Welcome back to The Warmup.
Here, you'll get everything you need to know – including keys to the game, where to watch and listen, and more – before the Blue Jackets meet the Nashville Predators for the first time this season, on Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena.
The Blue Jackets didn't start this four-game road trip on a happy note (no pun intended), falling 6-3 to the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night. After an encouraging first period, the final 40 minutes were quite forgettable and Columbus had trouble keeping up with a Blues attack that came in waves.
Where to watch, listen and stream tonight's game...
WHO: Blue Jackets (12-7-0) vs. Predators (11-9-1)
WHERE: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tenn.
WHEN: 8 p.m. ET
TV: Bally Sports Columbus (Jeff Rimer, Jody Shelley)
RADIO: 105.7 FM (Bob McElligott, Dylan Tyrer)
STREAM: ESPN+ (out of market only)
The Blue Jackets have won 12 of their first 19 games, which has given Brad Larsen an opportunity to get a read on his team through good times and bad–though, to start, mostly good.
At this point, it's clear who the Blue Jackets want to be: a hard-working, fast-skating team that's relentless in all three zones. Is that aspirational? Maybe. But for this young group that is eager to prove the experts wrong, perhaps it's not the worst thing to strive for. On many nights–particularly at Nationwide Arena–they check a lot of those "identity" boxes.
Coming off a disappointing showing on Saturday, Columbus continues its tour of the old Central Division with a showdown in Music City. Remember, a decade or so ago, when the Blue Jackets made four visits to Nashville each season? Those were, to put it lightly, not-so-fun times.
ALL-TIME: Shield your eyes. The Blue Jackets are 29-53-13 in 95 regular-season meetings with the Predators, including a 9-33-7 record at Bridgestone Arena. Columbus went 2-5-1 against Nashville in the pandemic-shortened 2020-21 season when both teams played in the new Central Division, but did not win a road game in the series.
KEYS TO THE GAME
What do the Blue Jackets need to do to win tonight? We're glad you asked.
- Three Periods: One period isn't enough, as the Blue Jackets found out (the hard way) on Saturday in St. Louis. Their slim 1-0 evaporated in a matter of minutes and the same can happen tonight; their strong, committed style of play can't come in fits and starts. It has to arrive on time and stay for the duration.
- Keep It 5-on-5: Yes, the Blue Jackets have a stout penalty kill that's managed to cash in with shorthanded goals of late, but you really don't want to give good power plays more chances than necessary. The Predators' power play has been hot out of the gate, and they have potted a few against Columbus in this building over the years. Larsen's liked his team's 5-on-5 game lately, and for good reason.
- Deck, Shuffled: How will these new-look Blue Jackets lines fare in their maiden voyage? Larsen has been patient, barely tinkering with his lineup through the season's first 19 games. It seemed as though he'd reached a tipping point with a rather-lousy offensive effort on Friday against Vancouver, and then the total meltdown a night later against the Blues. Sometimes, though, change is good.
From the head coach...