A pair of Central Division teams take the ice in the Buckeye State seeking to pick up a victory as the regular season winds down. The Nashville Predators are on the road as they face the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second game of a two-game set Wednesday night. In the first game of the set, it was the Predators skating off with a 4-3 overtime road victory Monday night to ensure no worse than a split. As far as the season series goes, the Predators have dominated things to the tune of a 6-1 series advantage. Can Columbus shake off their late-season doldrums and earn a victory on home ice in this contest?
Nashville Predators Trying to Lock Down Playoff SpotNashville won their second straight and their fourth in the last five games by winning on Monday night in the first game of this series. The Predators entered Tuesday fourth in the Central Division, 17 points behind Carolina for the division lead and four points ahead of Dallas for the final playoff spot though the Stars have one game in hand. Nashville is 21st in the league in goals for as they average 2.66 goals per game this year. The Predators are 15th in the league in goals-against as they allow an average of 2.81 goals a night. Nashville is 25th in power-play success as they successfully convert on 17.9% of their chances with the man advantage on the year. The Predators are a dismal 29th in the league in penalty killing as they manage to get through a paltry 75% of their shorthanded situations.
𝑹𝑶𝑴𝑨𝑵. 𝑱𝑶𝑺𝑰. pic.twitter.com/VSS2uitmwR— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) May 4, 2021
Against Columbus Monday night, the Predators nearly let one slip away before regrouping in overtime to get a critical victory. Nashville was outshot 11-10 in the opening period of play but skated off tied at zero after the opening 20 minutes of action. The second period saw the Predators with a 14-10 shot advantage and a 3-0 edge on the scoreboard to take a 3-0 lead after 40 minutes. Filip Forsberg opened the scoring with his 12th of the season at 9:01 off assists from Ryan Ellis and Ryan Johansen. Johansen gave Nashville a 2-0 lead with his sixth of the year, on the power play, at the 11:29 mark off assists from Eeli Tolvanen and Forsberg. Roman Josi extended to a 3-0 Predators edge with his seventh of the year at 19:16 off assists from Nick Cousins and Ryan Ellis. In the third period, Nashville was outshot 11-9 and outscored 3-0 to send the game to overtime. During the extra session, the Predators held a 5-0 shot advantage and lit the lamp to earn the victory. Josi scored his second of the game and eighth of the year at 3:24 off assists from Erik Haula and Calle Jarnkrok to win it. Juuse Saros made 29 saves for Nashville, who held a 38-32 edge in shots on goal, in the victory. He’s expected to be between the pipes again for this contest.
Columbus Blue Jackets Prepping for the Golf CourseColumbus salvaged a point thanks to their third-period rally but dropped to 3-13-5 in their last 21 games as they fell in overtime Monday night. The Blue Jackets entered Tuesday last in the Central Division, 33 points behind the Hurricanes for the division lead. They have been eliminated from playoff contention so they’re prepping to play golf for the offseason. Columbus is 29th in the league in goals for as they average 2.32 goals per contest. The Blue Jackets are 24th in goals against as they allow 3.26 goals a night on the year. Columbus stands 27th in the league in power-play success as they successfully convert on 14.9% of their chances with the man advantage. The Blue Jackets are tied for 15th in penalty killing as they successfully get through 79.9% of their shorthanded situations on the year.
In Monday’s game, the Blue Jackets used a late rally to force overtime but that was the best they could muster as they gave up the winner in the extra session. Columbus held an 11-10 edge in shots on goal in the opening period of play but skated off with the game scoreless after 20 minutes of play. In the second period, the Blue Jackets were outshot 14-10 and outscored 3-0 to trail by that margin after two periods of action. The final period saw Columbus with an 11-9 shot edge and they outscored Nashville 3-0 to knot things up and force overtime. Emil Bemstrom got the Blue Jackets on the board with his first of the season at 1:52 off assists from Michael Del Zotto and Jack Roslovic. Later in the period, Bemstrom got his second of the game and the season at 7:26 off assists from Mikhail Grigorenko and Del Zotto to make it a 3-2 game. Bemstrom struck again for his third of the night and the season to cap a hat trick at 15:07, on the power play, with assists going to Roslovic and Seth Jones, to tie things up. In the extra session, Columbus was outshot 5-0 and outscored 1-0 to take the OT loss. Elvis Merzlikins made 34 saves for the Blue Jackets, who were outshot 38-32, in the game. He’s expected to get the start in goal for this contest once again.
The top trends for this contest are:
- Predators are 8-1 in their last 9 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of less than .400
- Predators are 4-1 in their last 5 vs. Central Division foes
- Blue Jackets are 1-4 in their last 5 home games
- Blue Jackets are 1-4 in their last 5 Wednesday games
- Blue Jackets are 1-4 in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a losing road record
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
This is a battle between two teams with completely opposite situations at stake here. Nashville could conceivably clinch a playoff spot with a win here and a Dallas defeat. Meanwhile, Columbus has completely mailed it in over the last six weeks or so with only three wins in their last 21 games after a 13-12-7 start to the year. The Blue Jackets showed life in their third-period rally on Monday night but 20 minutes in a 60-minute game won’t carry you. Nashville has played well of late and they have momentum on their side. Give the upper hand to the Predators as they sweep the two-game set and earn the victory here.
Full-Game Total Pick
Nashville has seen the over go 22-25-6 in their games on the year. The Predators have seen an average of 5.47 goals per game this season in their games. Nashville sees that number edge up to 5.56 goals per game when they are the road team on the year. Columbus has seen the under go 26-24-3 in their contests this season. The Blue Jackets have an average total of 5.58 goals a night on the season. That number shifts upward to 6.04 goals per game as the home team this season. The seven previous meetings this season have produced four, seven, three, six, three, four and seven goals. It’s hard to have faith in another offensive bonanza like we saw Monday night as the Blue Jackets have been horrible offensively. This one winds up under the mark.