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Gameday Preview: Winnipeg Jets vs. Nashville Predators

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Holy moly, it's Olli and the goalie.

Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

The Winnipeg Jets take on the Nashville Predators tonight at the MTS Centre in their home opener. The Jets are looking to even their record at 2-2-0 after consecutive losses in California to fierce opponents in San Jose and LA. But beware of the Predators - they may be the most underrated team in the Western Conference.

Some Thoughts

Winnipeg Jets

  1. Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler are leading the Jets offence with 5 goals in 3 games. After being held goalless thus far, it's time for Scheifele, Ladd, Frolik, and Perreault to start helping out. The Winnipeg Jets need scoring from throughout the lineup going forward.
  2. With a 2.28 g.a.a, and .917 save %, Ondrej Pavelec has not been the Jets' problem. That's right Ondrej, it's not your fault Ondrej; it's not your fault. (Yet) The Winnipeg Jets will need more quality goaltending if they want to remain relevant throughout the year.
  3. Let's say Anton Volchenkov runs Mark Scheifele - will the Jets' new enforcer - Blake Wheeler - continue his streak of rugged play and drop the mitts for a third time?

Nashville

  1. After missing most of last season recovering from hip surgery and resulting complications (infection), it looks as though Pekka Rinne is back in Vezina nominee form, with a record of 2-0-1, g.a.a of 1.62, and save % of .924. Gulp.
  2. The Preds have an impressive young blueline which not only includes Seth Jones, but also small puck-moving d-man, Ryan Ellis, and the ever underrated, Roman Josi. Add Norris contender Shea Weber to that mix, and you have a group that not only can defend their half of the ice, but also create a lot of offence.
  3. Nashville's offence has been led by a pair of 4th liners - Paul Gaustad and Eric Nystrom - with 4 points each in the first 3 games. While that trend is unlikely to continue, their offensive exploits should soon be replaced by the de facto top line, led by recent acquisitions James Neal (0 points) and Mike Ribeiro (1 goal, 0 assists).

Player to boo Mercilessly

Olli Jokinen. Not because he's a bad guy, but because he provided so little for the *$9M he collected here.

*first season's salary was pro-rated due to the lockout, so he only collected around $7M...

Prediction

The Preds are always a tough out, and will carry the edge in play, but with the MTS Centre buzzing, the Jets sneak this one out, 4-3.