The Winnipeg Jets (25-24-5) will look to keep the wins coming against another Central Division foe, while the Nashville Predators (23-23-8) look to close out a four-game road trip the same way they started it: with two points.
The Jets have become one of the hottest teams in the NHL as of late, winning six of their last seven games under new head coach Paul Maurice. That hot streak includes a win against the NHL-best Anaheim Ducks, and most recently, a 3-1 victory over the second-best in the West, the Chicago Blackhawks. The Predators haven’t had the same luck recently, winning two of their last five. Nashville opened a four-game western Canada road swing with a big win over the Vancouver Canucks, but have since allowed five goals to both the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers, resulting in back-to-back losses. The Jets took care of business in the last go-round between these two teams, a 5-0 win on November 8th in Winnipeg. The Jets are 1-3 all-time against Nashville, and are behind 1-2 in the five-game season series.
The Jets will go back to starter Ondrej Pavelec in goal, after he was on the bench in favour of Al Montoya in the Jets’ last game. Pavelec, who has won five of his last six decisions, has a .902% save percentage and 2.97 GAA in 41 games this season. The Predators are expected to counter with Carter Hutton, who has lost one of his last five decisions. Hutton has played in 25 games this year, averaging a .906% save percentage and 2.85 GAA.
The Predators will be missing some of their key components on Tuesday: Viktor Stalberg and Matt Cullen (both upper-body) missed Sunday’s game against the Oilers, and are not expected to return in Winnipeg. The Predators are also without former Vezina Trophy finalist Pekka Rinne, who has been on Injured Reserve with a hip infection related to a surgery he underwent in May 2013. The Jets broke the news on Tuesday morning that Evander Kane will be out until after the Olympic break with an infection in his right hand. The Jets will also miss Grant Clitsome (back surgery), Matt Halischuk (forearm surgery), Jim Slater (sports hernia), and Paul Postma (blood clot, leg). Their injuries are detailed in this week’s Jets Injury Update.
Zach Bogosian talked about the team’s recent hot streak, and says that everyone has taken it in stride:
“That’s our goal. To make the playoffs. But we’re not thinking about that, we’re thinking about each period and each game and nothing more.”
The Jets overtook Nashville for sixth in the Central Division on Sunday, and currently sit seven points behind the Minnesota Wild, who hold the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. With only one point separating the two teams, the Jets can put some valuable distance between Nashville and themselves with a regulation win.
Winnipeg is 13-10-4 at home this season, while the Predators are 10-12-4 on the road. The Jets are 6-11-3 within the Central Division this season, while the Predators have a 7-9-0 record in the same category.
You can see Tuesday’s match-up on TSN Jets, or listen live on TSN 1290 radio. Non-regional viewers can catch the action on Fox Sports – Tennessee. The game gets underway from the MTS Centre at 7:00 PM CT.