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The Predators will host the Jets on Thursday night. Will Nashville be able to halt their four-game skid?
ANALYSIS

Nashville Predators Vs. Winnipeg Jets Prediction: Can the Predators Get Back on Track?

The Nashville Predators (24-14-3) have been one of the nice surprises this NHL season. Last month, they surged to the top of the Western Conference for a brief period. However, they've now dropped four straight and are sitting in the Central division's third playoff spot. This game against Winnipeg is the second of a three game homestand. They will come out of the gates hard, looking to get back on track.

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Nashville Predators Vs. Winnipeg Jets Prediction

The Jets (17-12-6) will be playing their sixth straight road game tonight. They're coming off of a tough, 4-3 OT loss to the Capitals in which the Jets blew a two goal lead. Winnipeg is currently four points out of a playoff spot—they need to start stacking points in order to remain in the playoff race.

This matchup will feature two of the NHL's premier goaltenders. Connor Hellebuyck has managed to keep the Jets afloat—his 12.9 goals saved above expected rank eighth amongst NHL starters. Right behind him in ninth is Nashville's Juuse Saros, who has saved 12.5 goals above expected this season. Saros was the primary driving force behind Nashville's hot run to start the year. He has struggled a bit over the last few games—the Predators will need him to regain top form to win this game.

Special teams may prove key to deciding this matchup. Nashville's power play ranks fourth in the NHL in terms of conversion rate—they successfully score on 26% of their opportunities. The quarterback of the top PP unit, Roman Josi, has been excellent this season. He has 40 points in 39 games, and leads all NHL defensemen with 20 power play points. The unit will be facing the league's second worst penalty kill—the Jets have only killed off 71.7% of their penalties. If Winnipeg cannot stay out of the box, this game will lean heavily in Nashville's favor.

The Jets' forward core is banged up, a fact that may cause their offense to struggle. Nikolaj Ehlers, arguably their best forward, was injured on a knee-on-knee hit by Capitals' defenseman Dmitry Orlov this Tuesday. Ehlers will be out for a couple of weeks, and will miss this game. The Jets will likely also be missing center Paul Stastny—he is in COVID-19 protocal, and is also recovering from a lower-body injury.

Nashville has experienced a bit of regression over this four-game losing streak. They haven't had outstanding goaltending to lean on like they did earlier in the year, and it cost them. However, they're still playing well—they easily outgained the Blues in expected goals despite losing to them 5-3 on Monday. If they can get even a marginally better outing from Saros, they should defeat this hobbled Jets squad.

Nashville Predators Vs. Winnipeg Jets Line Movement

Nashville Predators Vs. Winnipeg Jets Pick

Pick: Predators ML (-135) (Bet $135 to win $100)

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Article Author

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Jason Yamaguchi is an avid New York sports fan. He has a proven record of providing +EV bets by combining traditional handicapping tactics with advanced statistics. You can follow him on Twitter @TopMoneyPicks to view all of his bets, including NFL, NHL, and MLB picks.

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