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The series between the Nashville Predators and Columbus Blue Jackets has been one-sided since it began. Over the last two seasons, the Predators have dominated it almost completely.
Nashville visits Nationwide Arena on Friday in the opener of a home-and-home set between the Central Division foes.
The Predators (2-2-0) have won 15 of the last 16 matchups with the Blue Jackets (1-2-0), the one loss in that span coming in a shootout at Nationwide last season. Nashville outscored Columbus 25-12 in eight meetings in 2007-08, shutting the Blue Jackets out in the final two games.
The Predators are 32-9-3 with one tie all-time against the Blue Jackets, and 14-6-2 in Columbus.
The Predators will be looking to bounce back after a 6-4 loss to Dallas on Wednesday. Radek Bonk, Martin Erat, Patric Hornqvist and Ryan Jones scored their first goals of the season, with Erat's goal midway through the third period tying the game at 4. Dallas scored less than six minutes later, however, and went on to add an empty net goal.
"It's disappointing," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "I didn't think we played a particularly great game, but we found a way to come back. When we get four goals, we've got to get a point in the hockey game. We were short in coverage on a number of their goals."
Dan Ellis recorded 22 saves in his fourth start of the season. He faced the Blue Jackets twice last season and recorded the two shutouts that closed the teams' season series, on March 25 and 28.
Wednesday was the Predators' first game without center Jason Arnott, who's expected to be sidelined for both games of this series because of a fractured finger on his right hand. Arnott, who led Nashville with 72 points in 2007-08, has two goals and four points this season and is expected to miss three games with the injury.
J.P. Dumont, who will be called upon to help fill the offensive void left by Arnott's absence, was held without a point for the first time this season Wednesday. He has five assists and is still looking for his first goal after leading the Predators with 29 last season. Dumont had three goals and six assists against Columbus in 2007-08.
Friday is the home opener for the Blue Jackets, who have been unable to build on a season-opening 5-4 win over Dallas, losing 3-1 at Phoenix last week and 5-2 at San Jose on Tuesday.
The Blue Jackets had a 2-1 second-period lead against the Sharks on goals by Kristian Huselius and Christian Backman, but San Jose scored twice more in the period and added two goals early in the third. Columbus' Pascal Leclaire was pulled after allowing the fifth goal and backup Fredrik Norrena saw his first action of the season, playing the final 11:43.
"We didn't communicate very well," Leclaire said. "It happened too many times tonight. It's no biggie. We'll bounce back and forget about this one. There are just too many games in a season to worry about this one."
One positive Columbus took away from the loss was that it cut down on penalties. San Jose had only two power-play opportunities compared to the seven that both Dallas and Phoenix had. The Blue Jackets, meanwhile, were 2-for-6 with the man advantage after going 1-for-7 the previous two games.
Columbus, which was 20-14-7 at home last season, finishes up the two-game series with Nashville at Gaylord Entertainment Center on Saturday.
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