Another huge inter divisional game for both these teams as the Winnipeg Jets and Nashville Predators hook up for the third time this season. These teams are coming off similar games with opposite results, both teams played one of the best teams in the NHL Wednesday, but the game was very different. The Jets were beaten by the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 in a game that was somewhat back and fourth but never really in doubt. On the otherside of the coin the Nashville Predators took on the Colorado Avalanche and handed them only their second loss of the season. Though the Avs put up a fight and came back from a 2 goal defecit to tie the game in the third, the Predators showed a lot by staying composed and earning the W. The Preds have taken both of the first two match ups this season and Winnipeg will be looking to respond on home ice.
Its safe to say the Predators have been a pleasant surprise, especially with the injury to Pekka Rinne. The Preds have carried on, on the back of rookie Carter Hutton. Hutton an unknown before the season started has been good. With only 1 regulation loss thus far in his 6 games, Hutton has not been spectacular but he does enough to get the Predators the W. The team around him helps out, especially with the strength of their blue line. This is a team built from the back end out, the offense is still a work in progress but they are getting it done. Though Nashville is not considered one of the elite teams in the Central division at this point, they are on their way and not so far off.
Looking into the rear view mirror a little bit, the Jets put forward their most dissapointing and arguably worst performance of the season the last time Nashville came to town, a 3-1 Predators win. Since then the Jets have shown much better against many really good teams, but they have also had their bad games, so the roller coaster just continues. After their 4-1 loss in Chicago Wednesday, look for Ondrej Pavelec to make his return after giving way to Al Montoya the last two games. Though Montoya played well, Pavelec is still the undisputed number 1, and hopefully getting a little bit of a push from Montoya, serves Pavelec well. At his best Ondrej Pavelec can steal a game from any team in the league, but he is just as inconsistent as the rest of team. Evander Kane will most likely make his return Fridat as well, he has also missed the last two games with an undisclosed injury. There was a hope he would return in Chicago but was held out. Kane adds so much to this team, not only offensivley as it was in the past but now on the penalty kill and defensively as well. They will need it all if the Jets hope to turn it around.
Get the points when you can: Though no game is easy in the NHL, in the current stretch the Jets are in this may be their easiest. Hawks twice, Wings twice, and the Sharks are all part of this stretch, so it makes this game against the Preds, who are a good team, but not on the same level as the rest, even more important.
Power Play: The power play has been brutal plain and simple, the Jets may not have the staff to be an elite power play team but they need to produce now and then. The Jets need to find goals and that is a chance they need to take advantage of.
Pavelec: He needs to be their best player for the Jets to win on most nights. He has had time off so no excuses Friday.
Ondrej Pavelec (4-6-2) GAA: 2.87 SV% .909
Carter Hutton (4-1-1) GAA: 2.94 SV% .908
Trouba WPG, (neck) out
Slater WPG, (lower body) out
Postma WPG, (blood clot) out
Stuart WPG, (hip) out
Kane WPG, (lower body) day-to-day
Fisher NAS, (lower body injury) day-to-day
Hendricks NAS, (upper body injury) day-to-day
Rinne NAS, (hip) out
Jets don’t disappoint the home crowd
Jets 5 Predators 3
Become an MVP with Winnipeg Whiteout and never miss a thing.