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Juuso Parssinen looks for history as Predators meet Jackets

Dec 13, 2022; Nashville, Tennessee, USA;  Nashville Predators center Juuso Parssinen (75) skates against the Edmonton Oilers during the first period at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Juuso Parssinen wasn’t with the Nashville Predators when they faced the Columbus Blue Jackets earlier this season.

On Tuesday night, the promising rookie could make club history when the Predators host the struggling Blue Jackets.

One of the more positive aspects of what’s been a rather frustrating season for Nashville has been Parssinen. The Finnish center, who turns 22 on Feb. 1, has totaled 18 points in 29 games since making his NHL debut on Nov. 12 — a game in which he scored a goal against the New York Rangers.

With a first-period goal in the Predators’ 2-1 home victory over the Calgary Flames on Monday, Parssinen has tallied two goals with seven assists during a seven-game point streak. That ties him with star Filip Forsberg for the longest point streak by a rookie in Nashville history and opens the door for Parssinen to claim the record for himself on Tuesday.

“Of course I have confidence right now, but I didn’t know (about tying the club record),” Parssinen told Bally Sports South. “But I only care about winning.

“We needed this win (Monday).”

The result snapped Nashville’s three-game losing streak. Now the Predators will try to win back-to-back home games for the first time since Nov. 21 and Nov. 29.

The Blue Jackets, meanwhile, will look to snap a six-game losing streak (0-5-1) in games at Nashville, having totaled only eight goals in those contests.

Johnny Gaudreau scored twice during Columbus’ 5-3 home win over the Predators in the pre-Parssinen era on Oct. 20. Gaudreau, though, was held without a point for the fourth time in six games on Monday as the Blue Jackets took a 3-1 home loss to the New York Rangers.

Though Columbus has lost 13 of its past 16 overall, it does have a rare chance to win back-to-back road games for the first time this season following Saturday’s 4-3 victory at Detroit. Tied with Chicago for the fewest road victories (three) in the league, the Blue Jackets last won consecutive games away from home on early April 2022.

“Forget about (Monday), take some lessons, take what we can out of it and be ready to go (Tuesday) in Nashville,” said Columbus defenseman Andrew Peeke, who scored his fourth goal of the season Monday.

The Blue Jackets’ Elvis Merzlikins (4.44 goals-against average) made 30 saves against the Rangers. It’s uncertain if teammate Joonas Korpisalo, who allowed six goals against the Carolina Hurricanes in his most recent start on Thursday, will be available on Tuesday after missing the past two games due to personal reasons.

Columbus’ Daniil Tarasov, who has yielded four goals in three of his past four starts, could be an option Tuesday.

Nashville’s Juuse Saros (2.68 GAA) was stout during his 38-save performance against the Flames on Monday, earning his 16th win. However, in this back-to-back scenario, Kevin Lankinen could be in the Predators’ net on Tuesday. Lankinen made 30 saves during a 3-2 road victory over the Washington Capitals in his most recent start on Jan. 6.

Lankinen, who was sidelined recently due to an illness, stopped 37 shots against the Blue Jackets in October.

–Field Level Media

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