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Jets take second crack at first-place Predators

by Patrick Williams

PREDATORS (7-2-2) at JETS (6-5-1)


WINNIPEG – The Nashville Predators will continue their season-high six-game road trip Tuesday when they visit the Winnipeg Jets.

The Predators are 2-1-0 on the journey after a 3-1 win against the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday.

"This [trip] came at a good time for us," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "Getting on the road can go either way. If you're winning and finding some success, then it can be a really positive experience. It can bring a team together, especially at the beginning of the year."

Laviolette will start goaltender Carter Hutton for the second time this season. Hutton lost a 2-1 overtime decision against the Chicago Blackhawks on Oct. 18 in his only game to date. Hutton played 40 games last season for Nashville, going 20-11-4 with a 2.62 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage.

"We've got confidence in both of our goaltenders," Laviolette said. "It doesn't matter [with] either one going in the net."

Nashville will be without defenseman Anton Volchenkov, who will serve the second game of his four-game suspension. Victor Bartley will dress in place of Volchenkov after making his season debut Sunday. Forwards Calle Jarnkrok (upper body) did not play against Vancouver, and his status is day-to-day. Center Mike Fisher (Achilles tendon) remains out.

The Predators, who lead the Central Division, are allowing 1.91 goals per game this season.

"We've got to make sure that we play our game and dictate," Predators captain Shea Weber said of continuing Nashville's success."

The Jets return to Winnipeg for two games this week after completing a 3-1-0 road trip that featured back-to-back shutouts this past weekend against the New York Rangers and the Blackhawks. Winnipeg will begin a five-game road trip Saturday and is in the middle of a stretch of nine of 11 games on the road.

Goaltender Ondrej Pavelec will start for the Jets, but otherwise coach Paul Maurice will dress the same lineup that he used in the 1-0 win at Chicago.

Winnipeg is 4-0-1 in its past five games and has rebounded from a slow start. Behind Pavelec and Michael Hutchinson, the Jets have a shutout streak of 125:00.

However, the Jets have scored 1.75 goals per game this season, and they scored six goals during their four-game trip.

"[I] feel that there is a growing respect for what you can accomplish even on nights when there are things that aren't easy," Maurice said. "We haven't moved the puck easily for a while, and we're not scoring an awful lot of goals. But the grind, the compete on the puck and the handling of adversity for me, I think, is still the big thing that we're improving on."

Jets captain Andrew Ladd remains cautious about the Jets' recent streak.

"We don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves," Ladd said. "It has been a bit of a run here, but I think the best thing is that there is still more room for improvement in a lot of different areas. We have to be excited about how things have [gone], but we need to keep pushing."

Here are the projected lineups:


Filip Forsberg - Mike Ribeiro - James Neal

Matt Cullen - Derek Roy - Craig Smith

Olli Jokinen - Colin Wilson - Taylor Beck

Gabriel Bourque - Paul Gaustad - Eric Nystrom

Roman Josi - Shea Weber

Victor Bartley - Seth Jones

Mattias Ekholm - Ryan Ellis

Carter Hutton

Pekka Rinne

Suspended: Anton Volchenkov

Scratched: None

Injured: Calle Jarnkrok (upper body), Mike Fisher (Achilles tendon)


Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Michael Frolik

Evander Kane - Mark Scheifele - Blake Wheeler

Mathieu Perreault - Adam Lowry - Dustin Byfuglien

TJ Galiardi - Jim Slater - Chris Thorburn

Tobias Enstrom - Zach Bogosian

Mark Stuart - Jacob Trouba

Grant Clitsome - Paul Postma

Ondrej Pavelec

Michael Hutchinson

Scratched: Matt Halischuk, Adam Pardy

Injured: Anthony Peluso (upper body)

Status report: Volchenkov is eligible to return to the Nashville lineup Nov. 11 when the Predators host the Edmonton Oilers…Jets left wing Anthony Peluso (upper body) participated in the morning skate, but he will not play Tuesday.

Who's hot: Predators forward Filip Forsberg leads all NHL rookies with 11 points (three goals, eight assists…The Jets are fifth in the NHL on the penalty kill at 87.2 percent…Winnipeg's run of shutting out opponents has put them 26:55 from tying the franchise record of 151:55 that was set in the 2005-06 season.

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