It only has been four days since the Winnipeg Jets last played the Nashville Predators, and the bad taste from their 3-1 home loss Sunday remains in the mouth of coach Claude Noel.
The Jets were frustrated much of the game despite outshooting the Predators 39-26. Nashville scored three times in the second period to take a 3-0 lead before Evander Kane scored the Jets' lone goal in the third.
The Predators will be without goaltender Pekka Rinne, who is out with a hip injury. But that hardly should matter to Winnipeg, which faced backup goaltender Carter Hutton in their previous Central Division matchup.
"Their other goalie played against us [Sunday] and played fine. We just didn't get enough traffic in front of him," Noel said Thursday. "But they'll be ready for us because they didn't play well in Minnesota [on Tuesday]. They had the same problems we had. They're not happy either."
With the Jets starting a four-game road trip Thursday, all against division rivals, Noel acknowledged that it's time for his team to start putting a winning streak together.
"I think that we know we have to be better in this game against Nashville," Noel said. "We feel we owe them a game and we have to put our best foot forward. We've played 10 games now and we've got to build on some things. We have to stop verbalizing and let our actions speak for themselves."
The Jets may have something to build on following their 5-4 shootout loss to the Washington Capitals on Tuesday. The Jets came back from three separate one-goal deficits and pushed the high-flying Capitals to six rounds in the shootout. Starting an important road trip in Nashville, the team hopes to ride some of the momentum they generated in that game.
"For me confidence-wise, I felt a lot better at the end of that game and in practice [Wednesday]," captain Andrew Ladd said. "You just look at where we are in terms of our record in the standings. We want to start heading in the upper direction towards the playoffs. This is a good step against a divisional rival and a team we're trying to catch."
The Jets held an optional skate Thursday with a number of prominent players not participating, including Kane, Blake Wheeler, Zach Bogosian, Bryan Little and Tobias Enstrom. Noel noted that defenseman Mark Stuart, who has missed two games with a hip injury, could be back and is a game-time decision.
Stuart might not be the only player returning to action for this game. Predators coach Barry Trotz said forward Mike Fisher could be back after missing three games with a foot injury.
Defenseman Roman Josi also skated with the team for the first time since sustaining a concussion Oct. 4 in a game against the Colorado Avalanche.
Here are the lineups each team likely will go with:
Evander Kane - Mark Scheifele - Blake Wheeler
Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Devin Setoguchi
Matt Halischuk - Olli Jokinen - Michael Frolik
James Wright - Patrice Cormier - Anthony Peluso
Grant Clitsome - Dustin Byfuglien
Tobias Enstrom - Zach Bogosian
Adam Pardy - Paul Postma
Scratched: Eric Tangradi
Injured: Jim Slater (undisclosed), Mark Stuart (hip), Chris Thorburn (lower body), Jacob Trouba (upper body)
Colin Wilson - David Legwand - Patric Hornqvist
Gabriel Bourque - Matt Cullen - Craig Smith
Eric Nystrom - Nick Spaling - Filip Forsberg
Viktor Stalberg - Paul Gaustad - Matt Hendricks
Seth Jones - Shea Weber
Mattias Ekholm - Kevin Klein
Victor Bartley - Ryan Ellis
Scratched: Rich Clune
Injured: Roman Josi (concussion), Mike Fisher (lower body), Pekka Rinne (hip)