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Nashville Predators 5, Winnipeg Jets 3: Another Goal Explosion!

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Ekholm keeps scoring, Bitetto does his best Bobby Orr impression and slap passes become all the rage.

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

That noise you’re hearing is the Nashville Predators drawing a little closer to the top of the Central Division. They beat the Jets 5-3 tonight in yet another offensive explosion at Bridgestone Arena.

After Kevin Fiala got the scoring started in the 1st period, the Preds rattled off three unanswered goals in the 2nd by Ryan Johansen, Kyle Turris, and Mattias Ekholm to build a 4-1 lead going into the 3rd.

After Nick Bonino added an insurance goal early in the final frame, the Jets made one final push, making it 5-3 on goals by Tyler Myers and Mathieu Perreault. With Pekka Rinne making some nice saves in the final 5 minutes, the Preds defense held and preserved the win.

That’s 24 goals in five games since the trade for Turris. This team looks different.

Random observations

  • Monday night games seem really weird. Maybe the weirdness stops there.
  • McLeod-y with a chance of penalties? Poor Freddy G. Called up only to sit while 55 throws a couple of early fists into former Pred Matt Hendricks.
  • JOFA line making stuff happen, and Kevin Fiala opens the scoring being all nifty and stuff. Pernell Karl Subban’s slap pass was a thing of beauty.
  • I thought we talked about taking penalties, Ekholm.
  • Tough break for Peks on the power play goal against. Perreault plays just the tip to tie it up.
  • And yet, they gave it to Myers though the replay showed it was clearly tipped.
  • Dang. Hope Fil’s okay after Byfuglien steamrolled him.
  • The Jets have been better in the first period. Preds have had good looks, but need more of them.
  • It was only a matter of time before Perreault got credit for the Jets’ first goal. Only took until the first intermission.
  • A heck of a snipe by RyJo, and Fil making it happen with the centering pass. Joey’s 300th career point.
  • Bitetto jumps in the rush and draws a penalty. Huh. Alrighty then.
  • It’s Slap Pass City tonight, apparently. And yeah, that Turris kid can shoot it.
  • Nearly another goal on a delayed penalty. Bitetto drew another (!) penalty and Fiala literally jumped over a guy to create a scoring chance with the extra man.
  • That’s four games in a row where Ekholm has scored.
  • All the shots. Preds outshot Winnipeg 19-7 in the second period and have a 24-18 edge after two.
  • No turtling, fellas. First six minutes of the third have seen the Jets dominate zone time.
  • Byfuglien is gonna hurt someone.
  • Bonino made Connor Hellebuyck look bad after collecting the long clear.
  • A little lull gives Tyler Myers enough space to snap one under Rinne’s blocker. Can’t quite pack it up yet.
  • Perrault found literally the only spot on Rinne’s back to bank the puck in. Peks had the post pretty well covered, but just a tough break as the Jets pull within two. It happened shortly after the “woos” began, which is a sign that they need to stop.

Postgame reaction

Johansen on Ekholm’s recent goal streak:

“Teams have to respect him out there. He’s doing a great job at the point on the power play and hopefully he can continue getting shots through like that.”

Ekholm on his four-game goal-scoring streak:

“I’ve been waiting for it. The last couple of years, I’ve been taking care of my defense and I’ve chipped in offensively, but not at this level. Right now, we’re on a really good power play unit with Kyle (Turris) and Roman (Josi) and Sissons and Fiala, so it’s really clicking for us. I’m just trying to shoot the puck as much as I can.”

On giving up late third-period goals in recent games:

“I think it’s a thing we have to manage as a team. We have to be willing to chip the puck in and go get it and spend more time in the offensive zone.”

Head coach Peter Laviolette on the recent scoring surge:

“There was a lot of talk early in the year because we weren’t scoring goals. At some point through the course of the year, you’re always battling – whatever it is, there’s always something that you coach up the players in the locker room and you hope you get a response.”

On giving up late goals in the third period:

“On both goals, we turned the puck over. For me, more than anything, game management. Our game management has to be better. Nothing goes unaddressed in that room.”

OTF’s Super Duper Stars of the Game

  1. Ekholm. All of a sudden, pucks magically just go in when he shoots. Dilly dilly.
  2. Johansen. When he shoots, it’s a thing of beauty.
  3. Bitetto. Don’t know what got into him, but it needs to be bottled up and given to all the Preds, pronto.

Tweets of the Night

Game Extras

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