The surging Nashville Predators have played themselves into the thick of the playoff race.

Though set to miss the postseason for a fourth straight year, the Columbus Blue Jackets have fared well of late.

Amid a 10-game point streak and looking for their sixth consecutive road victory, the Predators look to keep the host Blue Jackets from a fourth win in five games Saturday.

Nashville has outscored opponents 44-19 during its 9-0-1 stretch that has propelled the club to the top of the wild-card standings in the Western Conference. After their eight-game winning streak ended with Tuesday’s 4-3 overtime home loss to Montreal, the Predators bounced back to post a 4-2 home victory against Buffalo on Thursday.

“When we do things that make us successful, that recipe that we do it with, we’re a pretty good team,” Nashville coach Andrew Brunette said. “And, I think we proved that over the last 10 games.”

Star Filip Forsberg continues to pace the Predators’ success and has been one of the NHL’s best while posting seven goals and five assists during a seven-game point streak. Forsberg recorded his ninth career hat trick Thursday in topping the 30-goal mark for a fourth time.

“When (Forsberg) gets going like that … he puts the power forward and skill comes behind it, and that’s a deadly combination,” Brunette added.

Forsberg, however, has just five points in 12 career games at Columbus.

As these teams enter their first season meeting, Nashville tries for its first six-game road winning streak since 2018-19 but is 0-2-1 in the last three trips to Columbus.

The Blue Jackets’ 54 points are tied for last in the East, but they’ve totaled 18 goals during their current 3-1-0 stretch, which includes victories over playoff contenders Vegas and Edmonton. In one of its most impressive performances of the season Thursday, Columbus scored three times in the first period en route to a 4-2 home victory that snapped the Oilers’ five-game winning streak.

“We’re seeing the team that is getting more confident,” Columbus coach Pascal Vincent said.

“There’s no perfect (system), but when they start playing for each other, executing the system, all five guys on the ice at a time, it becomes a good system and becomes a good team.”

The Blue Jackets’ Jack Roslovic has a goal in two straight games, and 13 points in his last 12. He’s posted six points in his last eight games versus Nashville.

Columbus rookie Dmitri Voronkov snapped a five-game point drought with his 17th goal. Goaltender Daniil Tarasov has stopped 65 of 70 shots in winning his last two starts.

Meanwhile, Nashville’s Juuse Saros has a 1.75 goals-against average and .940 save percentage during his 7-0-1 starting stretch. Backup Kevin Lankinen has stopped 52 of the 57 shots he’s faced while winning each of his last two starts — both on the road.

Veteran forward Anthony Beauvillier, with four goals and 10 assists in 45 games this season, could make his Predators debut after being acquired from Chicago on Thursday.

–Field Level Media

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