With a great start to the 2014-15 campaign, the Nashville Predators begin their first game outside of Bridgestone Arena against the Winnipeg Jets tonight at MTS Centre. The Predators were able to get five of six total points and currently sit tied at the top of the Central Division.
The Winnipeg Jets come into tonight’s matchup with a 1-2-0 start. In their last outing, the Jets lost to the LA Kings 4-1. Their only goal was by center Bryan Little 17:47 of the 2nd period. Little currently leads the team in goals with 3 on the season. Also, the Jets have seen strong offensive production out of defenseman Toby Enstrom. Enstrom leads the Jets in assists with 3. He is averaging two minutes in the penalty box per game as well.
Keys to watch
Tale of Two Starts
Both teams are at opposite ends of the Central Division at the moment. The Predators are currently tied for 1st in the division, while the Jets are in last for the division. While it is early in the season, this division is starting to take some shape and both teams will be looking to take advantage of this early season division matchup.
The Predators will be having a back-to-back matchup for the first time this season. Their next back to back will be on December 22nd (Columbus) and 23rd (Boston). With an opponent on Saturday like the Chicago Blackhawks, the Preds will need to focus on this division matchup against Winnipeg and not be looking for the matchup against the Blackhawks.
It will also be interesting to see whether the Preds send out Pekka Rinne or Carter Hutton vs. the Jets. Will the Preds save Rinne for the matchup vs. the Blackhawks? Will Laviolette start Carter Hutton in net? We will have to wait and see.
Edit: The Preds will be starting Pekka Rinne vs Andrej Pavelec.
Early on in this season, Peter Laviolette has switched the lineup pairings quite frequently. Most recently, trying Filip Forsberg on the first line with James Neal and Mike Ribeiro. Also, placing Gabriel Bourque on the 4th line with Paul Gaustad and Eric Nystrom. Coach Laviolette seems to be playing the hot hand, with no regards to seniority or contracts. Forsberg has been extremely hot at the beginning of this season and Laviolette is rewarding him with first line playing time. It is interesting to note that the 4th line leads the team in points with 8.
The Preds look to continue their hot streak with a “W” in Winnipeg. Predator fans not making the trip to Canada can catch the matchup on FS-TN or listen on 102.5 the Game. Puck drops at 7:00pm!