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Nashville Predators vs. Winnipeg Jets Preview: Fighting For Room

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NHL: Nashville Predators at Winnipeg Jets James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports

The Nashville Predators will look to keep the good times rolling tonight as they take on the Winnipeg Jets at Bridgestone Arena.

With Saturday’s 5-2 win over the Avalanche, the Preds have won six of their last seven games and remain in 3rd in the Central.

The team ahead of them? The Winnipeg Jets.

The last time the Preds faced the Jets, things went poorly. Blake Wheeler scored with 45 seconds left to give the Jets a 2-1 win, even though the Preds led 1-0 most of the game. The loss locked the Preds into playing the Blackhawks in the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, which... worked out nicely.

The Winnipeg Jets

Sitting in 2nd place with 27 points and a 12-4-3 record are the Jets, who have to love the start they’ve had to this season.

The Jets have had great goal scoring so far, sitting 6th in the league with 3.32 goals per game. Mark Scheifele (11 goals, 13 assists) is the axle upon which the Jets offense rolls, while Blake Wheeler (5 goals, 20 assists) is the chassis that makes everything ride smoothly. Patrik Laine (10 goals, 5 assists) is the sleek, European body that makes your head turn. Quick skating Nikolaj Ehlers (8 goals, 5 assists) is the transmission and Kyle Connor (5 goals, 5 assists) is the comfortable interior.

Ok, this metaphor broke down pretty quickly, and I’m not sure what Dustin Byfuglien (0 goals, 10 assists) would be, but he is certainly something.

In goal, the Steven Mason experiment has not gone as planned, but thankfully Connor Hellebuyck has taken a big step forward. He’s stopped 93.1% of the shots he’s faced and been in goal for 11 of the Jets’ 12 wins so far.

Here’s some probable lineups for tonight:

Connor - Sheifele - Wheeler

Ehlers - Little - Laine

Copp - Lowry - Tanev

Perreault - Hendricks - Armia

Enstrom - Byfuglien

Kulikov - Myers

Morrisey - Trouba

Hellebuyck

Mason

The Nashville Predators

With Austin Watson’s two game suspension, the Predators needed a roster replacement. Since Pontus Aberg needed to come back soon from his conditioning assignment anyway, this news makes sense:

I have a feeling this means we could see a shakeup elsewhere in the lineup, since Cody McLeod with Pontus Aberg would be head-spinningly bizarre. Here’s my best guess:

Arvidsson - Johansen - Forsberg

Fiala - Turris - Smith

Aberg - Bonino - Jarnkrok

McLeod - Sissons - Salomaki

Emelin - Subban

Ekholm - Josi

Bitetto - Irwin

Rinne

Saros

Reasons to Watch

  • The Preds would probably like to revenge last April’s devastating loss, even if the loss led directly to a sweep of the Blackhawks.
  • I’d like to see another Forsberg goal, how about it
  • Roman Josi is playing some of the best hockey of his career. He does so many things well. Do yourself a favor and watch 59 skate around the ice. Your eyes will thank you.

Pregame Entertainment

Watch all nine minutes of this. It’s amazing. (And also a very apt metaphor for the Central Division)

The Important Details

Puck drop at 7:00 PM. TV: FS-TN, Radio: 102.5 The Game