Preds host Blue Jackets in Central Division battle

A pair of Central Division inhabitants go at it again game homestand versus the Columbus Blue Jackets at Bridgestone Arena.

The Predators opened the 2011-12 season with a 3-2 win at Columbus on Oct. 7 thanks to goals from Ryan Suter, Craig Smith and Matt Halischuk. Pekka Rinne stopped 32-of-34 shots in net for Nashville, which took four of six meetings with the Blue Jackets a season ago and has won three straight and 12 of the previous 16 matchups between the teams.

Columbus has lost 17 straight and 20 of its last 21 games in Nashville and is only 2-26-1 in its last 29 games as the guest in this series.

Nashville improved to 10-5-3 on the season with a convincing 4-1 win versus Toronto and is 2-0-1 on a five-game homestand. Martin Erat scored twice and Rinne made 38 saves, helping the Predators to a 4-2-2 record as the host this season. Ryan Suter and Matt Halischuk also scored in the win, Nashville's seventh over the past 10 games.

"I think we did a good job defensively even though they had 39 shots. They didn't have that many great chances," said Rinne, who has started all but one of Nashville's 18 games this season.

The Predators will close out the residency on Tuesday versus Edmonton. Preds veteran center David Legwand is expected to miss Saturday's game with an upper body issue and hasn't played since Nov. 8 at Los Angeles. He owns 14 points this season.

Columbus is still searching for its first road win of the season and is 0-7-1 away from Nationwide Arena. It is coming off Thursday's 2-1 loss in a shootout at Boston, as David Krejci scored the decisive goal in the third round of the shootout to lead the defending Stanley Cup champions to the win.

Derek MacKenzie scored and Curtis Sanford stopped 26 shots for Columbus, which has lost two straight and five of its last six games. The Blue Jackets are last in the NHL with just eight points on the year.

"We did a lot of really good things out there. I'm proud of the way the guys battled," said Columbus head coach Scott Arniel.

Sanford last started an NHL game for Vancouver on January 10, 2009. The Blue Jackets are 3-3-1 when scoring the first goal of the game and went 1-for-3 on the power play in Boston. It has registered power-play goals in three of the last four games.