Nashville Predators vs Winnipeg Jets Preview: Not The Rivalry We've Been Waiting For

Marianne Helm

Fresh off an exhilarating victory in Montreal last night, can the Nashville Predators keep the good times rolling as they make their first visit to Winnipeg?

The Nashville Predators will christen a new division rivalry tonight with a visit to Winnipeg, as the Jets are one of the new additions to the Central Division under this year's realignment. Will this matchup generate as much heat as those with Minnesota, Colorado and Dallas are these days? We'll have to wait and find out...

After tonight's game, make sure to tune into 102.5 The Game, as I'm joining Willy Daunic in studio to provide post-game analysis! Who's up for some Predators Pillow Talk tonight?

The Stats

Nashville Predators Winnipeg Jets
Record 4-3-1 16th 4-4-0 17th
GF/Game 2.00 27th 2.50 18th
GA/Game 2.50 11th 2.75 17th
5-on-5 Close SF/60 30.9 15th 25.1 23rd
5-on-5 Close SA/60 27.8 10th 37.4 28th
Fenwick Close 53.60 9th 42.70 28th
5-on-5 Close Save % .905 22nd .908 21st
5-on-4 GF/60 5.3 20th 5.4 18th
# of PP's/Gm 3.50 22nd 4.00 7th
4-on-5 GA/60 6.7 15th 6.4 13th
# of PK's/Gm 3.75 16th 4.75 28th

Good golly, the Jets are getting out-shot like crazy at evens, a trend which bodes ill for their chances this season. The Preds, on the other hand, have been dominating the shot totals of late.

Winnipeg Jets

Remember for years we'd always speculate about division realignment, and how natural it would be for the Predators to start a division rivalry with the Atlanta Thrashers?

Well, it sure turned out rotten for Atlanta's hockey fans, but at long last this has come to pass. They might play in a sold out building in front of Canadian fans delirious to have an NHL team back in Winnipeg, but make no mistake; this is the same old Thrashers, a team which hasn't accomplished anything of importance since joining the league in 1999. 13 members of the final edition of the Atlanta Thrashers (2010-11) are suiting up as Jets these days.

By comparison the Predators only have 8 players on their roster from that long ago, despite going two rounds deep into the post-season in both 2011 and 2012. What are the Jets holding on to, exactly?

The presumed core player that Winnipeg has been trying to build around is power forward Evander Kane, who currently leads the way with four goals. While undeniably talented, Kane's discipline is open to question. Last season, for example, he took 20 penalties in the offensive zone, most in the league. Nothing hampers your team's goal-scoring opportunities more than by stopping play and putting your teammates down a man, does it?


Evander Kane

#9 / Left Wing / Winnipeg Jets

6-2

195

Aug 02, 1991

In their last outing, a Friday night shootout victory over St. Louis, the Jets suffered a serious loss to their lineup in teenage defenseman Jacob Trouba, who took a horrific tumble into the boards:

Trouba could be out for a month or so, according to the latest updates, but in a way that reminded me of the fall which Matthew Lombardi took two games into his Nashville Predators career.

For more on the Winnithrashers, head over to Arctic Ice Hockey.

Nashville Predators

This game will prove to be a real test of the Preds' mental fortitude, as they're coming off a well-played, dramatic victory in Montreal last night. Can they maintain the focus which has allowed them to dominate even strength play of late?

Two other issues bear close watching: the availability of center Mike Fisher, who missed last night's game with an upper body injury, and whether or not Pekka Rinne gets the start in goal. One would think this would be the ideal time to get backup Carter Hutton his first start as a Nashville Predator.


Carter Hutton

#30 / Goalie / Nashville Predators

6-1

195

Dec 19, 1985


Stay tuned for lineup updates as we approach tonight's 7:00 puck drop, and the Game Thread which will fire at 6:30 p.m. Tonight's game is on Fox Sports TN, so hang out at OTF this evening and follow the action with your fellow Preds fans...

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