NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE (TICKER) —The Nashville Predators return from a four-game road trip Saturday night and begin a six-game homestand when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets Saturday in a matchup of the two worst teams in the Central Division.
Nashville went 1-2-1 on the trip, which included a 2-1 loss at Columbus prior to the All-Star break. The trip concluded Tuesday, when defenseman Kimmo Timonen and Denis Arkhipov scored 4:18 apart late in the third period as the Predators rallied from a three-goal deficit for a 5-5 tie with the Detroit Red Wings.
Defenseman Mark Eaton scored his first goal since January 28, 2002, a span of 43 games and center David Legwand set a new career high with his 14th goal of the season, which was one of Nashville’s three power-play tallies.
The Predators are now six power-play tallies away from tying the franchise record of 51 set in 2000-01 and left wing Andreas Johansson takes a five-game points streak into Saturday’s game.
Nashville and Columbus skated to a 1-1 tie here on November 16 and the Predators posted a 5-1 win in Ohio on January 6. The all-time series is tied at 6-6-1, and Nashville holds a 3-2-1 edge over Columbus here.
The Predators are 10-12-3 at the Gaylord Entertainment Center and are one point behind the Blue Jackets.
Columbus comes off a 2-0-2 homestand and is just 6-16-3-1 on the road.
Defenseman Darren Van Impe scored his first goal of the season with 2:36 left in the third period as the Blue Jackets rallied from a three-goal deficit and forged a 4-4 tie with the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday.
Van Impe, who signed as a free agent on January 20, had not scored since March 30, 2002 when he was with Florida. His goal against Vancouver was Columbus’ 10th shorthanded tally of the season, tying Detroit for the most in the NHL.