The Winnipeg Jets closed out a three game road trip in Nashville coming off an emotional come-from-behind win in Washington. It's the Jets 12th time this season to play on back to back nights, with one more remaining. The team is 1-10 in the second game of the back to backs.
With 35 wins on the season, the Jets now have one more than the franchise had last year in Atlanta. Also on the Atlanta topic, lots of Thrasher fans should be making their way to Nashville for this game.
A slow start to this game saw the first period end in a scoreless tie. Ondrej Pavelec came up with a couple of big saves. Pekka Rinne was equal to the task, making a good save off Andrew Ladd with defenceman Kevin Klein making the save on the rebound as Bryan Little felt he had his 23rd of the year. A road hockey save by Klein inevitably kept it out.
Each team had a power play in the first in a period where the Predators outshot the Jets 10-7.
The second period ended with the Predators in front 2-0. Matt Halischuk with his 13th opened the scoring at 2:56 with a slap shot from the right side. Then, at the midway mark of the period a deflection by Gabriel Bourque found its way in for a 2-0 Nashville lead. Nashville did not give the Jets many great scoring chances showing why they are considered one of the best defensive teams in the league. However, the Jets did manage to outshoot the Predators 9-7, killed off a penalty to Randy Jones and were faced with another kill to start the third.
At the 12:53 mark of the third the line of Spencer Machacek, Tim Stapleton and Ben Maxwell hit pay dirt again, with Stapleton scoring for the third straight game and at the same time extending his point streak to five (with three goals and three assists over the span). Machacek now has six points in his last four games, Maxwell four points in his last three games. Machacek found Stapleton in front with a quick pass that Stapleton turned into his 11th of the year. The line had seven shifts in the third. It is an interesting line, but the three have spent time together in the AHL.
The Bryan Little line put pressure on Rinne on a couple of shifts after the goal and Pavelec made an outstanding save off Bourque to keep it a one goal game, but in the end, and empty-netter by Shea Weber would give the Predators a 3-1 win.
The Jets now sit six points back of the eighth place Buffalo Sabres as they return home for two: Monday against Ottawa and Wednesday against the New York Rangers. (The Ottawa game can be seen on TSN Jets at 7pm ct/8pm et,while both can be heard on TSN Radio 1290 Winnipeg and TSN.ca/Winnipeg at 7:30 and 6pm ct respectively).
Coach Claude Noel felt the effort from his team was there. “They played really well,” he said. “Kept us from getting any sustained pressure.” The Jets only managed 25 shots on goal after getting 40 in the game in Washington.
Wellwood only played one shift in the third and played a season low 8:51. He won six of eight face offs, while Jim Slater won 12 of 20. Alexander Burmistrov - who is without a goal in his last ten - had two third period shifts.
With seven games remaining (three home, four away) the Jets are in need of a major winning streak in order to keep their playoff hopes alive, and the sooner the winning streak starts, the better. The Sens are coming off a big win over Pittsburgh to give themselves a little breathing room in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
The Jets went 1-2 on the three game road trip, and after the two home games are back on the road for four, starting in Carolina Friday.