Found December 22, 2011 on The Predatorial:

Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images North America

Every time the Nashville Predators and the Columbus Blue Jackets take the ice…it’s personal. Nashville has enjoyed a treasure trove of success on home ice against the Blue Jackets dating back to 2006 only losing one contest; that being earlier this season on November 19. It seemed that “the Dark Side” was finally overtaken by the rebel force of Columbus and a huge momentum shift took place.

Nashville would go on to lose 6 out of their next 8 games after the overtime stunner at Bridgestone Arena, but the Predators found a way to bounce back by stealing the thunder at Nationwide Arena on December 8. This led to the best streak of the season for Nashville winning five games.

Will the Blue Jackets be looking to take the fire power away from a fully functional Bridgestone Arena?

This Year’s Series: 2-0-1 (0-0-1 Home, 2-0-0 Away)

This Season’s Video Recaps:

Oct. 7, 2011:

Nov. 19, 2011:

Dec. 8, 2011:

Video Coming Soon

Looking at the Blue Jackets: After Nashville’s improbable win in Columbus on December 8, the Blue Jackets have dug themselves into another hole of inconsistent play. Columbus has gone 1-4 in their last five games and they have all been closely contested.

Jeff Carter is finally starting to hit his stride notching four goals and one assist in his last six games. The Blue Jackets are well-rested going into tonight’s game, but the question is can they play with any defensive fortitude to stop the puck from going the other way?

Looking at the Predators: The five game winning streak came to an abrupt halt at the hands of the high-powered offense of the Washington Capitals. Goals by Ovechkin (who took Blum to the woodshed), Backstrom, Semin and Brouwer overwhelmed the Predators who fell 4-1.

The lack of chances and scoring on the PP may have the Predators searching for answers. The power play has been the Predators best friend over the five game winning streak. A whopping 5 PP opportunities went unused while Washington capitalized on one of their two chances.

For the Blue Jackets to win: Come into Bridgestone Arena with the same mindset from November 19. The Blue Jackets have the offensive weaponry in Nash, Prospal, Carter, Wisniewski and Umberger to cause serious problems for the Nashville defensive line-up.

The Blue Jackets also need to stay out of the box and force Nashville to take penalties to disrupt their style of play. With Rinne in net, the Blue Jackets are going to try to solve the puzzle that is the All-World backstop for the Predators. One of the ways they can accomplish this is traffic in front of the net while Tyutin and Wisniewski fire lasers from the blue-line.

For the Predators to win: Keep it simple. Since the holiday roster freeze was upcoming, the Predators brought back Geoffrion and Blum in an experiment that really didn’t work. The splitting of Weber and Suter did not help the Predators and although Geoffrion played a very physical game, he didn’t contribute much in terms of keeping the play in the zone.

It is up to Trotz to set this line-up in the right direction for success. When things were going the right way over the last five games why would anyone want to change that? If Trotz is willing to make sweeping changes at least keep the dynamic duo of Weber and Suter together. It’s not too often any NHL team can have a bonafide shut-down defensive line that can take on the other teams top line while contributing on the PK and PP.

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If you like what I have listed out here or if you have any questions/comments/concerns, feel free to let me know on Twitter…@Preducated
Stay HardCore, friends

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