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Photo Credit: © Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

JNGD.S8.G64 Instant Recap: Jets Move Back Atop the Central

It was a hard fought battle between these Central Division rivals as the Jets reclaimed top spot in the division with a victory over the Predators. Both teams came out with tons of energy and it was a great game watch from start to finish. The Predators built up a two goal lead before the Jets stormed back with two quick goals late in the second period. The third period went back and forth until Wheeler scored the go-ahead goal with only six minutes left. The Jets added two empty net goals and came away with a big victory.

First Period

It was evident that first place in the central was on the line as both teams came out flying. It was furious pace to start the game and the opening minutes were action packed. Neither team was able to score early on, but there were some chances going both ways. With both teams playing so hard, it took an absolutely egregious turnover for the first goal to be scored. It was Trouba who committed the error as he whipped the puck in front of the net, exactly what you are trained not to do from your first year of hockey. The Preds capitalized and took the lead as Arvidsson snapped it home.

Trouba must’ve felt bad about the giveaway because he atoned for it moments later as he made a great pinch on a Nashville outlet pass. Trouba stole the puck and walked in on Rinne. His shot rebounded out to Connor who put it in to tie the game.

But wait….

The Predators challenged the goal for off-side and won. The puck clearly came out of the zone and although it looks like it the Predators bring it back in, they ruled the play as off-side. The goal came off the board and the Jets remained down by one.

The physicality increased as the period ended with the TLC line dishing out a few huge hits. It was Tanev who rocked Turris into the boards before Lowry finished a hard hit as well. There was some major chirping between the clubs as Nashville picked up a late penalty for cross-checking. The Jets will begin the second period on the powerplay as they look to even up the score.

Second Period

The second period began with the Jets on the powerplay. They garnered some great chances but were unable to sneak one past Rinne. After the Jets finished their powerplay, they gave the Preds one of their own. The Jets successfully killed it off with the help Brossoit who made a flurry of great saves as the penalty was expiring.

The Jets didn’t learn their lesson however, as they went right back on the PK just moments later. This time the Predators made no mistake as Subban blasted one through some traffic in front of the net to give Nashville a 2-0 lead.

Specialty teams continued to rule the game as the second period wore on. The Jets were the next one on the powerplay as Turris was called for another penalty. The Jets were finally able to solve Rinne as they scored an unconventional powerplay goal. It was a 3 on 2 rush after Nashville took it into Winnipeg’s end shorthanded. The Jets turned it the other way and Wheeler found Scheifele heading towards the net. Scheifele found twine with a backhand shot and the Jets were on the board.

Momentum seemed to switch after the Scheifele goal and Winnipeg followed it up with a few solid shifts. Just over two minutes later, Ehlers and Hayes created a turnover in Nashville’s end and brought the puck into the slot. Kyle Connor came flying in front the point and snapped the tying goal past Rinne. Connor had one taken away earlier in the game, but this one would count as the Jets and Predators head into the third tied at two.

Third Period

The pace kept up in the third period as both teams were searching for the go-ahead goal. Nashville had a few great chances but Brossoit made some dandy saves to keep the game tied. Rinne stood tall at the other end and the game stayed tied at two for most of the third period.

The game remained tied until the final six minutes as Scheifele sprung Wheeler on a partial breakaway. Wheeler snapped home a beautiful shot underneath Rinne’s blocker and the Jets took their first lead of the game.

In a bad turn of events, Lowry was called for a high-sticking penalty on the very next shift and the Predators went back to the powerplay to try and tie the game. The Jets had their best penalty kill of the night and they killed off the man advantage.

With two minutes left in the game, the Predators pulled the goalie and the Jets were able to find the empty net to go up 4-2.

Not so fast. The Predators kept Rinne out of the net and were able to snipe one past Brossoit to pull within one.

The wounds of Tuesday were still fresh and the Jets had to be wary of a potential comeback. They rolled Hayes out with Scheifele and Wheeler and they were able to capitalize on the empty net once again. Hayes scored his first as a Jet and the Jets closed out the game with a 5-3 victory.

Talking Points

Trouba’s turnover in the first period as absolutely atrocious. The Jets were playing a very good period and had controlled much of the play. The worst case scenario was to give up an easy goal. What is Trouba thinking?!?! The first thing you learn in hockey is to not put it in front of your own net. The brutal giveaway cost the Jets a goal and made them play catch-up from the beginning.

Paul Maurice tweaked the lines slightly since Tuesday’s game against the Wild. These lines seem much more balanced as Copp looks really good centering the fourth line. The Jets are now able to roll all four lines with confidence against any competition.

The emotion in this game was really good to see. The Jets were engaged from the start and the crowd was also involved early on. It was a playoff atmosphere and this is hopefully the type of game that gives the Jets confidence moving forward.

Laurent Brossoit was fantastic in this game. After having a few rough outings in a row, Brossoit was back to his excellent form like he had at the start of the season. He was moving well around the crease and made several desperation saves. He kept the Jets in it even when they defense fell apart.

Kevin Hayes found the scoreboard in this one as he finished the game with a goal and two assists. It’s interesting to see the trust Maurice showed as Hayes was out with Scheifele and Wheeler at the end of the game to try and defend the lead. The move payed off and Hayes is already proving his value.

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