Predators-Jets Preview

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.