The Winnipeg Jets hit the road for their first big road trip of the season. After struggling to string together wins during a 6 game home stand the Jets change their fortunes in Nashville as they take on the Predators.
The Winnipeg Jets are coming off an exciting and fast paced loss to the Washington Capitals. The Jets will no doubt be looking to tighten up defensively, but the fact that a number of players are coming off their best showing of the season should create some excitement.
The Predators are also coming off a loss. Their most recent game was a dull, boring 2-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild - in which they only mustered 16 shots on goal. Admittedly I didn't watch the game - why would anybody ever intentionally watch a game between the Pred and the Wild - but I have to assume it was boring because they all are.
Both teams come into tonight looking for a win in this key divisional matchup.
Keys to the game:
Don't take ANY shifts off - four third lines means they come in waves: The Predators are an oddly built team. The separation between their 1st and 3rd lines isn't huge. No single line eats big minutes. Mike Fisher is playing just over 14 even strength minutes a night - everybody else (apart from Rich Clune) plays between 10:46-12:55. The pred roll four lines and they are all of similar quality, so nobody can take any shifts off or get caught sleeping.
Run into traffic: It looks like the Jets will get a second look at Carter Hutton. Last time they faced him the Jets poured a number or shots on net, but really struggled to create rebounds. Part of this is Hutton. Part of this is on the Jets. The Jets need to do a better job of rushing the net front and creating traffic in front of Carter.
No mo Bogo no show: This will likely be a recurring theme until Zach Bogosian puts an end to his slump. Most of the slumping Jets seemed to get rolling versus Washington, but Bogosian continued to struggle. The Jets do have some defensive depth, but they need their number three to get rolling at some point here. Bogosian is an amazing athlete and can put up points. Let's hope he can at least do that while his defensive game rounds into form.
Slow motion potion: The Winnipeg Jets have speed to burn and the speed actually looked useful vs Washington. The Predators will need to contain the Jets speed. Getting bodies on bodies and clogging up the neutral zone will go a long way towards slowing the Jets. Slowing the Jets sometimes leads to outright stalls.
Score first, heck just score a goal: The Nashville Predators are currently ranked 27th in NHL goal scoring - averaging 1.90 goals per game. Goals haven't come easy, so scoring one early will help with confidence and allow the Pred to stay with their strength which is...
Defensive hockey: The Predators remain a stout defensively team - they rank 11th in shots prevention and 8th in goal prevention. They have done this with a rookie logging 24:23 a night (22nd highest in the league). If the Pred can get a lead - they can keep a lead. Scoring first combined with defensive hockey is very clearly their recipe.
Player to boo mercilessly:
The team is full of nobody's. Nobody stand out here. Boo the whole lot of them.
Nashville - 1
Winnipeg Jets - 3