The Nashville Predators (31-23-8) travel to Columbus to play the Blue Jackets (29-23-6) for the last time this season at Nationwide Arena with a 6 p.m. Central puck drop.
The Predators have been inconsistent lately going 4-3-2 during February while the Jackets have played their best hockey of the season going 6-1-1 in their last eight games.
The teams have met three times this season with the Preds winning twice. The Preds lost the first meeting 2-0 on November 22 at Nationwide in a perfect outing for the Jackets. On December 1st, Steve Sullivan had the shootout winner in a 4-3 Nashville win. On January 2, the Predators took a 4-1 win in the "paint peeling" game in the only meeting of the year at Bridgestone Arena.
Ryan Suter, who was injured in Saturday's game with Phoenix, did not travel with the team leaving the Predators with Wade Belak as the sixth defenseman at Monday's practice. There was an indication that Aaron Johnson, Teemu Laakso, Jon Blum, or Roman Josi would be recalled.
No official announcement has been made but the NHL Game Notes indicates that Blum is on the roster. Predators are hopeful of Suter's return from his "upper body" injury on Thursday.
Pekka Rinne (21-15-6, 2.10, .930) is probable in net for the Predators while either Steve Mason (20-14-2, 3.05, .903) or Mathieu Garon (9--9-4, 2.60, .904) could start for Columbus.
The Predators will meet Columbus again on Sunday at the Bridgestone Arena in a special 2 p.m. start time. Before then, they will play the Blackhawks at home on Thursday and at Dallas on Saturday afternoon.
Other Predator previews come from Amanda DiPaolo, Chris Burton, The Tennessean, Predatorial, and Predators.com.
Previews from the other side comes from the Columbus Dispatch, The Dark Blue Jacket, and The Cannon.
In Pred Nation...
Josh Cooper has an injury update and a discussion about Steve Sullivan's mask. Josh also has defensive options that he Preds may use.
Bryan Mullen discusses Suter's injury situation.
David Boclair has a pair of posts, one about the tight Western Conference, and the other about the defensive shuffle that we should see tonight.
Amanda DiPaolo looks at the tough stretch of four games in less than six days that the Preds are facing.
Jeremy Gover has the latest on Roman Josi's 13 game point streak. He should contend for a roster spot in training camp next fall.
other teams take advantage of the Predators.
Hockey Night in Nashville points to the importance of having two good goalies.
Paul McCann was not happy with WSMV's preemption of the NHL on NBC's pregame show on Sunday in favor of an infomercial. WSMV continues to prove that they do not like hockey. I guess that's why you never see the bumbling Rudy Kalis at the games.
We have to add People Magazine to our new list of sources as they have the weekly Carrie and Mike update.
Around the NHL...
The trades just keep coming. Pittsburgh obtained James Neal and Matt Niskanen from Dallas for Alex Goligoski. This doesn't seem like an even deal. Rob Rossi has the Pittsburgh reaction.
Ryan Porth has the remaining top trade targets. It is not an impressive list.
Kevin Allen has ten things about the upcoming trade deadline.
View from My Seats is going straight to the fans for answers about this year's trade deadline.
It appears that the Avalanche will not make Coach Joe Sacco or GM Greg Sherman pay for the teams horrible fall with their jobs.
Brandon Worley has some thoughts on the lack of leadership on the Dallas Stars and how it has contributed to their current slump.
Here is an idea from @TSNBobMcKenzie: If you want to follow NHL/pro players on twitter, go here. This is how you know they are legit.
Adrian Dater pointed out this great piece of what not to do in the pressbox. It appears we have some work to do on Blogger's Row.
Joel Quenneville is expected to return to the Blackhawk bench in time for Thursday's game with the Predators.
Dan Bradley has some game operation nightmares from around the NHL.
Odds and Ends...
Now that Verizon has the ad for the Motorola Xoom on their site, I can officially get the "I wants".
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass