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Paul Stastny scores twice to lift Winnipeg Jets over Nashville Predators 6-4

Winnipeg Jets' Paul Stastny (25) celebrates his goal on Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros (74) during the second period of NHL action in Winnipeg on Saturday, October 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS / Fred Greenslade

Veteran centre Paul Stastny scored two goals to lead Winnipeg to a 6-4 victory over the Nashville Predators at the Canada Life Centre on Saturday – but the Jets had to hang on to get the job done.

Just 26 seconds after Nashville defenceman Roman Josi pulled the Predators to within 4-3 at 3:10 of the third period, Stastny scored his second of the game to restore the two-goal lead when he deflected a Neal Pionk point shot past Nashville goaltender Juuse Saros.

Winnipeg’s red-hot forward Kyle Connor then increased the lead to 6-3 on the power play. But the Predators responded when Philip Tomasino scored with the man advantage to pull within 6-4 with 6:19 left to play. Nick Cousins and Trevor Novak assisted. With Saros pulled, the Preds stormed the Winnipeg net.

Winnipeg Jets’ Kyle Connor (81) celebrates his goal against the Nashville Predators during the third period of NHL action in Winnipeg on Saturday, October 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS / Fred Greenslade

Saros made 23 saves on 29 shots while Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck stopped 26-of-30 shots.

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Read more: Winnipeg Jets assign Cole Perfetti to the Manitoba Moose

Winnipeg improved to 2-2-1 with their second straight win. The Predators fell to 1-4-0.

It was the Predators’ only visit to Winnipeg this season.

Rookie Jets forward Kristian Vesalainen scored his first NHL goal with 10 seconds left in the second period to give the Jets a 4-2 lead.

The Jets played without both No. 1 centre Mark Scheifele and captain Blake Wheeler for a second straight game. Both are in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol.

Read more: Jets’ Scheifele joins team captain in NHL COVID-19 protocol

The Jets will head back to California for a three-game road trip. They play the Ducks in Anaheim for the third time in six games on Tuesday.

The Predators will play the Wild in Minnesota on Sunday, the second of a two-game road trip, then return home to Nashville.

Click to play video: 'Goodbye fake noise, hello whiteout: Winnipeg Jets ready for real fans in the stands' Goodbye fake noise, hello whiteout: Winnipeg Jets ready for real fans in the stands
Goodbye fake noise, hello whiteout: Winnipeg Jets ready for real fans in the stands – Oct 21, 2021

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