Trying for a fifth consecutive victory, the Predators also look to continue their home dominance over the Blue Jackets on Saturday night.
Nashville (40-26-5) reached the playoffs four straight seasons before falling short in 2008-09, but is doing all it can to return this year.
The Predators, who matched their win total from last season with a 5-0 home rout of Minnesota on Thursday, have won four in a row and are seventh in the Western Conference but one point out of fifth place.
Nashville hasn’t slipped at home against Columbus (29-31-11) in almost four years. The Predators have won 13 in a row over the Blue Jackets in Nashville— the NHL’s longest active home winning streak against a single opponent—since losing 3-1 on April 3, 2006.
While Nashville has outscored Columbus 50-26 during that run, it’s needed a pair 4-3 shootout victories to beat the Blue Jackets at Bridgestone Arena this season. Eleven of the teams’ 12 meetings overall have been decided by two goals or less, prompting Nashville coach Barry Trotz to be cautious going into this contest.
“We’re trying to look forward and trying to see what will happen at the end of the game,” said Trotz, whose team is 4-1-0 versus the Blue Jackets this season. “We’re focusing on Saturday. It will be a good test for us.”
Pekka Rinne(notes) was not tested often against Minnesota, stopping 17 shots for his fifth shutout of the season and second in four starts. Rinne, who has a 1.22 goals-against average during his four-game winning streak, is 4-0-0 with a 2.83 GAA at home versus the Blue Jackets.
Erat has three goals and three assists in four games versus Columbus this season.
Though the Blue Jackets are second-to-last in the West and on the verge of missing the playoffs, they’ve won two in a row and four of five after rallying for a 4-2 home win over the Wild on Friday.
After missing four games with a lower-body injury, captain Rick Nash(notes) had two goals and Kristian Huselius(notes) scored in his third straight game as Columbus posted four unanswered goals after trailing 2-0.
“We’re making the right moves. Obviously, it’s a bit late,” Nash said. “Momentum from the end of this year can really carry on to next year.”
Huselius scored one of his 20 goals and added three assists against the Predators this season.