Preview: Predators at Jets
The Nashville Predators travel to face the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday after a night of firsts in Chicago two nights earlier, including John Hynes’ first victory as coach and goaltender Pekka Rinne’s goal. The 5-2 victory over the Blackhawks provided plenty of momentum for the Predators, who fired former coach Peter Laviolette on Monday in an effort to shake up a preseason Central Division contender that has struggled at times this season.
Rinne became the 12th goaltender in NHL history to score a goal, the first since Mike Smith of Arizona in 2013, finding the empty net with 22 seconds remaining as the Predators improved to 1-1 under Hynes. “It’s been a tough week for them,” Hynes told reporters postgame. “They put in some work, they really listened, and they had to really battle for this win.” Winnipeg wrapped up a four-game road trip with a 5-4 loss at Boston on Thursday, a game the Jets led 4-3 before allowing the game-tying and game-winning goals during a 33-second span in the third period, but nonetheless finished with five points on the trip. “We were about 10 minutes away from it being a great road trip,” Jets center Andrew Copp told the media postgame. “Kind of a sour taste right now. I feel like we kind of let one get away.”
TIME: 2 p.m. ET. TV: FS Tennessee, TSN3
ABOUT THE PREDATORS (20-16-7): Defenseman Roman Josi registered an assist Thursday to extend his point streak to 12 games, giving him 20 (seven goals) with six multi-point games in that span. Rinne stopped 29-of-31 shots to improve to 15-9-3 on the season, and after a three-game losing streak is 2-1-0 with a .911 save percentage in his past three outings. Forward Colin Blackwell also scored his first NHL goal and blocked four shots in 10:46 of ice time against the Blackhawks.
ABOUT THE JETS (24-17-4): Forward Kyle Conner scored his 22nd goal in the first period Thursday and later registered an assist, giving him eight goals and 13 points across his past 10 games. Center Mark Scheifele has a goal in five of his past six games - recording 11 points in that span - after finishing Thursday with a goal and an assist. Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, who did not play against Boston, has stopped 54-of-59 shots in winning his past two starts.
1. Copp picked up his 100th career point on his second-period goal against Boston.
2. Nashville’s penalty kill went 1-for-3 on Thursday, and in its past six games has allowed 10 power-play goals in 22 opportunities.
3. Hellebuyck made 38 saves to lead the Jets past the Predators 2-1 in their first matchup of the season on Nov. 19 in Nashville.
PREDICTION: Jets 4, Predators 3