The Winnipeg Jets and Nashville Predators are both trying to end disappointing streaks when they meet on Thursday night at Winnipeg.
The Jets have lost-to-back games against the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights, both on home ice.
For the defensively-sound Jets, it has been a disappointing break from their structure after they allowed 11 combined goals in the two defeats. Winnipeg gave up 11 goals in its previous 6 previous games combined.
In the 6-5 loss to Vegas on Tuesday, the Jets allowed 33 shots and collapsed in the third period, allowing three goals.
“They’re a good team for a reason and when we would get a lead, they kept pouncing on us,” Jets center Mark Scheifele said of the Golden Knights. “They were keeping their speed and we just had to be a little more on our toes, as opposed to letting the game come to us.”
The Jets did score five goals in that loss — including a hat trick from Scheifele. But Winnipeg coach Rick Bowness has been vocal about helping his team find better overall structure in the defensive zone. It’s a formula that Bowness says has worked well and the standings back that up, with Winnipeg within striking distance of first-place in the Central Division.
“We showed we can certainly play with them and with the best teams in the League,” Bowness said. “And we’re going to continue to stay in that fight.”
Nashville has lost four straight (0-3-1), but did pick up an overtime point during that stretch in a 1-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Monday.
The Predators’ most recent outing was a forgettable 6-3 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday, as Nashville was torn to shreds by a five-point night from Leon Draisaitl. Connor McDavid added his own three-point night against the Predators.
“We’ve had a hard time containing them with matchups, guys being able to play against those guys and shut them down on a regular basis,” Nashville coach John Hynes said.
Edmonton was 2-for-2 on the power play in that game. Nashville was 0-for-5 in the game and is 0-for-15 with the man advantage during its four-game skid.
“Special teams was definitely a big factor,” defenseman Roman Josi said. “They scored two on the power play. We had chances, didn’t score. That’s killing us right now. Guys on the power play have to be better. We’ve got to score some goals. It’s hard to win against a team like that, with that much power on the power play. It’s tough.”
Despite the recent setbacks, Predators vs. Jets is a matchup worth watching for the goaltenders, who both will be looking for bounce-back games of their own.
Connor Hellebuyck was in net for five of the six goals against Vegas, but has been a rock for Winnipeg overall. In 22 games, he has .926 save percentage and 2.45 goals-against average.
Juuse Saros has a 2.93 goals-against average and .908 save percentage for Nashville, while his backup, Kevin Lankinen, has a .925 save percentage and 2.64 goals-against average.
–Field Level Media