Struggling Jets begin road trip in Nashville

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Updated: October 24, 2013

(SportsNetwork.com) – After being criticized by their head coach in a loss to
Nashville last weekend, the Winnipeg Jets responded with a better effort but
another loss last time out.

The Jets look for better luck on their upcoming road trip, which begins on
Thursday night with a rematch against the Predators.

Winnipeg will play its next four on the road following a 2-3-1 homestand. That
includes a 3-1 loss to Nashville on Sunday, one in which Jets coach Claude
Noel said there were times it looked like his club just “played to play.”

The Jets had the finale of their residency on Tuesday, the club’s league-high
eighth home game of the season, and battled back from three one-goal deficits
against the Washington Capitals before eventually falling 5-4 in a shootout.

Bryan Little scored twice in defeat, once shorthanded and the other to tie the
game with 7:04 to play in the third period, but the Caps had four goals to the
Jets’ three in the six-round shootout.

Ondrej Pavelec made 28 saves through overtime and then stopped the first two
skaters he faced in the tiebreaker before yielding four straight tallies.

Grant Clitsome and Blake Wheeler also scored for the Jets, who have lost six
of their last eight overall.

“I thought the line combos were good. We got some good offense from people
that were frustrated in the past,” Noel said.

Nashville’s offense was certainly frustrated last time out in a 2-0 loss to
Minnesota on Tuesday. Josh Harding stopped all 16 shots the Preds fired on
net, while Pekka Rinne yielded a goal on 28 shots faced.

One of those stops by Rinne came late in the second period, but Minnesota’s
Justin Fontaine was there to chip home the rebound with 1:07 left in the
frame.

“We didn’t come out with that spark and that jump that we have had lately,”
Nashville center Matt Cullen said. “For us to be successful we have to have
that.”

After having a two-game win streak snapped in the finale of a three-game road
trip, the Preds will play back-to-back contests at home before embarking on a
seven-game swing that runs from Oct. 31-Nov. 15. They are 3-1-1 at home this
season.

Rinne did not start when the Predators beat the Jets last weekend, with backup
Carter Hutton making 37 saves in his first career victory. Rinne should get
the call tonight and is 4-0-0 with a 2.90 goals against average in five career
meetings with the Jets, including four starts.

Nashville’s win last weekend was its third in a row over the Jets and it is
7-1-1 in the previous nine meetings. The Preds have also won three straight at
home versus the Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise and has claimed six of eight all-
time as the host in this series.

Pavelec allowed three goals on 26 shots versus the Preds on Sunday, falling to
1-2-0 with a 2.47 GAA against them.