On Tuesday night, there was a power struggle in the NHL. The best of the Eastern and Western Conferences met at Bridgestone Arena, and the game met the hype. Preds vs Lightning was a go.
The first period was a struggle, back-and-forth the teams went trying to get an advantage, but to no avail and the game was scoreless at the end of one period of play. The 2nd period was ALL Preds. Nashville was able to get scores from Seth Jones (8:31) and Taylor Beck (12:47). The Preds looked poised to take another one at home. Tampa Bay turned the tide during the 3rd period. With the best 3rd period offense in the NHL, the Lightning were able to tie the match up with goals from Brett Connolly (1:20) and Nikita Kucherov (7:50).
The game was sent to OT, and the “Real-Deal” came through. James Neal was able to bury the game winner at 4:27 of the OT.
Tonight, with another non-televised match-up, the Preds will take on the Winnipeg Jets at 7:00 pm CST.
In their last outing, the Jets (28-18-10) beat the Minnesota Wild in OT 2-1. During the 2nd period, Toby Enstrom got the Jets on the board with a goal at 7:53. Minnesota tied up the game with a goal by Jason Pominville (10:22). The game went to OT and was won by Dustin Byfuglien (14) with one minute remaining.
Andrew Ladd leads all scorers on the Jets roster with 45 points (18 goals, 27 assists). Bryan Little (44) and Blake Wheeler (41) both have more than 40 points. Little also leads the team in goals with 21.
Keys to Watch
New Faces for Jets
On Wednesday, the Jets decided to make a big trade for positions they thought were a need in their organization. The Jets acquired from Buffalo, Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford, Joel Armia and Brendan Lemieux, as well as a 1st round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, in exchange for Zach Bogosian, Evander Kane and prospect Jason Kasdorf. This new look for the Jets will be on display with Myers and Stafford tonight at Bridgestone Arena. Early on, there could be some chemistry issues to look for as they try to adjust to the new system.
Seth Jones Emerging
With the injury to Ryan Ellis, and still waiting for his return, someone had to step up. Insert: Seth Jones. Jones has played well in his increase of minutes and role for the Preds. On Tuesday, Jones recorded a goal in his 2nd straight game for the first time in his career and also had 25:35 TOI (season-high). He pushes the pace of the game by not being afraid to go in the offensive zone with the puck and takes shots, when necessary. Jones is showing quality play and stepping up big when his team needs him.
Anthony Bitetto has been called up two times this season due to injury, and both times he has been impressive. He made his NHL debut on 1/17/15 at Detroit, logging 11:01 TOI, but he was reassigned to Milwaukee. The Island Park, New York, native has put up a solid season for the Milwaukee Admirals with 25 points in 46 games with the Preds AHL-affiliate. Bitetto brings a physical style of play, that is not afraid of dropping the gloves, and this was evident as Bitetto won a fight with Brett Connolly on Tuesday night.
The Nashville Predators look to continue a dominant season at home as the visiting Winnipeg Jets come into Bridgestone Arena. Once again, this game is not televised, so, if you want to watch the game, you will have to make it to the arena. As usual, the game will be carried live on 102.5 The Game. Puck drops at 7:00 pm CST.