It was November 19th, 2011. The Blue Jackets finally broke a curse that has haunted them for many a season. They won in Nashville for the first time after 17 straight losses at Bridgestone/Sommet/Gaylord Entertainment Center/Arena. After that game, however, it is the Predators who are being haunted with a rough stretch of losses.
The Predators are looking to start a new trend and what better way to do it than on the road where the Predators have enjoyed more success than in the friendly confines off of 5th and Broadway. Lines are being shuffled and the Predators are starting to gel, but the defense hasn’t been on par with last year’s performances and Rinne hasn’t won a start in his last seven…it’s high time the Predators get back some of the mojo lost in the overtime loss against Columbus on 11/19/11.
This Year’s Series: 1-0-1 (0-0-1 Home, 1-0-0 Away)
This Season’s Video Recaps:
Nov. 19 2011:
Oct. 7 2011:
Looking at the Blue Jackets: Since starting out the season with an abysmal 3-13-2 record, the turning point for the Blue Jackets happened in the aforementioned 11/19/11 tilt where they got the elephant out of the room with a screamer from James Wisniewski in overtime. His first goal of the year altered the Blue Jackets fate in a sunnier direction, now going 4-3-1 since the win over Nashville.
Columbus also boasts some hefty offensive fire-power in Vinny Prospal and Rick Nash. Alongside the scoring defensemen of Wisniewski and Tyutin, the Blue Jackets can put pucks in the net. The only problem has been keeping pucks out of the net. Steve Mason has not performed nearly as well as his rookie season and Sanford has stepped up admirably sporting a 5-3-2 record.
Looking at the Predators: In two games where the Predators played solid enough to garner at least a point in the contest but failed, Nashville is in a slide and coming off of two losses that could have easily gone Nashville’s way.
Nashville’s PP continues to put points on the board but at the cost of the team’s identity. This leaves the Predators and their fans at a loss for words and an inability to figure out what needs to change. Trotz has attempted to spark the lines by switching pairings and trios to no avail, and the suspension of Jordin Tootoo has taken one of the key lightning rods of tireless energy out of the roster for tonight’s game.
For the Blue Jackets to win: Use the top line of talent to score if Nashville takes a penalty. The Jackets scored two big PP goals in the November contest. If the Jackets can keep that kind of momentum in their favor, especially in front of the home crowd, it’ll make it very tough for Nashville to battle back if they get down a goal early.
Expect Coach Arniel to ride the hot hand and keep Sanford in net. He has bested the Predators before and with a little more help from his defensive core, he will be up to the challenge yet again.
For the Predators to win: Get these two losses out of their head and come out focused and determined to play a solid 60 minutes of hockey. Rinne needs to wake up out of this seven game funk and the defense, namely Klein, Blum, Josi and Hillen need to step it up big time and not leave their goalie out to dry.
It’s time for a serious look at putting the younger line back together.
Wilson/Smith/Hornqvist were doing just fine until Legwand came back and Trotz inserted him immediately into the top line. Since then, it has been an epic free-fall starting with…the Columbus OT victory. The Predators are 2-6-0 since that game, so it’s high time they reclaim the mojo from Columbus and cut the fuse off that cannon.
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Stay HardCore, friends