JETS (4-5-1) at PREDATORS (5-4-1)
Season series: The Nashville Predators won the first of five games against the Winnipeg Jets this season, 3-1 at MTS Centre this past Sunday. The Predators are 7-1-2 in their last 10 games against the Jets franchise, dating back to when Winnipeg played as the Atlanta Thrashers.
Big story: These Central Division clubs are both coming off losses following the game in Winnipeg on Sunday. Nashville has earned at least a point in four of its five home games this season while Winnipeg starts its four-game road trip in Nashville, where the franchise has not won since the 2008-09 season.
Jets: Winnipeg is trying to find some consistency after winning two straight with 10 total goals to start the season. Following those two victories, the Jets scored just 11 goals over their next seven games. Their six-game homestand leading up to their game at Nashville on Thursday yielded a 2-3-1 record that ended with a back-and-forth 5-4 shootout loss against the Washington Capitals on Tuesday. But coach Claude Noel was focusing on the positives in the postgame press conference.
"I thought that we did the things we felt necessary to give us a chance to beat [the Capitals]," Noel said. "I think there were a lot of good things in the game for us to build on."
Predators: Nashville has hit all the right notes when playing in front of the home crowd this season, so a brief two-game stretch at Bridgestone Arena should help coach Barry Trotz's group bounce back from a tough 2-0 loss at the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday. The Predators' offense struggled with only three shots on goal in the first period and just 16 for the entire game. Finding the back of the net has been a problem as Nashville's 1.90 goals per game ranks last in the Western Conference.
Despite the scoring drought, the Predators are in the middle of the West standings due to a strong defensive corps led by veteran Shea Weber and rookie Seth Jones as well a dependable goaltending from Pekka Rinne. The team' s 2.30 goals-against average ranks fifth in the West and Nashville had a golden opportunity to tie the game in the closing seconds of regulation in Minnesota as Matt Cullen tried to bank a shot off goalie Josh Harding. But the puck remained in the crease before Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon finally cleared it from danger.
"We just didn't come out with a lot of energy tonight," Trotz said. "We hung around there and almost got a point there at the end, which we didn't deserve."
Who's hot: For the Jets, forward Evander Kane has four goals and one assist over his last five games. ... Forward Craig Smith has a goal and four assists over his last six games for the Predators.
Injury report: Forward Jim Slater and defenseman Mark Stuart have missed the last two games for the Jets with an undisclosed injury and rib injury, respectively. Defenseman Jacob Trouba is on injured reserve with a neck injury, as is forward Chris Thorburn with a lower-body injury. ... Mike Fisher is doubtful for Nashville, having missed the last two games with a foot injury. Defenseman Roman Josi is on IR with a concussion.
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