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Game Preview: Nashville Predators vs. Winnipeg Jets 1/20/22

The Preds try to get their skates back under them.

NHL: Nashville Predators at Winnipeg Jets Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Nashville Predators have lost four straight after a fantastic road trip, with the losses ranging from embarrassing to boring to four-point. They’re looking at another of those four-point games tonight as they take on the Winnipeg Jets in an attempt to right the ship.

The Jets are missing a lot of players to a combination of COVID-19 protocol and standard injuries. Blake Wheeler and CJ Suess are probably not yet ready to return, while Nikolaj Ehlers—injured in the Jets’ last game—definitely isn’t. We may or may not see Brendan Dillon, Paul Stastny, Nathan Beaulieu, and Ville Heinola (who entered protocol before even playing his first NHL game of the season, ouch).

Losing Ehlers in particular is a blow to the Jets, but they still have most of their leading offensive contributors available. Kyle Connor leads the team in all three categories with 39 points, 21 goals, and 18 assists. Pierre-Luc Dubois has settled in to Winnipeg and is thriving with 28 points and 16 goals, both second-best on the team. Dubois is also the closest thing the Jets have to a player who’s just good at 5v5, instead of high-event or low-event, which is where almost the entire roster lands.

I don’t usually put the charts in regular gameday previews, but I can’t remember the last time I saw almost a whole team line themselves up so neatly within the first two lines.
Micah Blake McCurdy, hockeyviz.com

Rounding out the most-productive-of, Andrew Copp is tied with Ehler for third in total points with 25. Defender Nate Schmidt has 17 assists, while Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler are tied at 16—especially impressive for Wheeler given that injuries mean he’s only played 22 games this season.

Connor Hellebuyck and Eric Comrie have both been solid in goal, with Hellebuyck posting a .915 sv% and Comrie a .914. This is especially impressive given that the Jets’ defense has struggled, putting both goalies under a heavy workload. Comrie in particular has exceeded expectations at even strength. Sadly for the goalies, the Jets have struggled to convert on their own chances.

The Jets’ special teams look a lot like their 5v5 play: a lot of opportunities at both ends. This time, the skaters are converting on the power play, but the goalies aren’t making saves on the penalty kill. The Jets don’t play a penalties-heavy game—quite a change from half a decade ago—so the Preds shouldn’t expect to be able to capitalize here.

How to Watch

The game airs at 7 PM Central on Bally Sports South and 102.5 The Game.