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Jets chase more much-needed points vs. Predators

The Winnipeg Jets aim to apply the brakes on their pronounced slide when they visit the Nashville Predators on Saturday afternoon.

The Jets (38-28-3, 79 points) have lost two straight and 11 of their last 15 games (4-9-2) to plummet into fourth place in the Central Division, four points ahead of the Predators (34-25-7, 75 points). The teams split a pair of 2-1 decisions earlier in the season.

Winnipeg, which is clinging to the second wild card in the Western Conference, was unable to solve Jeremy Swayman and the Boston Bruins in a 3-0 setback on Thursday night. The Jets were shut out for the fourth time this season, much to the chagrin of coach Rick Bowness.

“A couple of goal posts, we missed a couple tap-ins around the net … yeah, it could’ve (gone either way),” Bowness said. “But we have to put those pucks in the back of the net. The opportunities were there. Their goalie was really good. We didn’t capitalize on the chances they gave us.”

Those chances came in the form of five power plays in which Winnipeg generated 10 of its 36 shots overall.

“It’s really disappointing; we need these points,” Jets forward Adam Lowry said. “They’re so critical right now, and we’re almost scoreboard watching every night right now. So, it would have been nice to see a few of those go in. I thought for the most part we played a really solid game, and obviously you’re playing the best team in the league.”

Connor Hellebuyck, who made 21 saves on Thursday, has turned aside 64 of 67 shots in two games versus Nashville this season.

Captain Roman Josi recorded an assist in the Predators’ 2-1 win over the Jets on Jan. 24 and scored his team’s lone goal in a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday.

“Obviously it’s a disappointing loss,” Josi said after seeing the team’s three-game winning streak come to a halt. “Every point is huge right now. But we have a massive game coming up Saturday. It’s a quick turnaround. We’ve got to look at this (game) tonight, but after that, we’ve got to forget about it and look forward to Saturday.”

Tommy Novak notched an assist on Josi’s goal to extend his point streak to four games (four goals, two assists). He also had an assist in his team’s 2-1 victory over the Jets on Jan. 24.

Matt Duchene also had an assist on Josi’s goal to boost his point total to 31 (13 goals, 18 assists) in his last 38 games.

Nashville coach John Hynes cautioned his team not to get too down following Thursday’s loss.

“They’ve got to understand that in this league you can’t get too low because there’s another one coming … Saturday,” he said. “So let’s not be frustrated with it. Let’s take some lessons out of it as a group, get some rest and make sure our minds are right and we’re getting ready to go again.”

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