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Game 38: Columbus @ Nashville – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW


Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images

The Nashville Predators made one significant move at the trade deadline sending Martin Erat and Michael Latta to the Washington Capitals for highly-rated draft prospect Filip Forsberg. Meanwhile, the Columbus Blue Jackets broke the mold and got Marian Gaborik from the New York Rangers and Blake Comeau from the Calgary Flames. They also traded Steve Mason to Philadelphia for back-up goalie Michael Leighton and a third-round pick. Needless to say, the Blue Jackets are gunning for the playoffs and beyond and Nashville will have a tough time Thursday night with an already eager opponent in the Blue Jackets.

The Blue Jackets are currently tied with the Edmonton Oilers for 10th in the West, one point behind the Predators. The blockbuster trades made today show that Columbus is committed to not only strive for a playoff spot but contend with the West to move past the first round, something Columbus has yet to do in the post-season. Gaborik has 19 points on the year for the Rangers which would put him third on Columbus’ roster in points. Blake Comeau has only 7 points so far this year but he is two seasons removed from a 46-point campaign with the Islanders.

The dealing of Steve Mason was a solid choice as it frees up a spot for long-time back-up Michael Leighton who championed the Flyers to an unexpected Stanley Cup final appearance against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blue Jackets also nabbed a third-round pick for a goaltender in Mason who had one stellar rookie season only to slowly slip into obscurity. Letestu was also extended and for good reason. He is 2nd in points with 20 and his 9 goals are tied for 2nd on the team with Artem Anisimov. Columbus has to give everything they have against the Predators to have a chance at cracking the top eight of the West. Any points the Blue Jackets can steal from the Predators slims Nashville’s chances of making the post-season and increases Columbus’.

It seems strange to write up a pre-game without Martin Erat being in the lineup. Possibly the most steady Predators player offensively and defensively, Erat will be sorely missed. It is consoling that the Predators are getting what many believe to be one of the top-rated offensive picks of last year’s draft in Filip Forsberg.Time will tell on this trade, but the initial response has been positive from those in the Predators organization and media.

It is also possible that Bourque and Fisher may be back in the lineup to square off against the Blue Jackets. Gaustad has been awesome in Fisher’s stead, but the grit and scoring touch Fisher possesses will help the Predators considerably as it is goal-scoring help they need most. Bourque, Nashville’s leading goal scorer and all-around fly-in-the-ointment for opposing teams, will be called upon to open the scoring salvo with Beck and Hornqvist providing the much needed ground-and-pound positioning that helped Nashville score two out of their three goals against the Avalanche.

Pekka Rinne holds a lot of #1 distinctions this season: games played in (35), OT/Shootout losses (7), Shutouts (5), PIM (4), and Total Minutes (1,968)

In his last five games, Rinne has allowed 10 goals (4 against Phoenix) and has a 2-1-2 record in that span. If Rinne can keep the opposing goal totals to 2 or less, and the Predators can use their speed and players coming back from injury to light the lamp at least three times a game, the Predators could make an unlikely push for a playoff spot. Just look to the L.A. Kings as to what can happen when a team gets hot at just the right moment and rides the momentum all the way to a Stanley Cup championship.

Game time is at 7:00 P.M. Central and can be heard on 102.5 the Game and viewed locally on FS Tennessee. If you like what you’re reading or have questions/comments feel free to write us below or follow us on Twitter @Preducated and @ThePredatorial.


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