Based on their success against the Jets franchise in recent years, the Nashville Predators should be thrilled that Winnipeg has moved into the Western Conference.
The visiting Predators look for a fifth consecutive victory - and third this season - over the Jets on Friday night.
The teams didn't see much of each other when the Jets franchise played in the Eastern Conference while based in Atlanta and then the past two seasons in Winnipeg. That's something Nashville (8-5-2) is probably happy to see change, as it's gone 6-0-1 in the last seven meetings and 8-1-1 in the past 10.
In the teams' first matchup since a 3-1 Nashville victory March 24, 2012, the Predators won 3-1 in their first-ever game at Winnipeg on Oct. 20. Four days later, Craig Smith scored in overtime to give Nashville a 3-2 home victory over the Jets (6-9-2).
The Predators allowed 11 goals while going 0-1-1 in the next two games, but bounced back with a 4-3 win at Los Angeles on Saturday and snapped Colorado's six-game winning streak with a 6-4 victory Wednesday.
Colin Wilson had two goals with two assists and Viktor Stalberg added one of each for Nashville, which scored the final two of the game after blowing a two-goal second-period lead.
"It was huge, a huge two points. It wasn't pretty," Nashville defenseman Shea Weber said.
Though the Predators have yielded 20 goals in five games since losing goaltender Pekka Rinne for at least four weeks with a hip injury, they've scored 18 while going 3-1-1 during that stretch.
Carter Hutton made 27 saves against the Avalanche to improve to 4-1-1 despite a 2.94 goals-against average. He stopped 72 of 75 shots in the two meetings with the Jets last month and recorded his first career win Oct. 20 at Winnipeg.
Nashville has gone 5 for 7 on the power play while starting 2-0-1 on a season-high seven-game road stretch. It went 6 for 38 with the man advantage through the first 12 games.
Wilson snapped an 11-game goal drought when he scored on the power play Wednesday.
"Obviously, it was great getting some numbers, getting the puck in the net, just to remember I can do it," said Wilson, whose last four-point game came March 8, a day before he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury.
Smith, who also has an assist against the Jets this season, scored Wednesday for the first time since his overtime goal against Winnipeg.
The Jets lost for the fourth time in five games Wednesday, 4-1 at Chicago. Devin Setoguchi spoiled Corey Crawford's shutout bid late in the third period for the Jets, who have scored two or fewer goals in six of the last seven games.
Winnipeg is 1 for 39 on the power play in the last 12 games, and 6 for 63 (9.5 percent) on the season.
"Every day is a new day," said Setoguchi, who has three points in two games after going five straight without one. "That's the mentality of every game."
Evander Kane has one of Winnipeg's three goals against the Predators this season, but he could miss a third straight game with an unspecified injury.
The Associated Press News Service
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