JETBLAST: NASHVILLE @ WINNIPEG

JETBLAST

Nashvilles Predators (7-2-2) at Winnipeg Jets (6-5-1) 7:00 p.m., MTS Centre, TV: TSN3  Radio:TSN 1290

After going 3-0-1 on a very tough road trip the Jets return home for a bit of a break……or not! Tuesday night the Central division leading Nashville Predators visit the MTS Centre to start a 2 game Winnipeg home stand that also features the Penguins. These will be two more tough tests for the Jets and two more chances to prove that maybe they do have some fight in them for this season. This will be the second meeting of the season for Winnipeg and Nashville. The Jets opened their home schedule against the Preds but Pekka Rinne and the rest of the Predators came in and ruined the party with a 2-0 blanking of the home team. It was the start of a trend that the Jets are still struggling with, playing well but not being able to finish. In their 12 games this season the Jets have only managed to score 4 or more goals twice, and Pekka Rinne will be looking to keep that trend intact. Jets and Preds for the second time this season, Lets Go!

Predators

The Nashville Predators may be the surprise of the league so far this season. I don’t think anyone predicted that a few weeks into the season the Predators would be leading the division, ahead of the Hawks, the Avs, the Blues and everyone else. Everyone knows that the Preds have been a great defensive team for years, and  with Pekka Rinne in net they were downright scary in the Goals Against category. Now however under new coach Peter Laviolette , the Preds have found a bit of a scoring touch. With the addition of James Neal and Mike Ribeiro, combined with the maturation of players like Filip Forsberg Nashville has become a team that can put the puck in the net. If Nashville can continue to put all these pieces together not only do they have a chance to stay at the top of the Central division, but they can be contenders in the Western Conference by the end of the year.

Jets

Was it perfect? No. Pretty? Not so much. Are all the questions about this team answered? Absolutely not! But, was it one of the most successful road trips in Winnipeg Jets history? It just may have been. Going 3-0-1 Winnipeg got everything they needed out of this trip and more. The last two games were especially huge for the team, the Rangers and Blackhawks are two great teams, both probably contenders by the end of the season and earning wins over both, on the road no less. Now can the Jets be happy and continue to play like this? No way, 1-0 games will not work all year. Ondrej Pavelec and Michael Hutchinson both played fantastic, and the defense around them played very well as well. The problems are the same as always, the inability to score. This i something to be proud of no doubt, but it is not enough. The Jets need to build on this and improve their weaknesses or they will go right back to losing tonight.

Keys to the Game

Keep the goaltending close: There is no doubt Pekka Rinne is one of the best in the league. Ondrej Pavelec has been hot recently however, he needs to stay hot and compete save for save with Rinne if Winnipeg wants to win tonight.

Neutral Zone: The Preds still have a bit of a defense first approach and will sit on a low scoring game and wait until they get their chances. Winnipeg cannot have turnovers in the neutral zone and get caught on odd man rushes.

Prove it to the Home Crowd: Winnipeg has now shown that they can win on the road, 4 of their 6 wins have come there. Now they need to prove it to the home crowd that has shown up every game for 3 seasons now. It is time the Jets picked it up at home and used one of the loudest crowds in the league.

Starting Goalies

Ondrej Pavelec (5-4-1) GAA: 2.10 SV% .921
Pekka Rinne (7-2-1) GAA: 1.88 SV% .931

Injuries

Peluso, WPG, (UBI) day-to-day

Fischer,NSH, (Achilles) out

Last 10 (W-L-OTL)

Jets: 5-4-1
Predators: 6-2-2

Prediction

Jets keep the win streak going at home
Jets 2 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!