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Game 1 – Nashville @ Columbus: The Start of Something Special


The Nashville Predators will be starting their 13th season (lucky 13?) tonight as they travel to Columbus to face off against a re-tooled Blue Jackets team with high expectations as they enter their 11th season with only one trip to the playoffs, having yet to get a win past the initial 82 games of the regular season.

Looking at the Blue Jackets: A Re-tooled roster this season for the Blue Jackets brings in the help of Jeff Carter and James Wisniewski to see if they can help right the ship in Columbus, however I really think the key to the Blue Jackets season this year relies on the play of goaltender Steve Mason. As Mason goes, the Jackets follow.

Looking at the Predators: Another season, another boat of departures heading out and another boat of arrivals coming in. Nashville lost a handful of players over the summer, but learned what they had been keeping in their cupboard may be more than enough to replenish the roster. With opening night additions of Teemu Laakso, Jack Hillen, and College-to-Pro Craig Smith, the Predators may turn from a Defensive, Goaltending-heavy, score-by-committee team, into a Defensive, Goaltending-heavy, run and gun type of team. Nashville has a lot of speed and a lot of raw talent coming into this season, don’t be surprised if they shock a few of the “experts”

For the Blue Jackets to win: Steve Mason has to play like rookie Steve Mason. The Blue Jackets won’t be receiving help from Wisniewski for a few games, which will put a dent in their blue line, but as long as Mason plays Rinne-esque hockey and matches the Predators stride-for-stride, then Nashville can be in for a long long night.

For the Predators to win: If Rinne ends up sidelined with flu-like symptoms tonight, then Nashville is going to have to play overbearingly┬ádominant hockey for 60 minutes. Lindback is a good goalie, don’t get me wrong, but losing a Rinne-type player (even if it’s for one or two games) is like losing one of your extremities. The Predators will have to rely on their ever-faithful defensive duo of Weber and Suter to anchor the blueline and their evenly-balanced roster will get a chance to see who wants to step up in Game 1.

Kristopher’s Prediction (with Rinne): 2-0 Predators
Kristopher’s Prediction (without Rinne): 2-1 Blue Jackets

Jeremy’s Prediction (with Rinne): 3-1 Predators
Jeremy’s Prediction (without Rinne): 3-2 Predators (in a Shootout)

Kristopher’s Prediction Record: 0-0

Jeremy’s Prediction Record: 0-0