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Jones Records Career Best Mark; Preds Face Ducks Once More

by Brooks Bratten / Nashville Predators

It seemed as though almost everyone in a Nashville Predators uniform found a way to get their name on the scoresheet during Saturday’s 7-0 victory over the Winnipeg Jets in Nashville, whether it was in the form of a point or a couple penalty minutes.

Preds defenseman Seth Jones went the offensive route, producing the first three-point game of his career in the form of a goal and two assists. Jones’ tally, the third of the evening for Predators, was his first of the season, ensuring that each of Nashville’s regular top-six defenseman have at least one goal on the campaign.

The first point of the night for Jones came courtesy of an assist on Craig Smith’s first-period goal, a play the defenseman admits had the making of a prime scoring opportunity for himself and a chance to register his first score of the season.

“That was one of the first few shifts of the game there, and I’d been thinking about [shooting the puck], so that play I really wanted to,” Jones said Monday after the team’s practice at Ford Ice Center. “But the defenseman took my lane away, so I have no problem giving the puck up to other teammates.”

Jones also hasn’t had any issue skating alongside Barret Jackman, his defensive partner thus far in 2015-16. Jackman, who according to Predators General Manager David Poile was signed this offseason specifically with the hope he would play with Jones, has gelled with the 21-year-old defenseman and the chemistry continues to blossom as November rolls along.

“We’re communicating well on the ice, we’re not giving the opponents much breathing room offensively and we’re playing solid together,” Jones said of being paired with Jackman. “I really enjoy playing with him so far.”

Jackman figured it would only be a matter of time until Jones found the back of the net, and now that he has, the veteran blueliner wouldn’t be surprised to see more of the same.

“He’s been solid all year,” Jackman said of Jones. “I don’t think he’s really even had any points where he’s been off. He’s been great defensively, great being physical in the corners and every chances he gets to jump in the play, he’s a huge threat. Finally, one went in for him, and I’m sure a lot of them are going to start coming now.”

Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette is impressed with what he sees from not only Jones, but all of his defensemen, who lead the League in goals scored by a defense corps with 16 entering Monday’s action.

“That pair has become really good for us and really strong; Seth brings a different element than Barret does but Seth’s been able to jump into the play and add offense and play good defense,” Laviolette said. “All six of our defensemen that are in the lineup right now are playing really well.”

You Look Familiar:

The Predators will close out their current five-game home stand on Tuesday night by facing the Anaheim Ducks for the third and final time this season. There certainly won’t be any lack of familiarity for the two clubs, who have seen each other twice already just six weeks into the campaign, but Nashville expects one version of the Ducks more so than the other.

“They were a different team the first time they came in here, and it was a game that we didn’t expect,” Jackman said. “Their identity kind of came through in Anaheim and they were playing more physical, more of a team game and it was everything we could handle. Tomorrow is going to be more of the second game that we saw in Anaheim.”

Anaheim, who struggled out of the gate, fell 5-1 to the Preds back on Oct. 22 at Bridgestone Arena, but the Ducks responded with a 4-2 victory on Nov. 1 at Honda Center. Nashville knows that Tuesday’s opponent is starting to turn things around, something they’ll be aware of for puck drop.

“They seem to have a lot of their troubles that they were having earlier in the year behind them and they got their captain [Ryan Getzlaf] back on the ice [from injury]… The last time we were in Anaheim, we had our hands full,” Laviolette said. “There are no easy games; you never know what each game is going to have in store.”

Roster Notes and Injury News:

The Predators reassigned goaltender Marek Mazanec to Milwaukee of the AHL on Sunday morning and activated goaltender Carter Hutton from Injured Reserve. Hutton, as well as forward Eric Nystrom (Injured Reserve, upper-body) both participated fully in practice on Monday.

Forward Paul Gaustad (day-to-day, lower-body) did not skate during practice.

Monday’s line rushes were as follows:

Colin Wilson Mike Fisher James Neal
Filip Forsberg Mike Ribeiro Craig Smith
Miikka Salomaki Calle Jarnkrok Cody Hodgson
Gabriel Bourque Colton Sissons A. Watson/E. Nystrom


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