NHL Hockey

Jets soar into matchup vs. slumping Predators

The Winnipeg Jets will look to continue their November run when they visit the slumping Nashville Predators on Tuesday night.

The Jets improved to 6-1-1 this month with a 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.

Goalie Connor Hellebuyck made 31 saves for visiting Winnipeg, which scored two goals in 21 seconds during the second period.

Hellebuyck has a 2.44 goals-against average and .927 save percentage in 16 games this season.

"He's been making tons of great saves," forward Blake Wheeler said of Hellebuyck. "He's given us an opportunity, especially early on (in the season). We weren't playing very well in front of him. Our game has come a long way since then."

Wheeler had two assists against the Lightning, and the Jets got goals from Mathieu Perreault, Jack Roslovic, Nikolaj Ehlers and Kyle Connor.

After allowing a late goal, Winnipeg is 9-1-1 in one-goal games this season.

The Jets opened the season with a 6-7-0 record in October but appear to have turned their season around thanks to Hellebuyck and other factors, including their attitude.

"In a specific example on the ice, we throw a turnover, something we shouldn't do, and then we fight like a dog to make sure it doesn't go into our net. So, we have that," coach Paul Maurice told the Winnipeg Sun.

"We give up a goal and that hasn't bothered us. There's lots of parts of our hockey game that we can make better; these guys will get better. But their emotional level has been really, really consistent this year."

The Predators, who began the season 8-3-1, are 1-4-2 in their past seven games following a 7-2 loss to the visiting Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.

Nashville lost on a night when it outshot the Blackhawks 41-24

Goalie Pekka Rinne was lifted in the second period after allowing four goals on 14 shots. In his past five starts, Rinne has allowed 20 goals and been pulled twice. Overall, the Predators have allowed 23 goals in their past four games -- and that includes a 2-1 shootout loss to the San Jose Sharks.

"Defense is always a five-man job out there, like offense, so we've got to make sure we all defend together, we come back together and we battle it out together," said Predators defenseman Roman Josi.

Nashville already has allowed five goals in a game eight times this season after doing it 16 times last season.

The Predators have a chance to turn things around as they play four of their next five games at home.

"We have to do a little bit of soul-searching," Nashville's Colton Sissons said.

"It's not been going well for a little while here and it's been a struggle, but teams go through this as we know. We have the personnel here to turn this around in a hurry. We've got a huge game against Winnipeg on Tuesday so we can't dwell on this one too long."

Hellebuyck is 8-5-1 with a 2.82 goals-against-average and .919 save percentage in his career against the Predators. Rinne is 16-7-1 with a 2.55 GAA and .914 save percentage versus the Jets.

--Field Level Media

Updated November 18, 2019

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