Predators-Jets Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated October 20, 2013
Seth Jones is already making an impact for the Nashville Predators. A day after scoring his first game-winning goal, the budding star will try to help the Predators to a fourth win in five tries when they visit the Winnipeg Jets for the first time Sunday night. Nashville (4-3-1) is 4-1-1 after opening the season with a pair of road defeats. The Predators earned their first road win Saturday, beating Montreal 2-1 as Jones snapped a tie with 1:27 left. The defenseman, selected fourth overall in June's draft, has two goals and two assists, with all of that scoring coming in Nashville's four victories. "We've been very fortunate," coach Barry Trotz said. "We really got a special player in Seth Jones. We saw what he can do. He played big minutes (Saturday), scored the winning goal. He's earning his own stripes." Jones' emergence is giving the Predators an impressive 1-2 punch on the blue line with Shea Weber. Like Jones, Weber has also been an offensive factor in victories this season. The captain's four points have all come in wins, including a goal against the Canadiens. Weber also scored in a 3-1 home win over the Jets (4-4-0) on March 24, 2012, but the work-stoppage that truncated last season prevented the Predators from visiting Winnipeg. Now that they're Central Division rivals following realignment, they'll face each other much more frequently. Nashville hosts the Jets on Thursday after concluding this three-game trip in Minnesota two days prior. It's unclear if the Predators will have Pekka Rinne in net after he made 28 saves Saturday. Backup Carter Hutton's only appearance came in a season-opening 4-2 loss at St. Louis on Oct. 3 after Rinne was pulled for giving up three goals on the first six shots. Rinne's success against the franchise formerly known as the Atlanta Thrashers could mean he gets the nod again. He's won all four of his starts against them behind a 2.49 goals-against average, making 24 stops in the most recent matchup. Winnipeg has split the first four of this season-high six-game homestand, which concludes Tuesday against Washington. The Jets follow that with their visit to Nashville, beginning a four-game road trip. Before that, they'll try to build on the confidence gained from Friday's 4-3 shootout win over St. Louis. Tobias Enstrom earned Winnipeg at least a point in the standings, scoring with 1:54 left in regulation to erase a two-goal, third-period deficit. "It definitely feels good when you win those," center Bryan Little said. "It was a good win against a good team and hopefully that gives us some confidence. ... We've got to believe we can beat teams like this on a nightly basis." The Jets will be without rookie Jacob Trouba, who is on injured reserve with a neck sprain after crashing head-first into the boards when he missed a hit on Blues defenseman Jordan Leopold. The 19-year-old defenseman, selected ninth overall in the 2012 draft, left the ice on a stretcher. He's expected to be replaced by Adam Pardy, who was recalled from St. John's of the AHL, and is a veteran of 200 NHL games with Calgary, Dallas and Buffalo.
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