Jets can’t get out of big hole in first period in 5-2 loss at Nashville – Winnipeg

The Winnipeg Jets fell behind early and couldn’t recover in Music City on Thursday night.

The Nashville Predators scored three first-period goals in just 13 minutes to claim a 5-2 win.

The Jets saved their best period for last and scored early in the final quarter to cut the deficit to two, but the Preds scored an empty net to beat the Jets for the first time this season after Winnipeg won their first meeting in October.

“I’ve played a lot of games at this rink over the years,” Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey said. “The first half is always crucial. We have seen this happen a number of times over the years of my career. I just didn’t think we were good enough at first.

The Jets scored their first goal of the game on a 5-on-3 power play, but went empty on their other four chances with the man advantage.

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“We had to capitalize on those power-play opportunities,” Jets forward Mark Scheifele said. “Obviously we had one on the 5v3 but it could have been a whole new game if we scored early and changed the pace of the game.”

Click to play video: 'RAW: Mark Scheifele interview with the Winnipeg Jets – January 20'

RAW: Mark Scheifele interview with the Winnipeg Jets – January 20

RAW: Mark Scheifele interview with the Winnipeg Jets – January 20

Scheifele and Pierre-Luc Dubois scored goals for Winnipeg. Josh Morrissey registered a pair of assists.

The win ended a four-game losing streak for the Predators.

“Their level of desperation – you can see it in their game,” head coach Dave Lowry said. “They had a certain urgency. They put pucks on the goal line. They did what we wanted to do.

“I really liked our third period. I think we had a good push in the second half of the game. Unfortunately, when you spot a team three (goals), it’s hard to come back and win a hockey game.

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The Jets challenged the Predators’ first baseman of the game for a high stick, but he resisted after review.

“I thought the stick, the puck, was over the crossbar, over the shoulder,” Lowry said. “The only angle that we felt was worthy of a challenge. You’re not going to win every challenge. The angles we had, it looked like it was a high stick. It didn’t work our way . »

Click to play the video: 'RAW: Interview with Dave Lowry of the Winnipeg Jets – January 20'

RAW: Interview with Dave Lowry of the Winnipeg Jets – January 20

RAW: Interview with Dave Lowry of the Winnipeg Jets – January 20

Both Paul Stastny and Evgeny Svechnikov returned to the Jets’ roster after missing time, but the Jets continue to be without Brenden Dillon and Eric Comrie who are still on COVID protocol. Nikolaj Ehlers missed his first game after injuring his knee in their last outing.

READ MORE: Winnipeg Jets Nikolaj Ehlers out for road trip with injury, Dmitry Orlov suspended

The Predators opened the scoring less than five minutes into the first when a point shot was deflected by Eeli Tolvanen. He deflected off the post and bounced straight off Tolvanen as he hit him past Connor Hellebuyck, who had no idea where the puck was.

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Winnipeg decided to contest the goal, arguing that the original tip was made with a high stick. The review confirmed the goal was good, giving Nashville a power play they wouldn’t score on.

But just before the 12th minute, the Preds would double their lead. A shot off the stick from Mikael Granlund redirected to Neal Pionk and past Hellebuyck, giving Nashville a 2-0 advantage.

Things got even worse for the Jets with 2:25 left when a turnover sent the Preds into an odd run. Ryan Johansen’s wrist shot went through Hellebuyck, a goal he would love to get back, giving Nashville a three-goal lead after 20 minutes.

Winnipeg had a golden opportunity to come back into the game in the second when Nashville took multiple high-sticking penalties.

On a 5-on-3, Dubois tried to send a pass through the crease that conceded a Predators defender to put the Jets on the board.

Shortly after, Winnipeg got another power play but couldn’t cash in, and any momentum generated by the power play disappeared when Luke Kunin made it 4-1 for the Preds. A point shot deflected off Kunin’s stick before grazing the shin guards of him and Josh Morrissey, changing direction before passing Hellebuyck.

The third period got off to a dream start for the Jets when Scheifele hit home a rebound past Juuse Saros just 25 seconds away.

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Winnipeg continued to pressure Saros throughout the period, beating the Preds 15-4 in the third but failed to crack the code. Officials also let both teams play in the final 20, calling no penalties after 12 minor infractions were called in the first two periods.

Tanner Jeannot sealed the deal with an empty net 21 seconds from time.

READ MORE: Winnipeg Jets announce schedule update for 9 postponed games

It wasn’t a record night for Hellebuyck, who stopped 18 shots in the loss. Saros was excellent, making 36 saves in the win.

As for special teams, the Jets eliminated all three penalties they took, but went 1 for 5 on the power play.

Winnipeg will now prepare for a back-to-back weekend, with Boston on Saturday afternoon and Pittsburgh on Sunday.

Click to play video: 'RAW: Josh Morrissey interview with the Winnipeg Jets – January 20'

RAW: Josh Morrissey interview with the Winnipeg Jets – January 20

RAW: Josh Morrissey interview with the Winnipeg Jets – January 20

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