GAME DAY: Nashville

Playoff hopes still hang in the balance as Columbus faces another must-win

Friday, 04.26.2013 / 7:00 PM / News
By Rob Mixer  -

BLUE JACKETS (23-17-7) VS. PREDATORS (16-22-9)




So, it all comes down to this.

After a frantic sprint of 47 games in the last 97 days, the Blue Jackets have one more opportunity to give themselves the best chance at a Stanley Cup playoff berth. Though they will require some assistance from either of Minnesota's final two regular season opponents (Edmonton and Colorado) or the Dallas Stars, the first item on the agenda is taking care of business one final time when they face Nashville at Nationwide Arena.

Tied in points (53) with the Wild and sitting one back of the Red Wings entering the final day of play in the Western Conference, getting two points of their own is the No. 1 priority for the Blue Jackets, who have become quite the story around the NHL by getting into playoff contention after a 5-12-2 start to the season. On Mar. 1, the Blue Jackets were sitting at the bottom of the conference and fighting frustration over losing a bevy of one-goal games, but they quickly turned the page and started this remarkable run to make Saturday entertaining.

A regulation victory for the Blue Jackets - if they can attain it - will be only the first in a series of dramatic moments around the organization and its fan community. Dallas and Detroit square off at American Airlines Center at the same time Columbus gets started with Nashville, and the Wild also have to close out their regular season on the road against the Colorado Avalanche.

The Blue Jackets have had to get their work done on the road in order to stay in the race, and their win in Dallas secured a 5-1-0 road trip that started two weeks ago in Minnesota and ended Thursday night in north Texas. As has been the case all season long, Columbus received contributions from all four lines and got goals from its most consistent offensive performers, namely Mark Letestu and Vinny Prospal who led the way on the scoresheet.

If the magical ride they've been on is to continue, they will need one more clutch performance on Saturday to improve their odds of reaching the postseason.

- This is (obviously) the final meeting of the season between the two teams. The Blue Jackets won the most recent match-up at Bridgestone Arena on Apr. 4 (a 3-1 victory) as well as the last at Nationwide Arena on Mar. 19.

- The Predators had a rough go-around in their last outing, which was a 5-2 loss to the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. Nashville grabbed two early leads in the first period but could not hold on against a Detroit club that is fighting for its playoff life.

- It's not yet known whether Artem Anisimov (upper body) will be able to return to the Blue Jackets lineup on Saturday. He has been skating on his own the past few days but has yet to rejoin the club for a full practice.

- The goaltending match-up is scheduled to be Bobrovsky vs. Chris Mason.

At the game

BLUE JACKETS FAN APPRECIATION NIGHT: tonight's festivities, presented by FOX Sports Ohio, include pre-game activities on Front Street Plaza starting at 5 p.m. and poster giveaway for all fans. CLICK HERE FOR MORE

CBJ Student Rush: There will be no tickets available on-line for Saturday's game vs. Nashville. Rush tickets go on sale at the Big Lots Box Office. CLICK HERE FOR MORE

  • The goal tonight for the 50/50 Raffle presented by Coldwell Banker for the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation is $20,000!! Can you dig it?
  • The Memorabilia Raffle features a Team Signed Stick and Team Signed Replica Jersey at the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation Kiosk at Section 111
  • For those who want to donate to #CBJMOTB – we can take cash, check or credit card
  • Bobrovsky Silent Auction Package – Bobrovsky signed Blue Jackets replica jersey, stick and puck
  • Get your Blue Jackets Foundation Hats for Heroes Merchandise, including player signed hats, for only $30

  • Craig Smith
    LEFT WING | #15
    2012-13 STATS: 4-8-12, 43 GP

    Smith was one of two Predators to get on the scoreboard in their last outing in Detroit, and the Wisconsin product welcomed the sight as he's struggled offensively in his sophomore NHL season. He has company in that department with this Nashville club, but coming off a 14-goal rookie campaign, it's safe to say both Smith and the Predators expected better this year. But he has shown the abilty to score goals with a very good wrist shot and offensive instincts, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see a better season from Smith in 2013-14.

    COLUMBUS: Artem Anisimov (upper body), questionable; Nikita Nikitin (lower body), out





    1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
    2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
    3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
    4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
    5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
    6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
    7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
    8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
    9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
    10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
    11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
    12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
    13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
    14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
    15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
    16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52


    2013-2014 PLAYOFFS
    SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
    J. Johnson 1 1 1 0 2
    D. MacKenzie 1 1 0 0 1
    M. Letestu 1 1 0 1 1
    B. Dubinsky 1 0 1 1 1
    B. Jenner 1 0 1 -1 1
    F. Tyutin 1 0 0 -1 0
    J. Wisniewski 1 0 0 0 0
    B. Comeau 1 0 0 -1 0
    N. Nikitin 1 0 0 0 0
    J. Skille 1 0 0 -1 0
    S. Bobrovsky 0 1 0 .875 4.07
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