Cal O’Reilly #16 of the Nashville Predators tries to get around Derick Brassard #16 of the Columbus Blue Jackets. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images North America)

 Tonight is the night that Predators fans have been waiting for since the Predators 2nd round disappointment of last year, and that’s the 1st Predators regular season game of the 2011-2012 season. Tonight the Predators travel to Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena.

Tonight’s opponent for the Predators, the Columbus Blue Jackets, have had a very interesting offseason, going out and picking up veterans like Jeff Carter , James Wisniewski , and Vinny Prospal. With Carter, and Wisniewski joining the mix, it will upgrade the offense that was 3rd worst in goals scored in the Western Conference last season. As you might know, James Wisniewski was suspended for 12 games for an elbow to the head to Minnesota Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck during this preseason. This means it will give rookie David Savard a chance to play tonight for the Jackets. On the other side of free agency, they would end up losing players like Jakub Voracek, Scottie Upshall, Sami Lepisto, and Jan Hejda.

For the latest updates for this game, the Predators are scratching Niclas Bergfors and Mattias Ekholm. Mike Fisher and Francis Bouillon are still on the injury report for the Predators. The Blue Jackets will scratch Maksim Mayorov, and on the injury list for the Blue Jackets are former Predators Mark Dekanich, Kristian Huselius, and Jared Boll. As expected,  Pekka Rinne vs Steve Mason is the goaltender matchup tonight’s game.

The 3 keys to for tonight’s game are as follows. The first is to stay out of the penalty box. With Rick Nash, Jeff Carter, and RJ Umberger on the 2 powerplay units for the Jackets, it’s deadly to give them any chances to put the puck in the net. The 2nd key to the game is good goaltending for the Predators. In over half of the games the Predators squared off against the Blue Jackets, the Predators gave up over 30 shots with the Blue Jackets. And the last key to the game is shoot, shoot, and shoot. It’s the only way to put points up on the board. So get it done Predators.


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