Predators squeeze past Jets to level series


In Thursday night's 2-1 win at Winnipeg that equaled the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinals at two games each, the Predators never let the Jets get out of the starting block.

Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said earlier Saturday that he was concerned that his team, which is relatively inexperienced in postseason, might get worn down playing seven games. Hartnell drew in for Kevin Fiala, who scored in double overtime for Nashville in Game 2. Nashville came out of the gate strong again.

Scoreless through the first 27 minutes, the teams exploded for six goals in a stretch of just over 10 minutes in the second period.

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He finished the 2017-18 season as the team's fourth-leading scorer with 59 points (14 goals, 45 assists) in 76 games.

It has been a tough matchup for the Predators and it was the turning point of Game 3 and the Jets turnaround.

On the penalty kill the Predators turned the puck over and the Jets turned it into start a 2-on-1.

"True to Winnipeg's winning spirit, we at Winnipeg Harvest are absolutely thrilled at the outpouring of support from True North Sports + Entertainment and our community", said Keren Taylor-Hughes, executive director, Winnipeg Harvest.

The crowd was loud, but it did not turn out in their favor. A 1-0 lead means nothing.

The big players are supposed to get to the front of the net and screen the goalie.

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Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson will each lead the offensive attack for the Predators.

"I think last game, the details are kind of what cost us".

Nashville pulled within 4-2 with a short-handed goal 58 seconds later on a two-on-one by Ryan Johansen. They are both Vezina Trophy candidates. But they can take comfort knowing they beat the Predators in game one of this series.

The Jets have scored on 23.6 percent of their power play opportunities this year, a mark that places it in the top-five among National Hockey League teams. Only a great performance by Hellebuyck kept it scoreless through the first period for the first time in this series.

Laine scored on a 6-on-4 advantage with 50.2 seconds left in the third - his third of the playoffs and first of the series - but the Predators held on from there to wrestle back home-ice advantage. And after the Jets' Bryan Little compared it to skating into a wall, well, it's hard to come up with a description much more fitting.

The insertion of veteran forward Scott Hartnell and defenseman Yannick Weber also provided the blend of physical play and better neutral-zone discipline Nashville needed. Connor Hellebuyck made 38 saves for the Jets.

P.K. Subban played his best game of the series, maybe even the playoffs. Rinne is 15-5 with a 2.41 GAA and a.916 save percentage in his career (regular season) against the Jets.

The 21-year-old scored 31 goals to pace all rookies in 2017-18, but had failed to connect in nine post-season games before his explosion in Game 5. However, Nikolaj Ehlers and Kyle Connor have been virtually invisible.

A Game 4 on which a series always turns, against an experienced, desperate opponent that knew it could not afford to lose.

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