Originally posted on Inside Smashville  |  Last updated 12/21/11

Season Records

Columbus Blue Jackets 9-20-4

Nashville Predators 17-12-4

The Nashville Predators hope to return to their winning ways when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets at Bridgestone Arena Thursday night. The Predators had their season-high five-game winning streak snapped on Tuesday night by a struggling Washington Capitals squad, losing by a decisive 4-1 score.

Columbus are losers of their last three games and currently hold the worst record in the League with only 9 wins under their belt. On Sunday, the Blue Jackets had a 3-2 lead after two periods of play, but St. Louis was able to score three third period goals on goalie Steve Mason, plus an empty net goal, for a 6-4 win over Columbus.

Though the Blue Jackets winning many games this season they do have a 1-1-1 record against the Predators and one of their 9 victories came at the expense of Nashville on November 19th when the Predators lost a 4-3 decision in overtime. It was the first time the Blue Jackets had won at Bridgestone Arena since April of 2006.

The Blue Jackets have never won back-to-back games in Nashville and will try to make team history on Thursday.

Pekka Rinne will almost certainly return to the net on Thursday night after having a game off on Tuesday. Rinne enjoys an 11-4-1 record against the Blue Jackets with a 2.53 goals against average and a .912 save percentage.

Curtis Sanford was in goal for Columbus when they won in November, but is listed as questionable for Thursday’s game by TSN with back spasms. If Sanford remains out of the lineup, Steve Mason will be in goal for the Blue Jackets.

The former Calder Trophy winner has struggled this season and has a 4-14-1 record with a 3.52 goals against average and a .901 save percentage. Those numbers improve slightly against the Predators. Mason has a 5-5-1 record against Nashville with a 2.45 goals against average and a .913 save percentage.

The Predators will hope its potent power play can get going again against a team that is nearly dead last on the penalty kill. Only San Jose and Toronto have worse penalty killing records than Columbus with a 76.2 percent kill off rate.

Nashville’s power play remains sixth best in the League after failing to connect on five power play opportunities against Washington Tuesday night.

After Thursday night’s contest, the Predators will play in Dallas on Friday before breaking for Christmas.

 

Photo credit: AP

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