October 17, 2018

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Perreault on Jets' Music City foes: 'We don't really like them, they don't like us'

Mathieu Perreault will play in his 500th regular-season game tonight. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Free Press files)</p></p>

Mathieu Perreault will play in his 500th regular-season game tonight. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Free Press files)

NASHVILLE — It's one of the best rivalries going in the NHL, representing must-see viewing for any hockey fan.

And the latest chapter will get written tonight at Bridgestone Arena as the Winnipeg Jets take on the Nashville Predators, their arch-rivals. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.

The Central Division foes are off to identical 2-1-0 starts to the 2018-19 season.

"Both teams have very similar styles. Maybe different systems, but similar styles. They both play the same way. And they've never been short on storylines. Big leads, big leads lost, lots of action at both ends, lots of hitting," Jets head coach Paul Maurice said after the morning skate.

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NASHVILLE — It's one of the best rivalries going in the NHL, representing must-see viewing for any hockey fan.

And the latest chapter will get written tonight at Bridgestone Arena as the Winnipeg Jets take on the Nashville Predators, their arch-rivals. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.

The Central Division foes are off to identical 2-1-0 starts to the 2018-19 season.

"Both teams have very similar styles. Maybe different systems, but similar styles. They both play the same way. And they've never been short on storylines. Big leads, big leads lost, lots of action at both ends, lots of hitting," Jets head coach Paul Maurice said after the morning skate.

"So if you're turning on a game to watch, these are the games I enjoy watching and being a part of. There's lots of emotion there."

Last spring's memorable second-round playoff series, which Winnipeg won in seven games, only cemented the rivalry.

"They're one of the better teams in the league. We believe we're one of the better teams in the league. We don't really like them, they don't like us. So it should be an interesting game," said veteran forward Mathieu Perreault.

He'll hit a milestone tonight, playing in his 500th regular-season game.

"It's just awesome. It tells you you're getting old," he said.

Winnipeg will go with the same lineup as their first three games, including Connor Hellebuyck in net. That means defenceman Dmitry Kulikov and forwards Marko Dano and Brendan Lemieux will once again be the healthy scratches. Captain Blake Wheeler and defenceman Dustin Byfuglien didn't take part in the morning skate, but both are good to go.

Pekka Rinne gets the call between the pipes for Nashville.

One key matchup to watch is the battle of No. 1 centres. Mark Scheifele and Ryan Johansen both had plenty of praise for each other in the morning.

"He's a great player. He makes great plays, he's a good passer," Scheifele said. "He pretty much does it all. He plays hard, he plays gritty, he goes to the dirty areas and plays a solid game. So it's a fun matchup. It's a challenge."

Winnipeg will be looking to continue the recent success they've enjoyed on the road against the Predators, which included winning three times in "Smashville" during the playoff series.

"I think just bringing a consistent effort and knowing what's ahead of you, just kind of the familiarity that this team has with playing against the Predators and playing in tough buildings, is kind of what you try to thrive off," said defenceman Joe Morrow.

"Coming on the road and getting victories is not easy. The fans in hockey are really what make it tough to come in and play in buildings. And these fans are pretty crazy, they're loud and they're excited to be here. I think our team does a good job of weathering that and being able to deal with that adversity and coming out and playing a pretty emotional game on our side, too."

Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre
Reporter

Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.

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