Note: No POTG Radio tonight due to the game.
The Nashville Predators (9-6-3) are in Columbus ready to face the Blue Jackets (12-6-0) tonight at the Nationwide Arena at 6:00 p.m. Central in the two teams' first meeting of the year.
It is unusual for the Preds and Jackets not to meet until this late in the year. "It seems strange that we are almost twenty games into it and haven't seen Columbus five times," joked Barry Trotz. "They got their game going and they're playing really well. Their big guys have been scoring for them and they've been fairly healthy."
The Blue Jackets returned home yesterday after an impressive west coast road swing where they beat the Kings, Ducks and Sharks in a four day period. On Saturday, the Jackets beat the San Jose Sharks 3-0 as Rick Nash scored all the goals in the game and Mathieu Garon got his third shutout in four games.
Nash leads the Jackets in goals with 12 and in points with 16. Garon (5-1-0, .960, 1.08) and Steve Mason (7-5-0, .903, 3.19) have split time in goal and it is unclear who will get the start but you would think Garon would have the edge. Pekka Rinne (6-5-2, .914, 2.63) should start in goal for the Preds.
Update: Per Jim Diamond, Steve Mason will start for Columbus.
The Predators have a 23-3-2 record against the Jackets since the start of the 2006-07 season and have won 14 in a row in Nashville. Last season the Preds took two of three in Columbus.
In the five games since their five game losing streak, the Predators have only had the one bad period which was sandwiched between two effective periods in Toronto.
After Saturday's game Marty Erat explained the turnaround in the last five games, "It's just the focus. We're trying to play for sixty minutes and everybody is playing for each other in the ice. We've played good defense and tried to capitalize on the chances."
Barry Trotz didn't look at the losing streak the same way that others may have, "Even when we had lost those games in a row there wasn't one thing or one part of our game. We got away from our tight defensive game and pucks were flying into the back of our net. We weren't playing that poorly but pucks were going in. There are times when you work had but it doesn't come easy."
It appears that the Predators will be without Ryan Suter and David Legwand for the second game in a row. Legwand is on the trip and is officially day to day and Suter returned home on Saturday for his child's pending birth and also has had a flare up of his prior lower body injury.
After the game, the Predators will return home to Nashville to prepare to host the St.Louis Blues for their final game in Nashville for the regular season on Wednesday.
Other game previews come from Amanda DiPaolo, Chris Burton, and The Tennessean.
From the Columbus side check out the Columbus Dispatch, The Dark Blue Jacket, and The Cannon.
We would like to thank Paul McCann and his wife Denise for an incredible road trip to Raleigh over the weekend to see the Preds and Canes play at the RBC Center on Saturday night. The planning was impeccable and the execution was perfect for the group of fifty from Nashville.
Paul McCann has bus updates from Saturday and Sunday. Here are some pictures of people that you may know that attended.
We would also like to thank Karla and her friends for pre-game tailgating, Bob Wage of Canes Country for post-game fellowship, and the Carolina Hurricanes organization for the hospitality.
Big Kev was on the trip as were a few others that will also have their thoughts on the outing in the next day or so.
Here is our game story from Saturday night with post game comments from Barry Trotz, Pekka Rinne and Shane O'Brien.
The Tennessean had the AP story and Josh Cooper had his postgame ponderings.
David Boclair has his story at The City Paper.
From the blog world reports came from Amanda DiPaolo, Mark Willoughby, and Dirk Hoag (with his advances stats).
The other side of the story comes from Canes Country, the News and Observer,
In Pred Nation...
David Boclair compare the Predators to the other three most recent expansion teams in the NHL.
AJ has the story of the Preds being the same team, only different.
Hockey Night in Nashville discusses why hockey players are classier than football players using the Nashville teams as examples.
Mike MacDonald had a feature story on Cal O'Reilly and his breakthrough season.
Here's the latest Mo update from the Preds.
The Milwaukee Admirals are having a tough run as they dropped their third straight on Sunday to Oklahoma City 5-2.
Around the NHL...
Mike Chen give a list of five upcoming free agents that teams should consider moving now. Unlike the rumors of the Toronto TV folks, Shea Weber is not on the the list.
There was a minor trade over the weekend with the Anaheim Ducks sending Rob Bordson and Danny Syvret to Philadelphia in exchange for Patrick Maroon and David Laliberte.
In New Jersey, Marty Brodeur will be out for two weeks as the Devils never seem to catch a break this season.
Adam Proteau calls for a committee to replace the all powerful Colin Campbell in handing out discipline to NHL players. This seems like a fair approach that might bring more consistency to the wheel of justice.
B.D. Gallof looks at the growing list of folks the Isles have kicked out of the arena. Are you next?
Matt Reitz started a new #PuckChat on Twitter last Thursday and summarized the first week's discussion. This will be a weekly ebent and as Chris Wassel states that unlike Fight Club, the first rule of #PuckChat is to mention #PuckChat.
@brahmresnik: #Coyotes: Glendale council holds special closed session Monday (tonight) on arena lease. 2nd meeting in 6 days. The end game?
Amanda Fortier looks at three rookies that will receive consideration for the Calder Trophy at View From My Seats.
Cody Hodgson was thought o be the best thing since sliced bread at one point in his junior career and led to him going tenth overall in the 2008 Entry Draft but injuries have slowed his development. This year he is showing signs that he may be making progress again in Manitoba.
Odds and Ends...
Do you long for the days when you did not get ten catalogs a day in the mail and getting a Sears catalog was a big deal. Go to Wish Book Web for a flashback to simpler times.
Mashable takes on Ryan The Temp's dotcom start-up WUPHF.com. I want my own account.
Has MySpace thrown in the towel? Their recent hook-up with Facebook looks like a surrender and peace treaty.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass