A trip to Nashville would normally be deflating for a Columbus club that has struggled all season long on the road and is in danger of losing four in a row for the first time since the start of the season.
The Blue Jackets, though, were able to snap an epic slide at Bridgestone Arena last month and look to solve the Predators again in the Music City this evening.
Columbus carried a 17-game series road losing streak into an away meeting with Nashville back on Nov. 19 and seemed to be snake bitten again when the Predators scored a game-tying goal with 5:36 left in regulation. Fortunately, first-year Blue Jackets defenseman James Wisniewski had an answer, scoring at the 2:43 mark of overtime to lift Columbus to its first victory in Nashville since April 3, 2006.
That victory was also the first for the Blue Jackets on the road this year after an 0-7-1 start, but Columbus hasn't done much damage as the visiting club since. It is coming off a 6-4 setback in St. Louis on Sunday that dropped the team's overall record on the road this year to 3-10-2.
Mark Letestu had given the Blue Jackets a one-goal lead, but the Blues scored four times in the third period. Derick Brassard and Derek MacKenzie added goals and Fedor Tyutin matched a career high with three assists in defeat.
"We've let a few slide in the third period and we've got to learn from it. You'd think that we already have learned from it and we obviously haven't," said Columbus forward Derek Dorsett, who also scored in defeat.
Steve Mason gave up five goals on 33 shots to take the loss, the Blue Jackets' third in a row and fifth in six games. They haven't lost four straight since a season-opening 0-7-1 rut.
Sunday's game began a stretch that sees Columbus play four of five and eight of 10 on the road.
The Blue Jackets have dropped a pair of home games this season to the Predators, who have won six of the past eight meetings overall and are 28-5-3 in this series since 2006-07. Nashville will try to continue that winning trend this evening after having a five-game win streak snapped with Tuesday's 4-1 defeat at Washington.
Anders Lindback surrendered four goals on 23 shots in defeat, including a pair in the first period. It marked the first time in Nashville's last 11 games that the outcome wasn't decided by a single goal.
"We just didn't give enough (goal) support for Lindy," Nashville head coach Barry Trotz said. "When it was 2-1, we had lots of chances to tie it up, and we didn't."
Nashville has gotten plenty of production from its blue line versus Columbus this year, with Ryan Suter logging a goal and five assists in the three meetings and Weber adding four helpers. Mike Fisher and Colin Wilson have two goals each in the season series.
Rick Nash and Jeff Carter have combined for three goals and nine points versus the Predators this year. Columbus' two top offensive threats skated on different lines for the first time this season on Sunday.