The Nashville Predators are floundering and have now lost four games in a row. Lucky for them, Winnipeg isn't having much of their own as of late.
Nashville also made some moves during their off day yesterday. They brought Kevin Fiala up from the minors in hopes of turning things around.
The Winnipeg Jets
The last time these two teams met, the Jets were carried by a hot goalie in the form of Connor Hellebuyck. He is the one guy in their rotation that has gotten the most starts. Hellebuyck's numbers are also pretty good for a small sample size so far. He is posting a 2.00 GAA and a .931 SV%. Even with his good play in the net, the Jets are still struggling to score.
Blake Wheeler has been the bright spot in this offense all season long. He leads the team in points (11G, 30A, 41P). Bryan Little and Mathieu Perrault have contributed as well on the offensive side of things. But the drop off in points from Wheeler to the next two guys. Little has amassed 35 points so far, and Perrault has 28 points.
Another bright spot for Winnipeg has been Dustin Byfuglien. Not only was he voted to the All-Star game this year, but he has been a solid leader on this team. He will be able to provide the veteran presence and leadership late in the season that could help the Jets push into the postseason.
The Jets are still in the thick of things when it comes to the playoff race, but they will need to find some secondary scoring quickly if they want to compete down the stretch. Games are getting dire for them. A win tonight puts them two points out of the last Wild Card spot. A loss drops them six behind.
The Nashville Predators
What really needs to be said here? We all know the problems that are being faced. Lack of scoring, defensive breakdowns and poor goaltender play have ultimately led to this four game losing streak. It seems like it would be an easy fix, but I guess that's why I don't get paid to coach this team.
For me, it all starts with the play of Pekka Rinne. He has been inconsistent with his play all season long, and it has hurt the Predators at times. During this four game losing streak, Rinne is letting in an average of 4 goals a game. Now, giving up 4 goals a game wouldn't be too bad if the Preds would be able to score. To top it all off, the goals he is letting in come at the worst times in games. We all know that Rinne does give up a bevy of goals every now and then, but we always knew he would make the timely stops to keep the Preds in the game. Looking at the last four games, I'm not too sure of that any more.
After Rinne, it comes down to the offense. Even after the acquisition of Ryan Johansen, the Predators are still struggling to score goals. I do think Joey is the real deal, but they need more help. David Poile is hoping that Kevin Fiala can be that help they are looking for. Nashville called him up yesterday from the minors in order to provide some offensive punch to this lineup. I know we haven't seen much of Fiala in the NHL, but from the small sample size we saw last year, this could be a good move.
Regardless of what I think the Predators need to do, they just need to go out there and execute. They are still technically in the last playoff spot in the West, but they need to turn things around quickly if they want to hold onto it.
Reasons To Watch
It's #FialaTime everybody!
I'll continue the David Bowie love that Alex started on Tuesday by posting the only song that seems fitting for this team right now. Enjoy everyone!
Sights And Sounds
The usual suspects here with FS-TN and 102.5 The Game. Puck drops at 7:00 pm CST.