Fri, 05 Mar 2021

Predators look to keep momentum rolling vs. Blue Jackets

Field Level Media
16 Jan 2021, 08:05 GMT+10

The Nashville Predators are bidding to build off a fast start while playing six of their first eight games of the season in Music City.

After hitting a high note in the season opener, the Predators look to defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second time in three days on Saturday when the clubs reconvene in Nashville, Tenn.

Filip Forsberg scored the go-ahead goal on a 2-on-1 rush at 5:48 of the third period of the Predators' 3-1 win on Thursday. The 26-year-old Swede's 167th career goal moved him past former Nashville captain Shea Weber into second place on the franchise's all-time list, trailing only David Legwand (210).

"I thought the offense really kicked in and we got a couple longer shifts down there and played our best hockey in the third," said Forsberg, who led the team with 21 goals last season.

"Obviously, that's something that we want to continue doing throughout the season, and I thought it was a good start."

A good start was also had by offseason additions Luke Kunin, Erik Haula and Brad Richardson.

Kunin, who was acquired in a trade from the Minnesota Wild in October, paid immediate dividends on the two-year, $4.6 million contract he signed last week. He scored on a 2-on-1 rush in the second period on Thursday.

"It was a great effort by the guys (on Thursday)," Kunin said. "It's good to get that first win, and for me, it's nice to get that first one out of the way."

Haula, who notched an assist on Kunin's goal, split time with the Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers in 2019-20.

Richardson set up Forsberg's goal in his first game since signing a one-year contract in October.

Nashville also recorded 20 blocked shots to continue its mastery of Columbus when the teams tangle in Tennessee. The Predators boast a sterling 36-9-1 in 46 all-time home games versus the Blue Jackets.

Boone Jenner scored on a breakaway midway into the first period for the Blue Jackets, who struggled to ignite their offense last season. Columbus tied the San Jose Sharks for the fourth-fewest goals in the league with 180.

Pierre-Luc Dubois, who led the Blue Jackets in assists (31) and points (49) in 2019-20, registered just one shot in his first game since publicly declaring his desire to be traded. That request came after the 22-year-old signed a two-year, $10 million contract last month.

"(We need a) more consistent effort offensively," Columbus coach John Tortorella said. "I can name you the guys, but you know who they are, but we have to get more out of those guys. I just can't have one line going and expect to go through a 60-minute hockey game and score some goals."

With that, Tortorella said he wasn't interested in overreacting to just one loss.

"Guys, it's not like we got spanked here (on Thursday)," Tortorella said. "We have some things we need to get better at. ... We're gonna have to put together a more consistent effort."

Elvis Merzlikins is expected to get the nod in goal for the Blue Jackets on Saturday.

--Field Level Media

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