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Photo Credit: © Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

JNGD.S8.G47 Recap: Lemieux’s Two Pace Jets Past Predators

Tonight had all the makings of a let down night for the Winnipeg Jets after a strong win at home against Vegas and the first road game of a brief two game trip in a very tough Nashville rink, but if anything the Jets put on an even better performance against their division rivals on Thursday night as they skated to a 5-1 win and opened up some more room in their Central division lead.

FIRST PERIOD

An intense first twenty minutes from both teams as the pace of play was quick and both teams had some good looks early on. The Predators had an edge in puck possession as well as shot attempts, but the shots after the first period were even at 11 each and the Jets actually had an edge in high danger scoring chances 3-1. Midway through the first period it really started to look like a Predators goal was almost an inevitability but it was Brendan Lemieux opening up scoring instead. The Jets thought they had made it 2-0 on the power play goal from Blake Wheeler, but it was waved off after a review revealed that Patrik Laine and Mark Scheifele entered the Preds zone 20 seconds earlier about an inch offside.

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SECOND PERIOD

The playoff-like pace and bad blood continued into the second period as the Jets came out a little stronger with an edge in shot chances and again it was the Jets fourth line that helped spark things with tremendous defensive work from Sami Niku that led to some extended time in the Preds zone that was capped off by a Mason Appleton goal. Nashville did bounce back after that 2-0 goal and made it a one goal game midway through the period, but the Jets get another last minute goal in the second that seemed to take out all the air in Nashville and their fans as the Jets headed to the second intermission up by two.

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THIRD PERIOD

Winnipeg put a dagger in this game early in the third as a Brandon Tanev deflection gets past Pekka Rinne for a three goal Jets lead. Score effects and a couple of Jets penalties make things a little bit interesting midway through the third, but Connor Hellebuyck was strong in goal turning aside 37 of the 38 shots he faced. Brendan Lemieux adds a little salt to the Predators wound just to put everything on ice and send Nashville fans home early in what was ultimately a strong if not dominant statement victory by the Jets.

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THE GOOD…

  • Papa Lemieux in an aviator Jets jersey is a cool sight. A strange one, not as strange as seeing him in say a San Jose Sharks uni, but a cool sight…

  • Connor Hellebuyck needed a game like that in the worst way. He was fantastic and a day after somewhat defiantly stating that he thought he was doing ok, he proved he was probably better than that.
  • Great work by the Jets fourth line. They struggled a bit against Vegas but Lemieux, Appleton and Copp were full marks for their effort tonight.

THE BAD…

  • Look, I’m not disputing that the entry into the zone before the Jets supposed second goal was ever so slightly offside, but what I am saying is that whole thing is just dumb. Because the NHL’s stupid officials couldn’t figure out a grossly offside play that lead to a goal three seasons ago, the NHL in typical NHL fashion over-reacted the other way and now plays that are offside by a slight inch that don’t give any kind of advantage to the attacking team, somehow impacts a goal scored 20 seconds later. Typical. Greatest sport. Dumbest league.

THE UGLY…

  • How come Nashville fans don’t chant “It’s all your fault” to their own goalie when they lose a game after giving up five goals? The chants are mostly bad in normal circumstances, they sound absolutely stupid when your goalie sports an .853 save percentage and your team practically stops skating 40 minutes into the game.

THE BOXSCORE

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PLAYERS OF THE GAME

For Winnipeg: Gotta give it up for Brendan Lemieux, right? Two goals – neither of them will be mistaken for sniper-like shots but he was in the right place at the right time a few times in the game tonight and his work along with the fourth line gave Nashville fits.

For Nashville: Victor Arvidsson scored one and could have had a second had Connor Hellebuyck not robbed him on a breakaway chance. He was by far the most dangerous of Predators on the night.