(SportsNetwork.com) - The Winnipeg Jets will try to continue their recent surge with a third straight victory when they welcome the Nashville Predators for Tuesday's battle at MTS Centre.
The Jets are 6-1-0 since firing head coach Claude Noel and replacing him with Paul Maurice. Despite that recent stretch of strong play, Winnipeg still has some work to do to make the playoffs as the club currently sits seven points behind the Western Conference's eighth and final seed.
Winnipeg won its first four games under Maurice before dropping Thursday's 1-0 decision in San Jose. The club bounced back on Saturday with a 5-4 overtime win against visiting Toronto and then picked up a comeback victory the following night in Chicago.
Blake Wheeler scored twice and Andrew Ladd once in a three-goal third period on Sunday for the Jets, who posted a 3-1 win over the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks. Al Montoya kept his club in the contest, stopping 34- of-35 shots as he and Winnipeg killed off all three of Chicago's power-play opportunities.
"That win was all him," Ladd said of Montoya. "He gave us a chance going into third. We were only down one and still had a chance to win the game. We wanted to reward him for playing out of his mind over the first two periods."
Winnipeg will play its next two games on home ice before closing its pre- Olympic schedule on a four-game road trip. The Jets are 13-10-4 on home ice this season and 3-0 since Maurice took over behind the bench.
The Predators have lost two straight on the heels of a 4-1-0 stretch and will try to get back on track tonight against a Jets team that posted a 5-0 victory when the clubs met last on Nov. 8 in Winnipeg.
However, Nashville had already won the first two meetings of the season against the Jets before falling in lopsided fashion over two months ago at MTS Centre. The Preds still have taken four of five and six of the past eight encounters in this series against the Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise.
Nashville is 3-1-1 in its last five road games in this matchup but the Preds are just 10-12-4 as the guest this season.
Barry Trotz's club fell to 1-1-1 on a four-game swing after dropping a 5-1 decision Sunday in Edmonton. The Predators were tied with the Oilers at 1-1 late in the first period before allowing Edmonton to score four unanswered goals, beginning with the game-winner by Jordan Eberle with just 12 seconds left in the opening stanza.
"I'm quite disappointed," Trotz said. "We had it 1-1 late in the first and I thought we would be in good shape."
David Legwand netted Nashville's lone goal, while Carter Hutton allowed all five goals on 27 shots for the Predators.
Devan Dubnyk could get the call in net for Trotz on Tuesday. The former Edmonton Oiler is 2-1-0 with a 3.71 goals against average in his career against the Jets. Dubnyk was traded earlier this month from Edmonton and he is 0-1-1 with a 4.36 GAA in his first two outings with the Predators.
Winnipeg No. 1 goaltender Ondrej Pavelec is 2-2-1 with a 2.10 GAA in six career games against the Preds, while Montoya, the hero in the Sunday's win over Chicago, has never faced Nashville.