Winnipeg Jets at Nashville Predators
7 p.m. CT, Bridgestone Arena. TV: TSN3. Radio: TSN 1290
THE BIG MATCHUP
Mark Scheifele vs Ryan Johansen
Two elite centremen should see plenty of one another as the Jets and Predators renew acquaintances. The head coaches spent a lot of time going best on best during the second-round series last spring and you can expect more of the same on Thursday night. Scheifele has a goal and three points in three games while Johansen has been limited to one assist in three games.
KEYS TO THE GAME
Jets left-winger Kyle Connor is riding a three-game goal-scoring streak and leads the Jets with four points through three games.
He’s playing with confidence and is using his speed to create scoring chances for himself and his linemates. Connor is up to nine game-winning goals in his career, including five in his past 13 outings.
Keeping it tight
The Jets ran into penalty trouble in the first two games, as they were shorthanded nine times, but they tightened up the discipline – mostly eliminating the stick fouls as they took only two minors in Tuesday’s home opener against the Los Angeles Kings. The Predators like to mix it up after the whistle, so the Jets patience could be tested in this game.
Start on time
The Predators are sure to be in a crusty mood after falling 3-0 to the Calgary Flames on Tuesday. Flames goalie Mike Smith had to be sharp, making 43 saves, including 21 during a second-period barrage. For two teams who know how to defend, the Jets and Predators play a lot of high-event hockey and the scoring chances are usually plentiful.
Offence from the defence
The Predators get a lot of production from the back-end, which is no surprise when you consider they feature one of the best defence corps in the NHL – with captain Roman Josi, P.K. Subban and Ryan Ellis leading the way. Coverage of the points will be an area of focus for the Jets in this one.