Winners of 10 of their last 11, the Nashville Predators gained a crucial point to further distance themselves from the Winnipeg Jetsin the Central Division going into a 7 pm CT showdown in Smashville Tuesday night . On Monday night, the Jets were able to make that point back up in a 3-2 OT loss to the Washington Capitals.
The latest news from the Jets is that center Mark Scheifele missed the game Sunday vs Philadelphia with a day-today injury. Unlike the Predators, who have finally gotten healthy, the Jets have been hit with the injury bug this season. In addition the Mark Scheifele and Center Adam Lowry, who has missed 24 of the last 26 games, the Jets Blue Line has taken a few hits. Defensemen Dmitry Kulikov, Jacob Trouba, and Toby Enstrom will probably miss the game in Nashville.
Despite these injuries, the Jets, like the Predators, have been red hot winning 6 of their last 9 and going 12-5-2 since the All-Star Break. One of those L’s, however, was a thrilling 6-5 defeat at the hands of the visiting Preds after a highly unlikely comeback to spark the momentum for the Predators back on February 27.
What will be the key to the game for the Predators is to score early and hopefully often, giving the seventh man a jolt of energy to cheer the boys in typical fashion at Bridgestone. Connor Hellebuyck faced 43 shots in the 3-2 OT loss Monday night, which means the Predators will either face a tired Hellebuyck or backup Michael Hutchinson, who has played only 2 games for the Jets this season. The Preds have to clean up some of their play, especially in their own end of the ice. The Preds have had difficulty clearing the puck out of their zone, which has led to numerous goals this season. The good news is that they have been quite lethal in the opponent’s end of the ice and have had balanced scoring across all lines and have the top scoring defense in the league. This needs to be on full display Tuesday night in order for the Predators to shoot down the Jets.
Get two, boys.
Photo courtesy of the Nashville Predators