Menu

Hockey

Blue Jackets open homestand versus Predators

After earning a split in a four-game road trip, the Columbus Blue Jackets will try to get a lengthy homestand started on the right foot, as they host the Nashville Predators tonight at Nationwide Arena.

The Blue Jackets went 2-2 on their recent swing, posting shootout victories in Calgary and Montreal and getting dealt regulation losses in Vancouver and Edmonton. Columbus closed the trek on Tuesday with a 3-2 decision over the Canadiens, giving the Jackets their second win in three games this month.

Rick Nash scored in the second round of the shootout to lift the Blue Jackets past the Habs. R.J. Umberger had a goal and an assist for Columbus, Vinny Prospal also lit the lamp and Curtis Sanford made 18 saves for the victors.

The Blue Jackets could have won the game in regulation, but Brian Gionta scored with 1:21 left in the third with Montreal goaltender Carey Price pulled for the extra attacker.

"We had some chances but unfortunately a bounce off our guy went right to Gionta for the tying goal," Umberger said. "Some plays like that you can't help."

The Blue Jackets are 5-7-1 as the home team this season. They will also host Boston, Vancouver, Los Angeles and Tampa Bay during this residency. Nashville is 8-6-1 as the visiting team this season.

The Predators, who are fourth in the Central Division and nine points ahead of last-place Columbus, have not played well in recent weeks. Nashville has lost two straight, three of four and seven of its last nine outings.

Barry Trotz's club lost both tests in a recent two-game homestand in the Music City, dropping a pair of 3-2 regulation decisions to Buffalo and Phoenix. Keith Yandle's tally with 1:45 left in the third period lifted the Coyotes to the win at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday.

Jack Hillen and Shea Weber provided the offense for the Predators, while Pekka Rinne yielded three goals on 35 shots in defeat.

"It's a tough stretch," Hillen said. "Nobody feels good about it right now."

Nashville forward Jordin Tootoo will serve the final portion of a two-game suspension tonight. Tootoo was given the ban for running Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller on Saturday.

Predators defenseman Francis Bouillon is questionable for tonight after sitting out the previous five games with a sore groin.

The Blue Jackets and Predators have split a pair of meetings this year with each club winning a game on the road. Nashville has won five of the last seven encounters overall and has taken two of three in Columbus.