JETBLAST: NASHVILLE @ WINNIPEG

JETBLAST

Nashville Predators (2-0-1) at Winnipeg Jets (1-2-0) 7:00 p.m., MTS Centre, TV: TSN 3 Radio:TSN 1290

The Winnipeg Jets open up their home schedule Friday night when they host their first divisional opponent of the year, the Nashville Predators. The teams have started their seasons in opposite fashions with Winnipeg dropping two of three and Nashville winning twice. This will be the first of 5 match ups this season, a season series that was won by Nashville last season. These teams have played very close games, with 3 of 5 last season ending with a one goal difference. The Jets will try to even their home opener record Friday night against the Preds, Lets Go!

Predators

The Predators are a team that made a lot of changes over the off season. Most notably, for the first time in their franchises history Barry Trotz is not behind the bench. The man who was the NHL’s longest serving coach was dismissed this off season and replaced with Peter Laviolette. The new bench boss has brought a change of attitude to the Predators and it seems to be working. So far they have picked up 5 of a possible 6 points this season and look like a brand new team. The Preds have gotten a big boost from youngster Filip Forseberg, who is one of three players that lead the team with 4 points. The dynamic winger has been a great addition to the offense lending speed and skill to a team that desperately needed it. On the back end it is the same old for Nashville, which is a great thing for the team. Weber ma still be the best d-man in the league and when you get by him you have to deal with Pekka Rinne. It will not be easy to score goals on this team all year, and if they can fill the net they may be able to make some noise.

Jets

2 rough games in a row for the Jets who could not have said goodbye to California quick enough. After a great start in Arizona, Winnipeg was outscored 7-1 in two games. It was not all terrible for the Jets however, though they got dominated on the scoreboard Winnipeg had large periods in both games where they dominated the flow of play, they just have not been able to put the puck in the net. You wonder if Winnipeg had the services of Evander Kane they would be able to put up a few crooked numbers, but that point is mute. It is not for a lack of chances that Winnipeg hasn’t scored as it seems every player has had a good chance to score but were unable to finish. Winnipeg is going to have to figure out how to make the puck cross the line if they want to put up some W’s.

Keys to the Game

Battle on the back end: Two young players who are very familiar with each other and have very similar career paths line up opposite Friday night. Both Jacob Trouba and Seth Jones got to the NHL via the American junior development program and have become a couple of the top young players in the league. Both are great defensive players as well as big offensive threats. Their play will go a long way to determining which way the game goes.

Joikenens return: Olli Joikenen returns to Winnipeg Friday night for the first time since leaving as a free agent this past summer. He spent to under whelming seasons in Winnipeg notching 25 goals and 32 assists in 127 games. He has been quiet in Nashville managing to only put up 9 shots on his stat line in 3 games this season. The veteran does bring a lot of experience to the table and has the ability to break out.

Scoring: As I mentioned, Winnipeg needs to start putting the puck in the net if they want to turn this start around. Perhaps it will be the home crowd that will urge the Jets to finish, Winnipeg sure needs it.

Starting Goalies

Ondrej Pavelec (1-1-0) GAA: 2.28 SV% .917
Pekka Rinne (2-0-1) GAA: 1.62 SV% .924

Injuries

Kane, WPG, (Knee) out

Cullen, NSH, (UBI) out
Fisher, NSH, (Achilles) out

Last 10 (W-L-OTL)

Jets: 1-2-0
Predators: 2-0-1

Prediction

Jets get back to the win column
Jets 5 Predators 1

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Diehard Winnipeg sports fan. Agree or disagree with something I wrote? Find me on twitter @seantheoilcan and let me know Go Jets Go!