Saturday, November 19, 2011

Nashville hosts Columbus in big rivalry game

The Nashville Predators will host the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight at 7:00 p.m. at Bridgestone Arena. Nashville beaten the Blue Jackets 17 straight times on home ice, which is the longest streak in the NHL.

Columbus has really struggled out of the gate this year. They have a 3-13-2 record on the season so far, which is the worst record in the NHL. But the standings are usually irrelevant in games between Nashville and Columbus. It seems like they are always decided by one goal.

"The score is going to be 3-2. That's what the scores are. Columbus always plays very hard. I've been watching them and they play really hard. We have a good rivalry and we've played a lot of games together. It will continue to be that way," said Predators head coach Barry Trotz.

"They've got a lot of good players. It's going to be a good game. In our first game of the season it was tough to play in their building, and we're going to make it tough for them to come in here and play," said Predators forward Craig Smith.

Nashville is coming off of a 4-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night. The Predators have collected points in eight of their past nine games, and will be looking to continue that trend tonight.

Martin Erat has been very effective for the Predators during this homestand. Erat has two consecutive two-point games against Washington and Toronto, and has really been finding his touch. Mike Fisher and Sergei Kostitsyn have complemented Erat well, and that entire line has had good production during the homestand.

My player to watch for the Blue Jackets is Jeff Carter. Carter is an offensively skilled centerman, and had a great game against the Predators in the season-opening game.

For Nashville, my player to watch is Colin Wilson. Wilson's overall game has drastically improved so far this year. David Legwand will most likely be centering his line, so it will be interesting to see how they mesh.

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