The Nashville Predators are the hottest team in the NHL despite the fact; they are coming off of a loss to the New Jersey Devils in a 3-2 shootout on Saturday night. The Predators are not wrapped up in streaks and this team is focused and they know what needs to be done.
"We don't ever talk about streaks really," Laviolette said. "We have a huge game coming up. When we do come back to work, we're probably only going to talk about that and getting ready for Winnipeg. We'll look at it to stretch out the division, and they're going to look at it to close the gap. Both teams are going to fight pretty hard for it."
Tonight’s game is going to be a fun one indeed simply because these two hit the ice running and they will run all game long. A track meet is the order of the day and it will be fast, lose and both teams will let it all hang out. The last time these two met was a firestorm that ended in a 6-5 come from behind victory by the Predators. The game was a classic duel between two rivals that love to do battle.
Hartman came on board by way of Chicago on February 25th and Mike Fisher came out of retirement and rejoined the team he captained to the Stanley Cup Finals last year, and it has added depth, much needed depth.
"This is one of the toughest times of the year," center Ryan Johansen said. "Every team, every player is bringing their best. You've got to find ways to prepare yourself and out-compete, outwork and outplay the opposition."
The Winnipeg Jets are no slouch and they certainly know where they stand. They want this game, they need this game and they will come prepared to take on the Predators. Both clubs have a lot of heart and they both play with a chip on their shoulders. Tonight will be no exception, expect them both to come out aggressive and expect some big hits and as said earlier; a track meet.
The Jets know who they must stop tonight; Johansen. Johansen has been nails against the Jets and in his last 17 games against them, he has managed 11 goals and 11 assists for 22 points. Michael Hutchinson knows he has his work cut out for him tonight and he must stop not only the Predators but he must stop Johansen. It will be a challenge.
The Jets were outshot 43-28 against Washington, captain Blake Wheeler felt his team played better over the last half of the game.
"We were all over the puck. They weren't able to make any clean passes," he said. "We had all kinds of chances to win that game."
This NHL season has been nothing short of fantastic. It started out with a bang and points were being scored all over the board. The NHL has since found a balance and found some very good defense. Look for this game to be a precursor to the playoffs and look for a fun one, a tough one and a close contest.