Nashville Predators vs. Winnipeg Jets Preview: Just Win, Baby, Win

The Central Division rivals clash for the first time this season in Smashville.

Time and time again, while I’m sippin’ on this gin.  Al Davis said it best... just win, baby, win.

One win or one loss won’t dictate a team’s entire season.  But for the Nashville Predators, it seems like a win over the Winnipeg Jets tonight could do wonders for the team’s psyche.

The Preds enter tonight on a four-game losing streak, and have just one win in their past seven. It’s the team’s worst stretch since losing six straight last December, which if you recall, was a period in which the Preds were wrecked with injuries.

We broke down some of the team’s underlying issues yesterday, but tonight, the focus should be on how the Preds plan to move forward.

The Matchup

We saw the Preds’ first significant roster shake-up after the Chicago loss.  Miikka Salomäki has been sent to Milwaukee, while forward Mathieu Olivier and defender Steve Santini (you know, the P.K. Subban-trade guy) will get a look on the NHL roster.

Santini should get a look right away, as Peter Laviolette continues to search for some kind of answer to his woes on the bottom defensive pair.  It’s still unclear what Olivier’s role will be.  He’s more known for his penchant of dropping the gloves than his gameplay skills.  (You can read Eric’s prospect breakdown of Olivier here.)

It also appears Laviolette’s line-shuffling will continue tonight.  According to The Athletic’s Adam Vingan, the JoFA line is back together, while Matt Duchene will center a line with Mikael Granlund and Calle Järnkrok.  It’s the second time the Filip Forsberg - Viktor Arvidsson - Ryan Johansen trio has been reunited this season.  Their impact together hasn’t been as strong as the past couple of seasons, but with Forsberg on a tear lately, perhaps he can jumpstart the Jo_A combo.

On the other bench, the Jets are coming in feeling pretty good about their start to the season.  They’re 7-2-1 in their past 10 games and only trail St. Louis and Colorado in the division standings (which doesn’t matter because, you know, November).

One surprising development this season has been Patrik Laine’s transition into a playmaking role.  He leads the Jets in assists this season with 14.  To put that in perspective, he had 20 in 82 games last season.  He hasn’t found the net as often as he envisioned when he uttered his infamous “linemate” comments (only 4 goals this season), but he’s still helping Winnipeg find the scoresheet.

The Jets are also benefitting from a rebound season from goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, whose .927 save percentage is tied for fourth in the league.  He’s stolen a few wins during some less than stellar defensive performances (Winnipeg’s 2.8 xGA/60 ranks 23rd in the league).  So it’s safe to say Nashville will get plenty of chances to get some pucks on the Jets’ net.

Reasons to Watch

  • We have to win at some point, right?......... RIGHT?
  • More time watching the TV means less time scrolling through Preds Twitter/

Tonight’s Song to Get You HYPEDDDDD

After a four game losing streak, the Preds need to turn things around. So...

How to Watch

Puck drops at 7:00 P.M. CST.  You can see the game on Fox Sports Tennessee and listen in on 102.5 The Game.