T he last time that the Columbus Blue Jackets won against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena, Greg Johnson was the captain of the Nashville Predators, the building was known as the Gaylord Entertainment Center and Chris Mason was the opposing goaltender.
The Blue Jackets last won in Nashville on April 3, 2006 – 5 years and 17 games ago.
“Not everyone’s been here for all of those games, but we’re all aware of it and we all know what’s going on,” Columbus defenseman Grant Clitsome said. “We’re ready to go tonight.”
The losing streak against Nashville, of course, is not all that is on the mind of Columbus’ players. After a horrendous 3-13-2 start put the Jackets solidly in the league basement, two points in the last three games has given the team at least a glimmer of hope.
“I think we’ve made a lot of strides in the right direction in a lot of areas of our game like our compete level and our attention to detail,” Clitsome said. “We look more composed and relaxed out there and I think that’s the big key.”
Columbus is actually 1-4-2 in one goal games on the season and 1-4 in two goal games. In 12 of 18 games, Columbus has been within two goals of the opposition.
“I don’t know how many games it felt like we outworked the opposition or outchanced the opposition and come out on the losing end,” Clitsome said. “Good teams find a way to win those games. It’s been a frustrating stretch for sure.”
With 8 points on the season, Columbus is 8 points behind Anaheim, the next closest Western Conference team. In spite of the rough start to the season, they are only 13 points behind the St. Louis Blues for the last playoff spot – and there are still 64 games to be played.
Many have reported that various Columbus players have sought trades and that Columbus coach Scott Arniel’s is essentially a lame duck coach, Clitsome disagrees and believes that the team has the ability to turn the season around.
“I think we have the team here to do it,” Clitsome said. “We all have faith in our coaching staff and our management, so I definitely think we have the tools to do it.”
For Columbus, a win against their Central Division rival at Bridgestone Arena would most likely be the springboard needed to turn the season around.