JETBLAST: WINNIPEG @ NASHVILLE

JETBLAST

Winnipeg Jets (9-6-2) at Nashville Predators (10-4-2) 6:00 p.m., Bridgestone Arena, TV: City tv  Radio:TSN 1290

The Jets start a back to back on Saturday night when they visit Nashville, Tennessee for a match up with the Predators. This is becoming a familiar match up early this season as this will already be the third meeting between the Central division rivals. The Predators of course were in Winnipeg when the Jets opened their home schedule. It was the Predators who spoiled the party and shutout the Jets on that night. They then met on November 4th when the Jets used their slumping powerplay for two goals and beat Nashville 3-1. Saturday however, this rivalry shift across the border as these two teams will meet in Nashville for the first time this year. It will be a battle of second versus third in the division, both teams looking to stay in their coveted playoff spot. Jets and Preds on Hockey Night in Canada, Lets Go!

Predators

The Nashville Predators have flipped the script this season and sit right at the top of the Central division with the St. Louis Blues, despite a 4-3 loss Thursday to those same Blues, the Preds are in the best spot they’ve been in years. For years they were a defensive powerhouse, but this year they have added a new facet to their game, the offensive play. The Predators were challenged scoring goals for years but now they have found some offensive power, and look like a complete team that can make a deep run this season. We have already seen this battle twice this year so there is only so much comparison and match ups we can look at, the key in this game will be offense. Both teams have proved that defense is a strength, plus Nashville has one of the best in the world between the pipes. Instead we will look at the goal scoring. The Predators boast one of the front runners for the Calder trophy, and maybe the best rookie we’ve seen in years. Filip Forseberg has 20 points in the first 16 games this season and shows no sign of stopping.

Jets

The Winnipeg Jets showed some great resiliency and bounce back Thursday night. After losing 3-0 to the Montreal Canadiens, they bounced back beautifully and beat a suddenly surging Carolina Hurricanes team. sure this isn’t one of the better teams in the league, but on a 5-0-1 streak, they were nothing to laugh at coming in Thursday. The Jets played their game however, the offense was still missing, but a 3-1 win got the job done enough. The goals Winnipeg got, were exactly what they need to do as well. This team isn’t going to see a ton of fancy goals, sure the break aways and tic tac toes will start going in eventually, but the way they scored Thursday is what we have to expect. Dirty goals, screens, tips, and rebounds are the way this team wins, if they try to run and gun and get fancy the Jets will be in trouble. The one area they would still like to improve is powerplay. At just over 11% it is not enough, Winnipeg needs more from special teams, and this may be the game to do it. Nashville has a PK% just over 72, this may be the perfect time for Winnipeg to get a couple.

Keys to the Game

Special teams: Goals will be incredibly hard to come by tonight, the Jets need to win the special teams battle if they want to win.

Start all Over: A streak came to an end when Montreal shut out Winnipeg earlier this week. With a win Thursday the Jets got back on track and if they can win in Nashville, it’ll be the start to whole new streak. The Jets need to play with winning streaks all season if they want to be around come playoff time.

Manage Energy: The Jets play games in two straight days, both against divisional rivals. they cannot afford to let these teams take points form them. That means however, that they need to play smart and manager themselves so as not to waste energy.

Starting Goalies

Ondrej Pavelec (7-5-2) GAA: 1.99 SV% .928
Pekka Rinne (10-3-1) GAA: 1.98 SV% .928

Injuries

Stalberg, NSH, (Knee) out
Fischer, NSH, (Acilles) out

Last 10 (W-L-OTL)

Jets: 7-1-2
Predators: 6-4-0

Prediction

Make it two straight for the Jets in this 3 point game
Jets 3 Predators 2 OT

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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!