Winnipeg Jets @ Predators (Game 75): Preview

The Nashville Predators take a quick pit-stop at Bridgestone Arena, as they will be starting another road trip before the season ends. Tonight, the Predators take on the Winnipeg Jets. The Nashville Predators’ record this season is 42-24-8 with 92 points and ranked 5th in the Western Conference. The Winnipeg Jets’ record this season is35-31-8 with 78 points and ranked 10th in the Eastern Conference. Puck drops at 6:10 PM CT.

Ryan Ellis Ryan Ellis #49 of the Nashville Predators carries the puck past Evander Kane #9 of the Winnipeg Jets at Bridgestone Arena on September 24, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee.

jets__predsTV/Radio Coverage

Coverage in Nashville: FS-TN and 102.5 The Game

Coverage in Winnipeg: CBC and Sports Radio 1290 AM

Coverage in Canada: CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada

Line Up News

Projected Starting Goalies:

Name W L OT SV % GAA
#35 Pekka Rinne 39 16 8 .921 2.45
#50 Chris Mason 7 6 1 .903 2.40

Projected Predators Scratches: #59 D Roman Josi (Upper Body), #33 C Colin Wilson (Groin), #23 W Brian McGrattan, #18 W Brandon Yip, #15 C Craig Smith, #38 D Jack Hillen and #72 W Jack Maclellan

Projected Jets Scratches: #17 W Eric Fehr (Upper Body), #80 C Nik Antropov (Lower Body), #22 W Chris Thorburn (Lower Body), #24 D Grant Clitsome and #36 D Mark Flood

Winnipeg Jets Players to Watch:

Name G A
#26 Blake Wheeler 17 43
#9 Evander Kane 28 23
#16 Andrew Ladd 24 20

NHL Games to Watch For: Flames @ Stars at 1 PM, Hurricanes @ Red Wings at 6 PM, Bruins @ Kings at 8 PM, Canucks @ Avalanche at 9 PM and Coyotes @ Shars at 9 PM

Western Conference Standings Update

No Team GP P ROW
1 Blues 75 101 42
2 Canucks 74 97 37
3 Kings 74 86 31
4 Red Wings 74 93 37
5 Predators 74 92 38
6 Blackhawks 75 92 37
7 Coyotes 75 86 31
8 Stars 74 85 33
9 Avalanche 76 85 31
10 Sharks 74 84 30
11 Flames 75 83 31

Thoughts on Both Teams

The Winnipeg Jets enter this game off a 4-3 shootout win last night over the Washington Capitals. The Jets’ record in the last ten games is 5-5-0. They are in the playoff hunt, as they are four points behind eighth place, New Jersey Devils, with a game in hand. I think it would be amazing for them to make the playoffs in their first year back in Winnipeg. The Jets have some talented young guns in the making. Those include Alexander Burmistrov, Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian and Ondrej Pavelec. They could all be one of the top in the league, if they were put into the right situation. The injuries to the Winnipeg Jets include Eric Fehr with an upper-body injury and Nik Antropov and Chris Thorburn with a lower-body injury.

The Nashville Predators enter this game off a crushing, 5-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. They were just dominated. Tonight, that can not happen against a tenth place, Eastern Conference team. Nashville has to come in there showing who is boss, and why they are considered Stanley Cup favorites. The Predators are 5-4-1 in the last ten games. I think it is safe to say tonight is a must-win. If they lose tonight, they will be facing a tough situation in the next week for home-ice advantage. Now that Alexnader Radulov has scored his first goal back, it is time to focus back on winning. Anders Lindback should get the start tonight. This will give Pekka Rinne rest for tomorrow’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Nashville Predators injuries include Roman Josi with an upper body injury and Colin Wilson with a groin injury. Paul Gaustad has an upper body injury, but I thin he will be back in the line-up either tonight or tomorrow.

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Here are some Quick Hits from the Predators Preview post.

QUICK HITS:
• Nashville has posted a 24-10-4 record in its last 38 games, outscoring the opposition 114-93 (plus 21), despite being outshot 1,158-1,069 (minus 89).
• Nashville’s power play has posted six goals in its last seven games dating back to March 10 vs. Detroit. For the season, Nashville’s PP leads the League (21.5 percent). The team has posted 50 PPGs in 74 games this season, after scoring 41 PPGs in 82 games a season ago.
• Nashville (104.2) ranks among the NHL’s top five teams in combined special teams play (PP%+PK%).
• The Predators have six players – not including trade deadline acquisition Andrei Kostitsyn– with five or more power-play goals this season – the most for any team in the NHL. Pittsburgh and Vancouver are second with five players with at least five PPGs.
• The Predators lead the NHL in winning percentage (.698) in combined one- and two-goal games. They rank among the NHL’s Top 10 in one-goal games (19-9-8) and have the NHL’s best record (14-3) in games decided by two goals. 
• The Predators have 10 players who have scored 10 goals or more for them this season, tied for a League high with Detroit and Philadelphia. That doesn’t include Andrei Kostitsyn’s 15 goals – he brought 12 markers with him from Montreal.
• With 39 victories on the year, Pekka Rinne holds the franchise-record and ranks second in the League in the category. Since Dec. 28, Rinne has posted an NHL-best 23-6-4 record with a 2.23 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage, improving to 39-16-8 on the season. He leads the League in saves (1,817) and shots against (1,972), and ranks second in appearances (66). Nashville is 14-0-2 this season when Rinne makes 35 saves or more. 
• Nashville has scored 63 goals in the middle frame this season, including at least one goal in 18 of their last 21 second periods, outscoring the opposition 23-17 during that span. It has outscored the opposition by 13 in the second period (63-50) this season. That is the fifth-best differential in the NHL and second-best in the West behind only San Jose. 
• The Predators rank among the League’s top five in third-period scoring this season. Nashville has potted 79 goals in the final frame, including 29 goals in its last 27 third periods. Twenty-three of Nashville’s 79 third-period goals have come in the final 100 seconds of regulation.

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