(SportsNetwork.com) - The Winnipeg Jets will skate in front of their home fans for the first time this season on Friday night as they welcome the Nashville Predators to MTS Centre.
The Jets began the campaign with three in a row on the road, opening the schedule with a 6-2 win over Arizona before suffering back-to-back losses at San Jose and Los Angeles. Winnipeg scored just one goal in the setbacks, shut out by the Sharks on Saturday before falling 4-1 to the Kings the following night.
Bryan Little had the lone goal versus the Kings, his third of the season, but Michael Hutchinson yielded three goals on 13 shots before getting lifted in the second period. Ondrej Pavelec came in and made 17 saves on 18 shots in relief.
"Yeah, we knew (the Kings) were going to come hard," said Hutchinson. "They dropped their first two games and being back at home we knew they were going to come hard and they did. It's just unfortunate that we couldn't pull it out tonight."
Winnipeg is set to play five straight at home and Pavelec should get the start tonight. He is 3-3-1 with a 2.21 goals against average and .927 save percentage in eight games versus the Preds, including seven starts.
While the Jets will enjoy their home opener, the Predators hit the road for the first time following a three-game homestand to begin the season. They won the first two under new head coach Peter Laviolette before dropping the finale 3-2 in a shootout on Tuesday against Calgary.
The Flames' Joe Colborne opened the tiebreaker with a goal on Pekka Rinne and both James Neal and Olli Jokinen failed to score on their chances for the Predators.
Filip Forsberg and Mike Ribeiro had the goals in regulation, while Rinne made 26 saves through overtime.
"You give Calgary credit. They came in here and played a hard-working game and earned the two points," said Laviolette.
The Predators will also visit Chicago on Saturday and Rinne may get the call tonight in net given his history versus the Jets. He is unbeaten against them, going 4-0-0 with a 2.90 GAA and .900 save percentage.
Forsberg aims to continue his hot start tonight as he has notched four points through three games. The young winger had just five points in 13 games with Nashville last season.
Jokinen, meanwhile, will face the Jets for the first time since leaving the club as a free agent. He netted 25 goals and 57 points over 127 games the last two seasons while with Winnipeg and scored two goals with five points versus the Predators last season.
Nashville, though, went 3-2-0 in last season's series and is 9-3-2 over the past 14 encounters.