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Predatorial Pregame Warmup: October 24, 2013

pregame

Oct 24, 2013



Written by: Kristopher Martel

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Last updated: October 24, 2013 at 2:08 pm

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Nashville Predators (5-4-1) vs Winnipeg Jets (4-5-1)
Gametime: 7:00pm CT / 8:00pm ET
Television: NHL Gamecenter
Radio: 102.5 The Game

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Injuries

Nashville Predators - Roman Josi (concussion), Pekka Rinne (infection)

Winnipeg Jets - N/A

Projected Goaltending Matchup

Carter Hutton, 1-0-0, 0 SO, 0.967Sv%, 1.09GAA

VS

Ondrej Pavelec, 3-5-1, 0 SO, 0.901Sv%, 3.09GAA

Keep an eye on...

Nashville Predators -

Viktor Stalberg – For the second time in only the first month of the season, Stalberg has been called out by Barry Trotz for not producing. To be fair, it’s fairly justified as the prized free agent is scoreless in all six of his games with Nashville after missing the first four with a shoulder injury.

Although his time on ice hasn’t quite been as high as it could be, Stalberg needs to have a breakout game eventually for the Predators to begin contributing to their already anemic offense. With Nashville sandwiching their 4-0-1 stretch with two shutout losses, including one this past Tuesday against Minnesota, their average of 1.90 goals per game could use a boost from an effective Viktor Stalberg.

Winnipeg Jets -

Evander Kane – One of Winnipeg’s best, Kane is on a tear as of late for the Jets and he doesn’t look anywhere close to being finished. Scoring four goals and an assist in his previous five games, Kane leads the way offensively for the Jets along with Bryan Little, who are both tied with eight points on the year (five goals and three assists).

As Evander Kane produces, so do the Winnipeg Jets. He’s a key cog to their offensive machine and needs to stay hot for the Jets to remain at (or improve on) their 14th overall offense ranking in the NHL.

Main Storylines

Nashville Predators -

Being shutout isn’t anything new for the Predators, however it isn’t something they enjoy. Already blanked twice on the scoresheet this early season, the Predators are looking to bounce back in a big way against a Winnipeg Jets team they defeated 3-1 only five days prior. With Magnus Hellberg being called up yesterday to potentially replace Pekka Rinne for currently unknown reasons, the assumption would be that Carter Hutton will get the start this evening for the Predators.

Offensively, Craig Smith has the magic touch for the Predators, and it’s much needed as well. His goal and five assists lead the way ahead of Hornqvist, Fisher, Wilson, and Legwand who all have five points respectively. Patric Hornqvist is the only Predators forward to record more than two goals on the season (currently at three). Only seven Predators players have yet to record a point this season, including Bartley, Hendricks, Klein, Ekholm, Clune, Josi, and the aforementioned Viktor Stalberg.

Pekka Rinne leads Nashville’s goaltending charge with a record of 4-4-1 and a 0.917 save percentage to compliment his 2.31 goals against average. Hutton, who is most likely to start this evening, has looked strong in his only two outings on the ice this season. Playing in relief for Rinne early in the year and starting in net against the same Jets on Saturday, Hutton’s 1.09 goals against average and 0.967 save percentage is stellar. Something that could be helping both goaltenders is Nashville’s penalty killing, which has now killed 18 straight penalties over a span of six games.

Winnipeg Jets -

Starting the season off to a 2-0-0 start was huge for Winnipeg, but going 2-5-1 since isn’t the way the Jets saw their next eight game panning out. Winnipeg has lost three of their last four, with their only win coming against the St. Louis Blues in a shootout this past Friday night. Giving up three goals in each of the previous four games, the Jets have to play better defensively to right their early swaying ship.

Evander Kane and Bryan Little pace the Jets offense, both with five goals and three assists on the season. Ladd, Enstrom, and Byfuglien are right on their tails with seven points each. Byfuglien’s seven assists places him in a tie for 14th in the entire NHL in assists. Yet, one major issue for Winnipeg is their penalty minutes. The Jets are one back of Ottawa for the most times shorthanded this season at 46.

Ondrej Pavalec’s 3-5-1 record for the Jets is their best in net. Al Montoya has only played one game so far this season, however it was a shutout against the New Jersey Devils 11 days ago. Pavalec, who will most likely be between the pipes this evening for the Jets has a 0.901 save percentage and a 3.09 goals against average.

Last time out...

This past Sunday evening, Nashville blitzed the Jets in the second period and held on for a 3-1 win against Winnipeg at the MTS Centre.

Eric Nystrom, Patric Hornqvist, and Matt Cullen all scored for the Predators while Carter Hutton recorded his first career goaltending win in the NHL and his first with the Predators, stopping 38 of 39 shots and earning the NHL’s second star of the night.

One interesting fact...

Nashville is 10-4-3 against the Jets (previously Thrashers) all time, including winning three in a row and going 7-1-1 in their past nine against them.

The Predators are 6-2-0 at home against them all time and are undefeated at home against the Winnipeg Jets since their move from Atlanta (1-0-0).

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Photo Credit: Sarah Fuqua