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Preds eye 3-game win streak in clash with Jets
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Nashville Predators take aim at their longest winning streak of the season when they visit the struggling Winnipeg Jets in Friday's battle at MTS Centre.
The Predators have posted recent wins against Los Angeles and Colorado, giving the club its third two-game winning streak of the season. Nashville last won three in a row from March 21-25 of last season, but the club posted a 2-10-3 record to close the season after that three-game win streak and wound up missing the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
Friday's contest already marks the third of five meetings this season between the Preds and Jets, who now are both in the Central Division due to realignment. Nashville is 2-0 against the Jets so far this season, posting a 3-1 win at Winnipeg on Oct. 20 before notching a 3-2 overtime win in the Music City on Oct. 24.
All told, Nashville has taken four straight, six of seven and eight of the past 10 encounters in this series. The road win on Oct. 20 also marked the Preds' first-ever trip to Winnipeg, as the Jets were previously known as the Atlanta Thrashers before relocating to Manitoba prior to the 2011-12 campaign.
Nashville has won three of the past four road tilts against the Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise.
The Predators last played on Wednesday, when they downed Colorado by a 6-4 score to deal the Avalanche just their second loss of the season.
Nashville used a two-goal, two-assist effort by Colin Wilson to post the win in Denver. Though Matt Duchene -- who recorded the 13th three-point game of his career -- tied the game early in the third for Colorado, Wilson's second goal of the contest put the visitors ahead to stay and Gabriel Bourque added a late tally to seal the victory.
Paul Gaustad, Craig Smith and Viktor Stalberg also lit the lamp for the Predators, who improved to 2-0-1 on their seven-game road trip. Carter Hutton also upped his record to 4-1-1 this season after a 27-save performance.
"It was a big win here," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "This is an extremely good team with some dangerous guys and we were able to keep them at bay. They got some good looks, but not enough. Our forwards were really good tonight. They got challenged a little bit and they responded."
Hutton, who has done an admirable job filling in for injured No. 1 goaltender Pekka Rinne, is in line for his sixth consecutive start. He started the previous two games against the Jets this season and won both outings after allowing only three total goals on 75 shots faced over the two games.
Nashville forward Mike Fisher missed Wednesday's game in Colorado with a lower-body injury and is questionable for tonight. Fellow forward Matt Hendricks is also questionable after missing the last two games with an upper- body issue.
The Jets, meanwhile, played their last game without Evander Kane and the forward is questionable for Friday's tilt with a lower-body injury.
Without Kane on Wednesday, the Jets were handed a 4-1 loss in Chicago. It was the fourth loss in five games for Winnipeg, which is 4-9-2 since opening the season with consecutive wins.
Devin Setoguchi scored the lone goal on Wednesday for the Jets, while Al Montoya turned aside 24-of-28 shots for the loss.
"You have to manage the puck well," Jets coach Claude Noel said. "You want to start shooting yourself in the foot, it's in your net. We've given up nine goals in two games [against the Blackhawks]. Do we need to give up another four or five the next time to recognize this is what they can do? I understand we're not perfect, but those things hurt you. Your puck management has to be great."
Montoya has started the last two games, but Ondrej Pavelec could get the call on Friday. Pavelec is 1-2-1 with a 2.54 goals against average in five career outings against Nashville, while Montoya has never seen action against the Preds.
Winnipeg, which will host San Jose on Sunday, is 4-5-1 as the host this season.
11/08 10:50:47 ET