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Preds try to snap slump against desperate Jets

by Deborah Francisco

JETS (34-31-8) at PREDATORS (42-24-8)

CBC, FS-Tennessee (HD)

Last 10:
Winnipeg 4-5-1; Nashville 5-4-1

Season Series:
This is the first meeting between the Predators and the new Winnipeg Jets. It is the only time they will meet this season.

Big Story:
One night after saving their season with a 4-3 overtime win in Washington, the Jets face a Nashville team coming off consecutive losses and trying to earn the final home-ice berth in the West.

Team Scope:

The Jets were looking at the end of their playoff hopes when they fell behind Washington 3-0 early in the second period on Friday night. Bu the Jets rallied behind goals by rookies Ben Maxwell and Spencer Machacek sandwiched around one by Bryan Little to force overtime. Tim Stapleton then scored the OT winner to give the Jets the extra point and move them within four points of eighth place.

"I saw us go into desperation mode," Stapleton said. "I don't think I've really seen that all year between us. We were just pressing and pressing and we stuck to the game plan, just throwing shots on net."

Predators: Nashville is hoping to shake off a couple of bad efforts as it hosts the Jets for the first time ever at the Bridgestone Arena.

It's the home debut for returning forward Alexander Radulov who rejoined the Predators after playing in the KHL for the last four years. Radulov contributed the Predators' lone goal in a 5-1 loss to the red-hot Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night.

"For all (Radulov) has gone through in the last 10-12 days, he hasn't skated a lot, I thought he was fine," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "For a guy who hasn't played over here for four years, I thought he was OK."

The Predators will have to improve their goaltending if they hope to snap their recent skid as they were outscored 11-4 in that two-game span.

Who's Hot:
Little has four goals and nine points in his last nine games. Tobias Enstrom has a goal and eight assists in the same span.

Injury Report: Winnipeg is missing forwards Eric Fehr (upper body), Nik Antropov (lower body) and Chris Thorburn (lower body)… Nashville's Paul Gaustad practiced Friday and may return. Roman Josi and Colin Wilson both skated on Friday but will not play on Saturday.

Stat Pack: Pekka Rinne is just one win away from the 40-win mark, a career best. His previous career high was 33 wins in the 2010-11 season.

Puck Drop: According to the Predators website, Trotz will likely make some roster changes for Saturday's game: "We had a game earlier in the season against Colorado where the stretch prior our work ethic wasn't where it needed to be," he said, "so we just put who we thought were our workers into the lineup. We won."

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