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.