final decisions on who will travel with the team to Dallas on Saturday for opening night.
Tough decisions will have to be made as few players have clearly "separated themselves" as Barry Trotz likes to say. The situation is further complicated by groin injuries and other minor ailments to several regular players.
The next few days will be interesting to see who stays and who goes back to Milwaukee. David Poile will continue to work the phones to see who else may be available at the right price from outside the organization.
I'm sure that Trotz and Poile would like to have had a clearer idea of who gets the last couple of slots but as Trotz said last night, "It is what is is."
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass