Nashville Predators vs. Columbus Blue Jackets Pick & Prediction APRIL 13th 2024

The Nashville Predators will look to create more breathing room in the Western Conference wild-card race when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night.

The Predators (46-29-5, 97 points) hold a three-point edge over the Vegas Golden Knights for the top wild-card spot.

Nashville had lost five of its previous seven games before a 5-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday.

Filip Forsberg recorded his 10th career hat trick, and Luke Evangelista added two assists for the Predators.

Forsberg’s three goals boosted his total to 46, setting a single-season franchise record in Nashville and passing Matt Duchene’s previous mark of 43 goals.

“He’s just a Preds legend. It’s awesome this year to see it with him — his creativity — he’s got some of the most skill I’ve seen on the ice,” Evangelista told Bally Sports South about Forsberg. “Just the way his hands and feet are connected — he’s super impressive. He’s a great guy to watch and learn from.”

Forsberg has five goals and three assists over his last five games, while Ryan O’Reilly has one and five, respectively, over that same span.

Goaltender Juuse Saros, who didn’t travel to Chicago for Friday’s game, is 34-23-5 this season with a 2.82 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage. In 12 career appearances against the Jackets, he is 8-3-0 with a 2.19 GAA and a .931 save percentage.

Saturday will be the Predators’ final regular-season home game. They will conclude the regular season in Pittsburgh on Monday.

“We don’t want to lose the momentum we have here, especially at this time of the year; it’s hard to keep, so we can’t let our foot off the gas,” Evangelista said. “(Friday night) could’ve easily been a trap game, but we didn’t fall into it, and we’re going to try to do the same thing (on Saturday).”

The Predators posted a 2-1 win over the host Blue Jackets on March 9 in the only other meeting between the teams this season.

Columbus (26-42-12, 64 points) has lost three straight games and is 3-9-1 over its last 13.

The Jackets enter Saturday’s contest following a 4-0 setback to the Florida Panthers on Thursday. Columbus has dropped 10 in a row on the road (0-9-1).

“That is a heavy team,” Blue Jackets coach Pascal Vincent said of Nashville. “That is a team that can do a lot of damage in the playoffs. … Heavy, heavy forechecking team. That game was a fight along the walls. We didn’t win enough of the battles.”

Defenseman Zach Werenski has two goals and three assists over his last five games while forward Kirill Marchenko has three tallies in his last five.

Goaltender Jet Greaves is 2-5-0 in seven games this season with a 3.18 GAA and a .916 save percentage. If the 23-year-old rookie goalie gets the nod on Saturday, it would be his first career start against the Predators.

“The one thing that Jet does is he doesn’t give up any easy goals,” Vincent said. “So far, what I’ve seen, the goals that go in are great shots, rebounds — all the saves that he has to make, he makes them. He’s playing really well.”

–Field Level Media

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