For more than a month, the Nashville Predators couldn’t lose. Over the past week, they can’t find a way to win.
Meanwhile, the Winnipeg Jets have been relatively productive when able to actually be on the ice of late.
The Predators look to halt a season-high four-game losing streak when they host the Jets on Thursday night.
Nashville outscored its opponents 53-34 while going 12-1-1 from Dec. 4-Jan. 11. However, the Predators have been outscored 16-8 while mired in an 0-3-1 rut that’s followed. Philip Tomasino scored, but Nashville allowed a pair of third-period goals during Tuesday’s 3-1 home loss to Vancouver.
“The details of our game have to be better,” said Predators coach John Hynes, whose club has been outscored 7-2 while dropping back-to-back home games for the second time this season. “We’ve got to coach it better. The players have to do it better.
“Right now, the attention to detail we need to play with, the consistency level needs to be better, and that’s what we want to focus on here. We’re not playing the way that we need to play to be able to give ourselves a chance to win.”
Juuse Saros had a 2.16 goals-against average while going 10-1-0 during that Predators’ stellar 14-game stretch. However, he’s allowed 12 goals on 93 shots while going 0-2-1 since then. Backup David Rittich (3-2-1, 3.05 GAA) made 21 saves against the Canucks this week.
Filip Forsberg’s four-game point streak (five goals, two assists) ended Tuesday. Nashville’s leader with 19 goals was blanked during a 6-4 loss at Winnipeg on Oct. 23. Nick Cousins recorded a goal with two assists, Tomasino had one of each and Saros made 23 saves, but allowed all six goals in that contest.
Though the Jets should have some confidence after already beating the Predators this season, they haven’t played at Nashville since November 2019.
COVID-19 issues have limited Winnipeg to five games over a 30-day stretch. The Jets led 2-0 just 2:20 into Tuesday night’s contest at Washington. They couldn’t hold on to the lead but managed to force overtime and earn a point through the 4-3 loss to the Capitals.
Winnipeg is 4-1-1 over its past six games, a stretch that began on Dec. 19.
“We’re disappointed we lost the second point (at Washington), but I look at it (as) it’s a big point, and we’re not going to diminish that,” interim Jets coach Dave Lowry said.
Kyle Connor has certainly not been a disappointment for the Jets. The team leader with 39 points, Connor scored his team-high 21st goal on Tuesday. He has three goals with four assists in five 2022 contests and registered a goal with an assist versus Nashville in October.
Teammate Connor Hellebuyck stopped 26 shots in that contest, and has a 2.99 goals-against average while starting each of the past six games. Hellebuyck stopped 75 of 77 shots while winning his past two starts at Nashville.
Winnipeg’s Nikolaj Ehlers, tied for third on the team with 25 points, could miss this game after leaving Tuesday’s contest with an apparent lower-body injury.