After a successful four-game
road trip, the Winnipeg Jets return to the confines of the MTS Centre tonight
in a matchup with the Nashville Predators.
The Jets surprised many this
past week earning a possible seven of eight points against four teams that were
in the top half of their divisions this season. The Jets have struggled to
score in their past three games, scoring just two goals in three games. But
back-to-back shutouts from Ondrej Pavelec and Michael Hutchinson have taken
pressure off of Jets forwards. But how long will this strong goaltending last?
Nashville has been one of the
league’s biggest surprises this season. They currently sit at the top of the
Central Division with a 7-2-2 record, leading teams like the Blackhawks, Blues,
Stars and Wild.
Tonight is the second meeting
of five meeting between Winnipeg and the Preds this season. Nashville shutout
Winnipeg earlier this season during Winnipeg’s home opener. This will be the
final game between these two at the MTS Centre this season, and you know the
Jets will like to avenge their loss in October.
Lines provided by Daily Faceoff
The lineup remains unchanged
for the Jets tonight. These lines will need to find some chemistry fast if they
hope to remain intact going on in this season.
As noted earlier the Jets only
scored two goals in their past three games, but because of good goaltending,
the team was able to win two of those three games. Their one loss in those
three games was a shootout loss to the Devils.
It has been no secret that the
Jets have struggled to score this season, but I believe that they have a team
that can score. Players like Evander Kane, Mark Scheifele and Michael Frolik
have to break out of the their early season funks. Don’t forget this will be
just the fourth game this season for Kane.
The defence stays the same, and
that’s just okay with me. It’s good to see Clitsome and Postma playing together
more consistently, and Adam Pardy not in the lineup.
Trouba has been consistent
defensively but he needs to start contributing offensively like he did last
season in order for the Jets to succeed.
Pavelec returns between the
pipes after earning the night off in Chicago. He’ll be looking to build off his
strong showing against the Rangers on Saturday, where he posted his first
shutout of the season.
Nashville’s top line has been
firing on all cylinders this season led by rookie sensation Filip Forsberg (3g,
8a). I cannot believe that Washington dealt Forsberg for an aging Martin Erat a
few years back.
James Neal is another Preds
forward that intrigues me, he seems to be scoring at will and makes it look
easy, and his physical play is nothing to ignore either. Look out for this guy.
We all know the threat that is
Shea Weber, so I doubt I should even bring him up in this preview.
What jumps out at me most about
Nashville’s defence is the absence of Anton Volchenkov. Volchenkov is currently
serving a four game suspension for a hit he made on Michael Ferland of the
Calgary Flames. This is his second game he’ll have to sit out and Victor
Bartley’s second game this season.
Volchenkov’s experience will definitely
be missed on a d-core that has quite a few young faces in the lineup.
Carter Hutton is getting his
second start of the season tonight, after filling in admirable for an injured
Pekka Rinne last season in his rookie year.
Game Day Prediction: Winnipeg returns home looking for a third straight win. I
believe they get that win by capitalizing on Volchenkov’s absence and Hutton
starting just his second game this season. Jets take a 4-2 victory over
Obvious Prediction: Ondrej Pavelec continues his strong play in net and gives the
Jets a chance to win. The Jets forwards acknowledge Pavelec’s play and gives
him the offensive support he needs.
Not So Obvious
Prediction: James Neal will be held goalless in
tonight’s matchup, but I feel he might contribute in other ways.