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At the Rink: Jets at Predators

by Robby Stanley

NASHVILLE – The Winnipeg Jets will try to continue their hot streak Saturday against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Hockey Fights Cancer night.

Winnipeg defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1 Thursday and has points in nine of its past 10 games. Goaltenders Ondrej Pavelec and Michael Hutchinson have played well during that span.

"I think our goaltending has been extremely good," Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba said. "I think that's the key to our success. We've been good in front of him, not really forcing the offense. We take what we get and we're getting plenty of chances. Once we start putting more chances away, I think we'll be in even better shape."

Winnipeg is allowing 2.00 goals against per game, which is second best in the NHL. That strong defensive style has been key to its early season success. It took the Jets a few games to figure out the style they had to play to be successful. After a 1-4-0 start to the season, Winnipeg was able to focus on playing a tight defensive style.

"A little bit of realizing who we are and the way we need to play, and what makes us good," Trouba said. "I think something we figured out a little bit into the season is how we need to play and what makes us good, so I think we're doing that now and things have been going well for us."

Saturday will be the third game of the season between Nashville and Winnipeg. The Predators defeated the Jets 2-0 on Oct. 17 and the Jets won the most recent game 3-1 on Nov. 4.

"They play a simple game and they don't stray away from it at any point in the game so you know what you're going to get," Trouba said. "They kind of play similar to the way that we need to play. It's not a very exciting game. You play your system, wait for your chances and capitalize on them."

Rookie forward Filip Forsberg has a seven-game point streak and a six-game goal streak for Nashville. His teammates have noticed a big difference in the way Forsberg has been playing this season as opposed to the 13 games he played in the League last season.

"I think he's just got a little more jam in his game," Predators forward Eric Nystrom said. "I think last year he was still adjusting a little bit to the physicality of the game and now he's so reliable on the wall. He's getting into those areas that last year maybe he was a little hesitant to go into."

Forsberg leads the Predators in points with 20 and the League with a plus-19 rating. The Predators are hoping he can continue to play this well for the rest of the season.

"He's as good of a player as I've seen," Nystrom said. "I'm really happy for him, but I'm pushing him to keep going and keep his foot on the gas pedal because we need him to play like that."

Here are the projected lineups:


Andrew LaddBryan LittleMichael Frolik

Evander KaneMark ScheifeleBlake Wheeler

Mathieu PerreaultAdam LowryDustin Byfuglien

Chris ThorburnJim SlaterMatt Halischuk

Tobias EnstromZach Bogosian

Mark StuartJacob Trouba

Grant ClitsomePaul Postma

Ondrej Pavelec

Michael Hutchinson

Scratched: TJ Galiardi, Adam Pardy

Injured: Anthony Peluso (upper body)


Filip ForsbergMike RibeiroJames Neal

Matt CullenDerek RoyOlli Jokinen

Taylor BeckCalle JarnkrokCraig Smith

Eric NystromPaul GaustadGabriel Bourque

Roman JosiShea Weber

Anton VolchenkovSeth Jones

Mattias EkholmRyan Ellis

Pekka Rinne

Carter Hutton

Scratched: Victor Bartley

Injured: Mike Fisher (ruptured Achilles tendon), Viktor Stalberg (lower body), Colin Wilson (lower body)

Status report: Thornburn will replace Galiardi on the fourth line for Winnipeg. … Pavelec will against Nashville after Hutchinson got the win against Carolina. … The Predators did not have a morning skate. They tweaked every line except the top line at practice Friday.

Who's hot: Wheeler had two goals against Carolina and leads Winnipeg with 12 points. … Forsberg has 13 points in his past seven games, including seven goals.

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