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Nashville Predators 1, Winnipeg Jets 4: Connor Hellebuyck Stops 47 In Game One Win

The Jets flip the script and steal Game 1 in Nashville.

Winnipeg Jets v Nashville Predators - Game One Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

The Predators 2nd round gets off to a rough start with a 4-1 loss to the Jets on home ice.

Early on, the Preds looked pretty good. The forecheck was forcing the Jets to make early passes and commit some turnovers, leading to some chances on Connor Hellebuyck. The Preds first power play didn’t do much, but they continued to pour on the shots. At one point, the Preds were outshooting the Jets 13-2.

Then a bunch of weird things happened in neutral ice and the Jets found themselves with the puck right in front of Pekka Rinne. Brandon Tanev scored to make it 1-0 with a little over five minutes left in the 1st.

Though you like the general effectiveness of the Preds in the 1st period—they outshot the Jets 20-4, generated 70% of the even strength shot attempts, and had a 2:1 edge in high danger chances—you didn’t like the way Hellebuyck settled in calmly, turning away great chance after great chance.

Things proceeded in this way for a while. Early in the 2nd period, Craig Smith earned a penalty with a nice burst of speed to the outside, but the Preds couldn’t capitalize on the power play.

Then the Jets made it 2-0 midway through the 2nd. Paul Stastny. Then Mark Scheifele scores to make it 3-0 following a failed Nashville power play. I don’t think I’ve seen such lopsided play on the ice end up in such a lopsided score at the other end.

Honestly, you tell me what happened here:

Juuse Saros started the 3rd period for the Preds (the last goal by Scheifele wasn’t a great effort by Rinne) and that gave the team a bit of life. Kevin Fiala scored a goal to make it 3-1 and break Hellebuyck’s shutout streak of 163 minutes. But the Preds didn’t get anything else by him and the Jets finished with a 4-1 win.

Such an unfortunate result for Game One... but the silver lining (if there’s any) it’s this:

  • You can’t win a series in one game, and you can’t lose one either.
  • The Preds did a LOT right. Just ran into a wall named Connor Hellebuyck.
  • Game Two is Sunday night. Play like you did tonight and you can salvage a home split.

Random Observations

  • A decent start for the Preds. Turris line gets some OZ possession, a few breakouts come close to leading to chances and the Jets didn’t hold the puck long in the Preds zone.
  • So after some worrying about the Yellow Dump Truck Traffic issue, the Bridge appears to be in full force. Good to see.
  • The offensive passing seems better. Just need more shots on the net.
  • Forsberg may have just saved a goal with an incredible backcheck. Arvidsson lost the puck at the blueline, then fell down trying to get it back and it looked like a 2-on-1 the other way, but Forsberg hustled back and blocked a centering pass.
  • Ohhh man, Arvidsson had the puck in the slot and didn’t shoot. That’s rare. He tried to feed Johansen breaking in, but the defender poked it away.
  • Yuck, that goal. All of the Preds skaters were just waving their sticks and missing the puck in the neutral zone. Then a bad check attempt by Alexei Emelin leaves Bryan Little with a wide open feed to Brandon Tanev, who tucks it in behind Rinne.
  • 20-4 in shots, 70% of the even strength shot attempts, 7-2 in high danger chances... but 1-0 Jets after 20 minutes.
  • Austin Watson not skating early in the 2nd period.
  • This is endlessly frustrating. So many chances are just disappearing into Hellebuyck right now.
  • And then the Jets score again. Great.
  • Forsberg hit the post on the power play. That’s unfortunate.
  • And Scheifele makes it 3-0. Goodnight, probably.
  • Fiala scores early in the 3rd. That’s something, I guess.
  • I just don’t understand something: probably a half dozen times tonight, a Preds skater with the puck sped around the outside of the defense in the OZ, had some room to pass to teammate in the middle of the slot... but chose to peel around the net and either look for a wrap around or to look for a pass on the back side. It was infuriating. It doesn’t even have to a be perfect pass, just something the teammate can get a stick on. DO IT AT LEAST ONCE, MAYBE YOU WILL SCORE
  • And it’s over. Game 1 goes to the Jets.

Tweets of the Night

OTF Super Duper Stars of the Game

  1. Filip Forsberg: 5 shots on goal, rang one off the post on the power play. He had some feisty moments and helped keep the pressure on the Jets’ defense.
  2. Ryan Ellis: Him and Josi were out there for a lot of chances. Took a nasty skate to the face early in the 3rd period and then returned to the game. Beast.
  3. Roman Josi: similar numbers to Ryan and he really really tried to score. X shots on net.

Game Extras