The Nashville Predators kick off a four-game road trip in Winnipeg tonight, and it will be the second time in a week they'll face off in the park-less wasteland. Let's hope this outcome will be different than the last.
The Winnipeg Jets
Winnipeg followed their overtime win against the Predators with a shutout versus the Wild and a 2-1 loss against the Avalanche. Winnipeg is still in the mix of things when it comes to the playoff race. They are only four points out of that last spot, and every win counts at this point of the season.
I expect Connor Hellebuyck to get the start against the Predators tonight. Other than giving up four goals against Nashville last week, he has been playing relatively well for the Jets. And let's be honest, up until the third period of that game, he had Nashville's number.
Dustin Byfuglien also played a big role in the last meeting between these two clubs. He had two goals in that game. Byfuglien, along with Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler have been leading the charge all season long for the Jets, and I don't expect that to be any different tonight. Let's not also forget about Drew Stafford, who seems to find his scoring touch against the Preds. He score two goals in the first meeting, and created some solid chances in the second meeting.
The Jets will feed off of the loud and raucous crowd tonight, as they do in most home games. They know what's at stake with each divisional match up that goes by. I wouldn't be surprised to see a similar performance to last week, tonight.
The Nashville Predators
Not much to say here anymore. The players are frustrated, the coaches are frustrated, and even the front office is frustrated. The entire team is fed up with losing, and it showed in these quotes from Roman Josi and Mike Fisher after the loss against Chicago (Courtesy of Penalty Box Radio).
"Oh yeah, everybody’s pissed off," said Josi. "It’s not fun to lose. You get mad when you lose. You want to change that as quick as possible and win some games. Everybody’s pissed off in the room."
"I didn’t think we were good enough tonight in some areas to win a hockey game against a team like Chicago," said Fisher. "We outshot them, but that was about it. We weren’t hungry enough around the net. A little bit too lax in the neutral zone about some stuff, that was the difference. They got their chances and that was the difference."
You can tell both these guys are just frustrated beyond belief at this point.
The bright spot for the Predators though is that (as mentioned by the guys on the Predscast) Ryan Johansen and Kevin Fiala haven't been in Nashville long enough to feel the same amount of frustration. They are out there having fun and creating chances. That is great to see from a fan's perspective.
Drink Of Choice For Game Time
You know, I have been too heavy on beers and whiskeys. Tonight I will be drinking some wine. Maybe a nice Cab Sav or a Pinot Noir. I am open to suggestions.
Sights And Sounds
FS-TN for television and 102.5 The Game for radio. Puck drops at 7:00 pm CST.