Both the Nashville Predators and the Winnipeg Jets have played three games thus far. With such a small sample size there are numerous question marks for both teams heading into their clash tonight. We already know that both teams are good and will likely be in the playoffs at season’s end but what questions still need answers?
1 – Will Ehlers Finally Score?
It’s been an awfully long time since Ehlers has found the back of the net. Dating back to last season, Ehlers scored in game 80 against the Montreal Canadians on April 3rd and hasn’t scored since. He went all playoffs without scoring and that means it has now been 20 games since Ehlers last lit the lamp.
In case Ehlers doesn’t feel bad enough, the top five goal scorers for Winnipeg last season have all scored in the first three games – except Ehlers. It can’t feel good to know that Laine, Connor, Scheifele, and Wheeler all have the monkey off their back, leaving it solely on Ehlers shoulders.
The one argument Ehlers has is that he has been used in a very limited role to start the year. Ehlers is averaging just over 12 minutes per game which leaves him little opportunity to get his legs moving and his game back on track. Will this be the game that Ehlers finally break his scoreless streak?
2 – Will the real Pekka Rinne please stand up?
There is no doubt that Rinne has the potential to be an excellent goaltender. He is coming off a fantastic season where he won the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goalie. However, even though Rinne played well last year, that means nothing heading into this year. Over the last five seasons Rinne has a SV% of .927, .918, .908, .923, .902. These stats are all over the map which makes it hard to tell which Rinne is going to be showing up on a nightly basis.
It also appears that Winnipeg may be the kryptonite for Rinne. Despite having an excellent SV% last season with a .927, Rinne struggled mightily against the Jets and posted a .901 against them in the regular season and a .900 against them in the playoffs.
Can Rinne find a way to finally overcome his struggles against the Jets? If not, it might be another wild ride if these two meet again in the playoffs.
3 – Can the Jets & Preds ever play a boring game?
Out of every team the Jets faced last season, the Jets scored the most goals against the Predators. While that might sound like a good thing, the Jets also allowed the Predators to score the most goals on them out of any team. All total, there was an average of 8.4 goals scored per game when these two teams played each other while the league average was merely 5.5 goals per game.
Add the fact that every game last year during the regular season ended by either a one or two goal victory, and this matchup makes for some pretty entertaining hockey.
Regardless of what happens against the Predators, it’s sure to be a crazy game from start til finish.
Nashville is going to come out of the gate hungry for a victory at home. Getting shutout in their home opener will provide some extra motivation and give the Preds the victory.
Nashville Wins 4-3
Let us know what you think to the questions above, what kind of questions you may have going into the game and give us your game prediction! Give us your thoughts in the comments below, or shout us out on our Twitter or Facebook pages.