Another new division rival enters Winnipeg for the first time Sunday evening as the Nashville Predators take on the Winnipeg Jets. The Jets are coming off a highly emotional game in which they saw their young blossoming star be taken off on a stretcher. Winnipeg was able to overcome this incident and come back from a two goal third period deficit and beat one of the best teams in the Western Conference 4-3 in a shootout. On the other side of the rink, the Predators come to Winnipeg on the second half of a back to back after beating the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 last night.
Nashville will be the fourth Central division opponent for the Jets, and another challenge. The Predators strength is in their back end. Led by Shea Webber this team is one of the stronger defensive teams in the league. Webber, a projected team Canada top defence man, is joined this year by the emerging play of rookie Seth Jones. Taken third overall, Jones has already come out as one of the strengths of this team, he is strong on the back end and adds a scoring kick from the blue line, even scoring the game winner in Montreal with under 3 minutes to play last night. The Predators biggest strength however may be sitting on the bench in Winnipeg as it appears Pekka Rinne, the Preds franchise and Vezna calibre goaltender will get the night off. This is something that the Jets will surely have to take advantage of.
Winnipeg showed Friday what they are capable of doing against a top opponent against the St. Louis Blues, or at least for 10 minutes or so. Winnipeg turned on the burners in the third down by two goals and were able to take control of the game. Thanks to a lucky bounce Evander Kane got them within one, and Toby Enstrom later tied it on a bullet from the high slot. After a lengthy shootout the Jets skated off with a win that is sure to build the character of this team. This all took place after a scary incident occurred when Jacob Trouba crashed into the end boards and was taken off on a stretcher. The rookie was released from hospital that night and was even able to poke fun at himself on twitter saying among other things, “The boards are not edible.” Trouba will miss at least two weeks with what is being called a sprained neck. The Jets also lost Mark Stuart from the back end and played much of the final ten minutes and overtime with just 4 defence men. If Winnipeg can build off the end of that St. Louis game and play like that consistently they will be able to get many victories this season, starting with the Nashville Predators.
60 Minutes: Though the Jets came away with a win Friday, they cannot expect to play a mere 15 minutes and walk away with wins. The Jets are not a good enough team to take shifts off, they must be going from puck drop to buzzer if they want to be a winning team
Take Advantage: Carter Hutton will be starting for Nashville in Winnipeg tonight, and if you’re saying who’s that, you are not alone. This will be a rare night that a team escapes from the great goaltending of Pekka Rinne so Winnipeg needs to get pucks to the net and take advantage.
Take the body!: The Jets are at their best when they are playing heavy hockey, taking the body and winning battles, it ale gets the crowd in the game. Play tough, play mean, it is the best chance to win
Ondrej Pavelec (3-4-0) GAA: 3.00 SV% .907
Carter Hutton (0-0-0) GAA: 1.20 SV% .955
Trouba WPG, (neck) out
Stuart WPG, (lower body) day-to-day
Thorburn WPG, (undisclosed) out
Fisher NSH, (lower body) day-to-day
Jose NSH, (concussion) out
Jets dominate and win big!
Jets 5 Predators 2