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Game Day: Jets vs. Preds

by Thomas Willis & Brooks Bratten / Nashville Predators

(18-19-2) Winnipeg Jets vs. Nashville Predators (19-13-7)
  7 P.M. | Bridgestone Arena | #WPGvsNSH
TV: FS-TN | Radio: 102.5 The Game | Pregame: 6:30 P.M.
Tickets | Nissan Tuesday


The Nashville Predators return home from a three-game road trip for a single contest tonight against a Central Division foe in the Winnipeg Jets. The Preds got the better of tonight's opponent in their first meeting this season, a 7-0 rout of the Jets back in November.

Nashville is coming off of a 2-1 overtime win - the first 3-on-3 overtime victory in franchise history - on Saturday over Carolina, courtesy of a Mattias Ekholm tally in the extra session. Winnipeg dropped a 4-1 decision to Anaheim on Sunday and currently sits last in the division with 38 points.

The 7-0 contest against the Jets on Nov. 14 was tied for the second-largest margin of victory in Predators franchise history. Eleven different players notched a point and nine different players had multiple points in the win. There were also 156 penalty minutes recorded in the game between the two teams, the second-highest total ever in franchise history (210 PIM – Oct. 20, 2003 vs. Detroit) and Pekka Rinne posted his 38th career NHL shutout.

Rinne enters tonight's game with an all-time record of 8-1-0 against the franchise (including Atlanta), with a .934 save percentage and a 1.84 goals-against average in 10 appearances.

Tonight's contest also features the top two goal-scoring defensemen from the 2003 NHL Draft. Shea Weber (49th overall) ranks first with 157 goals, while Dustin Byfuglien (245th overall) ranks second with 142 goals. Weber ranks second among all NHL defensemen with eight power-play goals this season and is third with 11 tallies.

Defenseman Roman Josi leads the Preds in scoring with 29 assists, including nine goals, followed by Weber and forward Filip Forsberg, who each have 26 points apiece. James Neal, who is one goal away from 200 for his NHL career, paces Nashville with 15 tallies and his 24 points are one behind Mike Ribeiro who has 25, including 21 helpers. Rinne is 16-11-6 on the season with a 2.41 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage.

Neal has 14 career goals versus the Jets, tied for his highest total against any team. He notched a hat trick against Winnipeg on March 20, 2012. Ribeiro has recorded a point in five of his last six games against the Jets (2g-4a) and Craig Smith has recorded a point in three of his last four games against Winnipeg (2g-3a).

Blake Wheeler is tops on the Jets with 40 points, including 30 assists, followed by Bryan Little with 33 points, as well as a team-leading 14 goals. Dustin Byfuglien has 23 points from the blue line; forwards Mark Scheifele and Drew Stafford have 12 goals apiece. Goaltender Michael Hutchinson is 5-9-1 on the season, Ondrej Pavelec is 5-6-1, but Connor Hellebuyck is 8-4-0 in 12 starts.

Tonight's contest is the 28th meeting all-time between these two clubs. The Preds have points in nine of their last 13 games against the Jets franchise (9-4-0), and have an overall record of 16-8-4 against them.


Predators Game Day Video:

Preds Players: Mattias Ekholm, Filip Forsberg and Seth Jones


What to Watch for: Preds Web Team Breakdown


Coach Presser: Head Coach Peter Laviolette


Projected Lineups:

Nashville Predators:

The Predators held an optional morning skate on Tuesday. Below lineup is based on the lines shown in Monday's practice.


Forwards
Filip Forsberg Mike Ribeiro Craig Smith
Colin Wilson Mike Fisher James NEal
Viktor Arvidsson Calle Jarnkrok Cody Hodgson
Eric Nystrom Paul Gaustad Miikka Salomaki
Defense
Roman Josi Shea Weber
Barret Jackman Seth Jones
Mattias Ekholm Ryan Ellis

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Goaltenders: Pekka Rinne is the expected starter in net with Carter Hutton serving as the backup.

Extra: (D) Petter Granberg, (D) Anthony Bitetto, (F) Gabriel Bourque (IR; upper-body), (F) Austin Watson


Winnipeg Jets:

Forwards
Drew Stafford Bryan Little Blake Wheeler
Mathieu Perreault Mark Scheifele Nikolaj Ehlers
Andrew Ladd Adam Lowry Alexander Burmistrov
Chris Thorburn Andrew Copp Joel Armia
Defense
Jacob Trouba Dustin Byfuglien
Toby Enstrom Tyler Myers
Mark Stuart Ben Chiarot

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Goaltenders: Connor Hellebuyck is expected to start in net with Michael Hutchinson serving as the backup.

Extra: (F) Anthony Peluso, (D) Adam Pardy, (D) Paul Postma, (D) Grant Clitsome (upper-body), Ondrej Pavelec (lower-body)

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