Columbus Blue Jackets (32-26-5) at Nashville Predators (26-27-10)
|Date & Time||Saturday March 8, 2014, 8:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Nashville Predators -105 / Columbus Blue Jackets -105 --- Over/Under: 5.5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Predators look to end their three game slide as they host the Blue Jackets on Saturday night who are setting their sights on a playoff berth.
The Blue Jackets made the jump from the West to the East this season and many thought it was going to be the step necessary to make them a playoff contender and while they are in the hunt for one of the final spots things haven’t panned out the way many had hoped in Columbus. The Jackets currently sit in ninth place in the East and are two points back of the Red Wings for the final playoff spot but will be in tough against a frustrated Predators team who has lost three straight games despite having starting goalie Pekka Rinne back between the pipes. Columbus made a surprise move by dealing Marian Gaborik to the Kings in exchange for Matt Frattin and some picks which to me makes sense in the long run by indicates that they aren’t necessarily committed to getting into the playoffs this year.
The Predators are a team who won’t be heading to the playoffs this season and while you can’t attribute their futility to one single factor I think the absence of Rinne between the pipes has been massive. Nashville is still reeling after losing Ryan Suter to free agency a couple seasons ago and seeing him thrive in Minnesota must be frustrating for Predators fans but he wasn’t the only one who skipped town and the fall out from sudden departures has left Nashville scraping by. While these teams have different ambitions this season they are relatively close in terms of talent but the urgency will be there for the Blue Jackets whereas the playoffs have been all but wiped away in Nashville so I think the more desperate team will get the win here despite playing on the road.