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Preview: Predators at Jets

Nashville without James Neal; Winnipeg back home after winless five-game road trip

by Scott Billeck / Correspondent

PREDATORS (10-7-3) at JETS (9-12-2)

1 p.m. ET; TSN3, FS-TN, NHL.TV

Predators team scope

The Nashville Predators will try to extend a three-game winning streak without forwards James Neal and Colton Sissons for the two-game road trip that begins Sunday. Each was injured in a 5-1 win against the Winnipeg Jets on Friday and did not practice Saturday. Defenseman Ryan Ellis (upper body) also will miss both games; he did not play Friday. Forward Ryan Johansen has three goals and two assists in the past two games after getting five points in his previous 14 games. "You try not to worry about points because there is so many ups and downs throughout 82 games," he said. "Obviously, I wasn't getting much over the last month or so. But I felt I've been playing a good two-way game still, taking care of the [defensive] zone. We've been winning hockey games lately. Nice to chip in on the offense." Johansen has 11 points in his past five games against Winnipeg. "I guess I'm happy we get to play them again Sunday," he said. Goalie Pekka Rinne has won his past three starts, allowing four goals. "You just try to stay in it and try to enjoy it," Rinne said. "It's been a fun little bit here for a while now. It's just trying to keep it going. It's such a position of confidence and it impacts our game so much." The Predators are 2-6-2 on the road. "We've got to be better, there's no question that we've got to be better on the road than we have been," coach Peter Laviolette said.

Jets team scope

Winnipeg will try to end a five-game losing streak, all on the road, where they were outscored 20-6. "The good news is, we've got a lot of spirit in our room," captain Blake Wheeler said. "We have a great locker room, a really close locker room. You've seen no quit in us so far this year. We've come back from some tough situations and some tough deficits within games. I'm optimistic our group can rebound here." Winnipeg's top line of Patrik Laine, Mark Scheifele and Wheeler were given one shift in the third period Friday. "When you're in the midst of a four-game losing streak, you look to your leaders to pull you out of it," Wheeler said. "That wasn't the game we needed from us. It starts with me. I'm the leader of this team. I need to be better. There was probably a little bit of a message there." Scheifele has three points (one goal, two assists) in his past seven games; he had 11 points (five goals, six assists) in previous five. Laine has one goal in his past nine games.

Predators projected lineup

Viktor Arvidsson -- Ryan Johansen -- Kevin Fiala

Filip Forsberg -- Mike Ribeiro -- Craig Smith

Colin Wilson -- Mike Fisher -- Pontus Aberg

Frederick Gaudreau -- Calle Jarnkrok -- Austin Watson

Mattias Ekholm -- P.K. Subban

Roman Josi -- Matt Irwin

Anthony Bitetto -- Yannick Weber

Pekka Rinne

Juuse Saros

Scratched: Mike Liambas, Petter Granberg

Injured: Miikka Salomaki (upper body), Ryan Ellis (upper body), James Neal (upper body), Colton Sissons (upper body)

Jets projected lineup

Patrik Laine -- Mark Scheifele -- Blake Wheeler

Nikolaj Ehlers -- Nic Petan -- Drew Stafford

Marko Dano -- Adam Lowry -- Brandon Tanev

Kyle Connor -- Andrew Copp -- Chris Thorburn

Ben Chiarot -- Dustin Byfuglien

Josh Morrissey -- Jacob Trouba

Mark Stuart -- Paul Postma

Connor Hellebuyck

Michael Hutchinson

Scratched: Toby Enstrom, Alexander Burmistrov, Julian Melchiori

Injured: Joel Armia (lower body), Bryan Little (lower body), Shawn Matthias (upper body), Tyler Myers (lower body), Mathieu Perreault (upper body)

Status report

The Predators recalled Fiala, Gaudreau, Liambas and Granberg from Milwaukee of the American Hockey League on Saturday. … The Jets recalled Melchiori from Manitoba of the AHL.

Who's hot

Subban has six points (two goals, four assists) in his past five games. … Wilson has four points (two goals, two assists) in his past five games. … Byfuglien has a goal (his second of the season) and an assist in his past two games.

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