Originally written on Inside Smashville  |  Last updated 12/8/11

Season Records

Nashville Predators 12-11-4

Columbus Blue Jackets 8-16-3

Just two days after a tough 3-2 loss at home to the Phoenix Coyotes, the Nashville Predators are back on the road. The Columbus Blue Jackets host Nashville at 6pm Thursday night. The Blue Jackets are 5-3-2 in their last 10 games and are 5-3-1 since beating the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena for the first time since April 2006 on October 19th.

Thursday night will mark the second game of a two-game suspension for Jordin Tootoo. Tootoo also missed Tuesday night’s game against the Coyotes. The forward was suspended for crashing into the net as well as Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller in his first game back after suffering an upper body injury due to Boston’s Milan Lucic running Miller on November 12th.

Head Coach Barry Trotz says the Predators, while struggling at home, are solid on the road. “Right now we seem to be better road warriors than at home. I think we’re 0-3-1 in our last four so we’ve got to get some wins at home. You want to be at least .500 on the road and have a pretty good record at home and that should put you in pretty good standing, but right now we’ve got to improve our home record and obviously get some wins.”

While the Predators have the worst home record in the League, only Tampa Bay has played fewer home games with 11. Further, the Predators are 8-6-1 away from Bridgestone Arena. While it is still considered early in the season, the Predators need to right their ship and it has to start with a win in Columbus on Thursday night.

The Blue Jackets are coming off a shootout victory against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night. They also have momentum going into the game carrying the overtime victory at Bridgestone Arena in November with them onto the ice. The Predators are starting to look like a desperate team in search of answers, lead in points by a rookie with only two years of college experience under his belt.

The Predators power play remains in the top 10 percent of the League. Since scoring a pair of man-advantage markers on Nov. 19 against Columbus, 10 of Nashville’s last 20 goals have come via the power play.

Craig Smith continues to put up big numbers. The forward has 8 goals and 14 assists for 22 points to lead the team in 27 games played. Smith picked up an assist on Tuesday. Smith has five points, including 1 goal and 4 assists in Nashville’s last three games.

For parts of Tuesday night’s game, Smith again found himself paired with fellow Americans Colin Wilson and David Legwand. Again, the chemistry on the line was evident. Legwand has four points in his last three games including two goals and two assists.

The Blue Jackets have added a Hall of Famer to their team. On Wednesday, General Manager Scott Howson announced the team added Craig Patrick as a senior adviser for hockey operations. According to NHL.com, Patrick will advise Howson “on trades and free agent signings, as well as evaluating prospects playing for the club’s minor-league affiliates and at the collegiate and junior levels.”


Photo credit: Getty Images

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