Jets at Predators
The red-hot Nashville Predators look to keep a safe distance atop the Central Division when they host the second-place Winnipeg Jets for a showdown Tuesday night. The Predators saw their 10-game winning streak come an end Saturday with a 3-2 shootout loss against New Jersey at home, but still own a six-point lead over the Jets in the Central with one game in hand.
“It speaks for our team,” Nashville defenseman Roman Josi told reporters. “Winning 10 in a row shows a lot of consistency and that’s what you want toward the playoffs. … Obviously we were hoping to keep it going, but we’ve just got to forget about that one and come back the next game.” The Predators are 24-7-4 on home ice and won two of the first three this season against the Jets, who are 4-1-1 in their last six games after suffering a 3-2 overtime loss at Washington on Tuesday. Sizzling right wing Patrik Laine scored one of Winnipeg’s goals in the loss, giving him 10 tallies during a six-game streak and 41 for the season - one behind Alex Ovechkin for the league lead. Jets center Mark Scheifele, who has four points in three games against Nashville this season, is likely to sit out his fourth straight game with an upper-body injury.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, TVA, TSN3 (Winnipeg), FS Tennessee (Nashville)
ABOUT THE JETS (41-18-10): Laine also boast a 12-game point streak in which he has recorded 16 goals and six assists to push his season total to 64 points - second only behind captain Blake Wheeler (76). Veteran center Paul Stastny has proved to be a valuable pick up at the trade deadline, posting two goals and six assists in seven games since coming over from St. Louis. Connor Hellebuyck (35-11-9) made 40 saves Monday - seven in overtime - to earn a point and may get a rest Tuesday in favor of backup Michael Hutchinson (2-0-0, .933 save percentage).
ABOUT THE PREDATORS (44-14-10): Veteran Pekka Rinne (37-9-4, 2.28 goals-against average, .928 save percentage) was rested against New Jersey and should be back in net to go for his ninth consecutive victory. Right wing Viktor Arvidsson leads the team in goals (25) and points (51) after recording seven tallies and setting up seven others in his last 11 contests while center Ryan Johansen owns goals in back-to-back games. Defenseman P.K. Subban is second on the team in points, but has managed only two assists in his past eight contests.
1. Winnipeg LW Nikolaj Ehlers scored the other goal Monday and has registered 11 points in his last nine contests.
2. Nashville F Austin Watson is tied for second in the league with three short-handed goals entering Monday.
3. Jets Ds Toby Enstrom (lower-body) and Dmitry Kulikov (upper-body) each missed the last two games and are questionable for Tuesday.