Nashville stays red-hot with 4-2 win over Winnipeg Jets

The Winnipeg Jets became the latest victim of the sudden Nashville Predators buzz saw Wednesday night, dropping a 4-2 decision as the Preds improved to 11-0-2 over their last 13 games.

With a chance to move into the division lead, the Jets sleepwalked through much of the first two periods, getting soundly outplayed and outshot, and fell behind by four goals early in the final frame. The Jets scored twice in the last seven minutes to make the score a little more respectable.

“The execution wasn’t there,” said Jets head coach Rick Bowness. “Faceoff readiness, they were jumping by us. We were winning draws and getting ourselves in trouble. So, the execution was just way off from the start.”

Click to play video: 'RAW: Winnipeg Jets Rick Bowness Interview – Mar. 13'
RAW: Winnipeg Jets Rick Bowness Interview – Mar. 13

The Jets were outshot 29-17 in the first two periods and fell victim to a hard Predators’ forecheck while also struggling to get through the neutral zone cleanly.

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“There was room for plays and when they were, we weren’t making them,” said defenceman Dylan DeMelo. “And then when there wasn’t room for plays, we weren’t getting the puck in deep and kinda playing the way the game was being played. We tried to force things when it wasn’t there.

“Tonight our process wasn’t really good I think. And I think our execution was the biggest thing for me. I think sometimes you’re not gonna have your legs, maybe some jam, but for us, there’s a lot of things we can clean up tonight.”

Click to play video: 'RAW: Winnipeg Jets Dylan DeMelo Interview – Mar. 13'
RAW: Winnipeg Jets Dylan DeMelo Interview – Mar. 13

The head coach did not go into the dressing room to speak to his players after the game.

“I’ll deal with it tomorrow,” he said. “Sometimes, you know, the players can speak up. It doesn’t always have to come from the coach. I’ll deal with it tomorrow.”

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It’s been hit or miss for the Jets in the last five games. One night they look good, only to have a poor showing the next. Their spotty play is costing them important points in the standings and after the game Bowness was asked if he knows why they’ve been so inconsistent in recent outings.

“Yeah, a little bit. Not gonna share it with you. Good try.” Bowness said.

Click to play video: 'RAW: Winnipeg Jets Alex Iafallo Interview – Mar. 13'
RAW: Winnipeg Jets Alex Iafallo Interview – Mar. 13

The Jets got a great chance to get on the board first when they were sent to the power play just 4:17 into the game. With Mark Scheifele out of the lineup due to illness, Nikolaj Ehlers took his spot on the top power play unit and while they got some decent looks, Nashville killed it off before opening the scoring soon after.

With the puck in his own end, Roman Josi sent a long stretch pass up the boards to Gustav Nyquist, who got behind Brenden Dillon at the Winnipeg blue line. He walked in and sniped one past Connor Hellebuyck at the 6:38 mark.

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Nashville would make it 2-0 at the 14:32 mark when Josi found Kiefer Sherwood cutting into the slot in the Winnipeg zone before Sherwood’s shot beat Hellebuyck high over the blocker.

The Jets had a great opportunity to cut into the lead later in the first when Adam Lowry, Mason Appleton and Nino Niederreiter had a three-on-one but overpassing and a good backcheck from Filip Forsberg led to no shot on goal.

Nashville carried the 2-0 lead into the second as both teams registered ten shots on goal in the opening 20.

The Predators dominated the middle frame, outshooting the Jets 19-7 on the back of two power play chances, but no goals were scored as Nashville maintained their 2-0 lead going to the third.

The dam burst early in the third as the Preds scored two goals in 22 seconds to blow the game open.

The first came after Dillon tried to glove down a puck that was chipped into the Winnipeg end but after he punched it, he lost track of it as it landed in front of the crease. Nyquist got to it first and dropped the puck back to Forsberg, who beat Hellebuyck to make it 3-0 just 1:21 into the third.

Moments later, Jason Zucker was left alone at the side of the net and he banged home a rebound to put the game away. It was his first goal as a Predator after being dealt to Nashville from Arizona at the trade deadline.

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Alex Iafallo had a great look to get the Jets on the board roughly 7:30 into the third when he was sprung on a shorthanded breakaway but Juuse Saros turned him aside. Saros also made a great sprawling save to turn Sean Monahan aside moments later.

With 6:48 to go in the third, Iafallo redirected a point shot through the five-hole of Saros to finally crack the seal but it was immediately waved off by one official. The four men in stripes gathered at centre, decided it was a good goal, then went to video review and came to the same conclusion.

With just under 2:30 remaining, the Jets decided to pull Hellebuyck to try and mount a comeback, and with 1:52 to go the Predators took a penalty. With 10.2 seconds to go, Appleton scored off a rebound and Colin Miller got his first point as a Jet but it was far too late to make a difference.

Hellebuyck turned aside 34 shots in the loss as he allowed three-plus goals for the seventh time in his last nine starts, while Saros made 28 saves in victory.

The Jets will close out this three-game homestand Friday night against the Anaheim Ducks. The pregame show will begin on 680 CJOB at 5 p.m., with puck drop shortly after 7 p.m.

Click to play video: 'John Shannon on the Jets: March 13'
John Shannon on the Jets: March 13

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