The Winnipeg Jets and Nashville Predators are separated by two points in the standings and the Pred have a game in hand. Both teams sit just below the playoff line and will be looking at ever game as though it is THE BIGGEST GAME OF THE SEASON!! Both the Jets and the Predators have returned from the Olympic break with with a win in their first game, only one will extend the streak to two games.
Keys to the Game:
Keep the Boat Afloat. Maurice Magic has not worn off. The Jets continue to ride percentages that unlikely to be sustained over the long run. The team will need to keep improving as the season progresses.
No Need to Pavpologize. Ondrej Pavelec put forth a solid effort vs Phoenix, including a couple big saves in overtime. The Jets need more of this Ondrej now and forever so long as he is the team's starter. If he plays well consistently, the "haters" will surely go away.
Czechmate. Not so much a key as a fun fact - Speaking of goalies, the Pred also have a Czech netminder. He too will enter this game with a .902 save percentage.
Winnay without Rinne. Losing one of the NHL's top netminders has dealt a nasty blow to the Nashville Predator's season. Their backups have combined for a .900 save percentage this season. Rinne was at .917 before he left. It is hard to win consistently with that kind of netminding, so whoever is in net will need to step up their game (or get lucky).
Third the Turd. Despite the fact that they picked up pluses in the Yotes game (Dustin Byfuglien and Olli Jokien on the Wheeler goal) the Winnipeg Jets high priced third line continues to be a sore spot. They aren't scoring much and they are spending a lot of time hemmed in their own zone. With last change, the 3rd line will be one for the Pred to target.
Big PP. Despite a lack of star power the Predators powerplay is running at an impressive 21.8% (tied for 3rd in the NHL with Chicago). Winning on special teams is key in winning games.
Player to Boo Mercilessly
Matt Cullen - Because he spent last season making Devin Setoguchi look good and inflated his value.