The Winnipeg Jets are one win away from the Western Conference final after their offence came alive in the second and stayed alive in the third, beating the Nashville Predators 6-2.
The first period of this one was another display of Nashville dominance, after a similar showing in Game Four. The shots were 11-7 after the period ended, but the seven shots Winnipeg managed were from the perimeter with little threat, while Nashville’s heat map was scary. The good news was that the period ended 0-0.
The opening five minutes of the second saw a little more life from the Jets, but nothing to write home to mom about.
A three-on-one for the top line culminated in a great couple of chances for Winnipeg, with Blake Wheeler just missing a wrap around and another shot just missing.
The second line for the Jets then went “anything you can do, we can do better”. Nikolaj Ehlers found Patrik Laine who banked one in off of Paul Stastny. The rope-a-dope was working!
A obvious high sticking penalty for the Jets didn’t get called, and the zebras forgot their whistles it would seem. The first period also featured a bevvy of uncalled infractions. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Nashville caught Winnipeg on a horrid line change after an Ehlers turnover and broke in on an odd man rush. Yannick Weber walked in and sniper one off and over Connor Hellebuyck’s shoulder to tie things up with just less than nine minutes left in the second.
It was a short-lived tie.
Less than a minute and a half later, Kyle Connor opens his playoff account for the Winnipeg Jets and he banged away until he could chip one over a sprawling Pekka Rinne.
Laine nearly added to the lead a couple of minutes later, but CLANG. No biggy, as another mad scramble involving the Adam Lowry line and no whistle from the refs saw a Dustin Byfuglien shot squeak through Rinne to make it 3-1. “Tough to make a save when you have a bobsled team in front of you.”
If the crowd was quiet after 3-1, Connor scoring his second made it church quiet. Library quiet. Space quiet.
And then it happened. A penalty. Finally. Nashville went to the box, but managed to do the scoring in the resulting two minutes. Ryan Johansen went in two-on-one and kept it himself to make it 4-2 with about two minutes left in the frame.
Finally, the world’s quietest horn went to end the second. After two, the shots were 21-19 for Winnipeg.
Oh my god Kyle Connor. Half a minute into the third, the sophomore put on a stick handling display and deked Johansen out of his shorts, before sliding it over to Mark Scheifele who fired in a one timer from the slot. 5-2. Beautiful goal.
The pressure from Winnipeg continued, and sniper Brandon Tanev narrowly missed another goal.
Josh Morrissey and Ryan Johansen got all tangled up, and when the dust settled it was Morrissey heading to the box for holding the stick.
Despite being 260 lbs, Byfuglien got eaten by the puck twice on the kill, but the Jets escaped nonetheless.
Ryan Hartman had a breakaway opportunity, didn’t convert and then took an interference penalty. An extremely lucky couple of bounces lead to a power play goal. P.K. Subban slapped a clearance attempt that nailed Nikolaj Ehlers. His shot bounced off the end wall, and caused Pekka Rinne to spin and lose the puck. Frenchy Mathieu Perreault found it and buried it into the empty net.
Goodbye Rinne, hello Juuse Saros. Rinne allowed six goals on 26 shots against.
With 12 minutes left, Nashville found iron with Hellebuyck down and out.
Toby Enstrom had a scoring chance after pinching in from the point, only to be denied by Saros.
CBC took about three minutes to let people know there was a Nashville penalty around the halfway mark.
Joel Armia had a terrific shift with about four minutes left. With three minutes left, Kevin Fiala blocked a Byfuglien shot with his foot, which is not a recommended course of action.
- The rope-a-dope returned for the Jets, sustaining a lot of pressure before opening up offensively. If it’s good enough for Muhammad Ali, it’s good enough for the Winnipeg Jets
- It felt as though the refs were allergic to their whistles in this one. The first call came 17:23 into the second.
- Kyle Connor opened his playoff account after nine games with only three assists. Then he did another deposit because he’s a smart young man that knows that investing is good for his future. His assist in the third was a thing of beauty, as this may have been his best game as a Jet.
- Six goals in the second period as it finally became entertaining after a very dull game four and a not so exciting opening period.
- Dustin Byfuglien may not have had the offensive production many are used to seeing from him during the regular season, but the playoffs have been another story altogether. Another goal and assist tonight puts him at 12 points through 10 playoff games.
- The ice was garbage tonight. As the CBC crew said, a concert last night coupled with warm humid air in the region meant...yea, the ice was garbage tonight.
- After being held out of the lineup for one reason or the other in Game Four, Mathieu Perreault scored his first of the playoffs on the second power play unit.
- The top line was fantastic. Three goals, eight points. Connor, Scheifele and Wheeler were great.
- He started shaky, but Connor Hellebuyck got better down the stretch. The pucks that beat him were from some pretty nice shots. He stopped 38 of 40 in this one, as the Preds outshot the Jet 40-32.
- Game Six goes Monday in Winnipeg. The team remains undefeated when I write the recap in the playoffs. I may not be able to write it for Game Six, but will attempt to.