12-28-13 Preds Vs LA Kings, 3-2 Preds

The 17,113 fans who packed Bridgestone Arena on Saturday night went from sadness to euphoria in a span of 10 seconds.

Mike Fisher scored his second goal of the game with 26.4 seconds left in the third period to cap a wild finish and give the Nashville Predators a 3-2 victory against the Los Angeles Kings.

The Predators looked like they were winners after Fisher broke a 1-1 tie by scoring a power-play goal with 3:18 left in regulation. But L.A.’s Jeff Carter beat Marek Mazanec with 36.7 seconds remaining to stun the full house and tie the game.

However, the Predators won the ensuing faceoff and entered the L.A. zone with speed. Colin Wilson fed a pass to Fisher, who fired a shot from the slot that hit goaltender Ben Scrivens’ glove and barely crossed the goal line.

Fisher scored his eighth and ninth goals of the season.  Fisher gave the lion’s share of the credit to Wilson.  A video review confirmed the ruling on the ice that the puck had completely crossed the line.

Carrie celebrating Mike’s Goal

http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/embed?playlist=522905&site=predators

Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell felt his team wasn’t aggressive enough in its defensive coverage on Fisher’s game-winner.

Fisher also assisted on Patric Hornqvist’s first-period goal for Nashville, which ended a five-game losing streak. Anze Kopitar scored the Kings’ other goal during a second-period power play.

Mazanec stopped 26 shots. Scrivens, playing for the first time since Dec. 15, made 28 saves in the Kings’ second straight loss.

The Predators, who returned home after a 4-1 loss at the Dallas Stars on Friday, got on the board first at 14:42 of the first period. Seth Jones’ shot from the right point hit a leg in front and caromed to Fisher in the slot. Scrivens stopped Fisher’s wrister, but Hornqvist picked up the rebound and backhanded it into the empty side of the net for his eighth of the season.
 
Los Angeles got even 7:05 into the second period. With Nashville’s Paul Gaustad off for tripping Slava Voynov, the Kings defenseman slipped a pass to Kopitar in the high slot for a wrister that went past Mazanec’s glove and inside the left post. It was Kopitar’s 12th of the season and his team-high sixth on the power play.

Nashville had a great chance to regain the lead when penalties to Jake Muzzin and Matt Greene gave the Predators 47 seconds of 5-on-3 power-play time. But they did not manage a shot on goal during the two-man advantage and had two that were denied by Scrivens during the 5-on-4 power play.

The Predators broke the tie at 16:42 of the final period. With L.A.’s Tyler Toffoli off for holding, Fisher caught the Kings on a bad line change. He picked up the puck near the red line, raced into the Kings zone and ripped a slap shot from the high slot past Scrivens. But with the Kings goaltender on the bench for an extra attacker, Carter took Kopitar’s pass from the right boards and zipped his 12th of the season past Mazanec to make it 2-2.

Three Stars of the Game
Mike Fisher

1st
Mike Fisher

C
G: 2 Shots: 5
A: 1 Hits: 2
PTS: 3 PIM: 0
+/-: 2 TOI: 21:58
Patric Hornqvist

2nd
Patric Hornqvist

RW
G: 1 Shots: 5
A: 1 Hits: 0
PTS: 2 PIM: 0
+/-: 2 TOI: 20:41
Marek Mazanec

3rd
Marek Mazanec

G
SA: 28 TOI: 59:57
GA: 2 EV: 23-24
PIM: 0 PP: 2-3
SV%: .929 SH: 1-1
Goalie Stats
Ben Scrivens
Ben Scrivens

7-4-4
SA: 31 TOI: 59:05
Saves: 28 EV: 19 – 21
PIM: 0 PP: 9 – 10
SV%: .903 SH: 0 – 0
Marek Mazanec
SA: 28 TOI: 59:57
Saves: 26 EV: 23 – 24
PIM: 0 PP: 2 – 3
SV%: .929 SH: 1 – 1

Game Highlights:
http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/embed?playlist=2013020582-X-h&site=predators

Material from team media was used in this report.

2-8-14 Preds vs Ducks, 5-2 Ducks with Empty Netter

NASHVILLE — The Nashville Predators have to be glad they won’t see the Anaheim Ducks’ two Canadian Olympians at Bridgestone Arena for the remainder of this season.
Ryan Getzlaf had two goals and Corey Perry scored once Saturday in a 5-2 victory against the Predators, giving the Ducks’ big guns eight points in two appearances during the past month. Not coincidentally, the Ducks won both games.
Getzlaf, the Ducks’ captain, also had an assist on Saturday to go with his two goals and an assist from the teams’ Jan. 9 meeting. Perry had a goal in that earlier matchup. The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Ducks.

Getzlaf has a career-high 29 goals, and his 67 points are second in the NHL behind Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Ducks broke a 2-2 tie at 4:51 of the third period when Emerson Stem deflected Hampus Lindholm’s point shot into the net. Mathieu Perreault added some insurance 4-2 at 8:04 when Daniel Winnik stole the puck from Nashville defenseman Ryan Ellis and found Perreault alone in front of the net. Getzlaf hit the empty net with 36 seconds left.
Earlier in the day, Boudreau had said he did not want his team to go into the NHL’s two-week break for the 2014 Sochi Olympics on a sour note. Anaheim (41-14-5), owner of the League’s top record, was mired in one of its worst stretches of the season; the Ducks had dropped three in a row and were 1-4-0 in their previous five games.

Nashville (25-24-10) had a streak of points in four straight games (2-0-2) ended. Predators coach Barry Trotz said coming out of the Olympic break the Predators will be in a race with the Dallas Stars, Phoenix Coyotes, Winnipeg Jets and others for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Nashville is four points out of a playoff spot but recently had been 10 points out.

Trotz said he likes how the Predators do not quit.

Viktor Stalberg, who had missed the five previous games with an upper-body injury, scored his first goal since Jan. 14 give Nashville a 1-0 lead. Victor Bartley’s point shot was deflected in front by Simon Moser and Stalberg cashed the rebound at 11:35 of the first period. The point was the first of Moser’s career.

The Ducks tied the game with 1:11 left in the period when Nashville defenseman Roman Josi deflected Getzlaf’s harmless-looking shot from the right boards into the net. Goalie Carter Hutton was moving to his right and could not recover when Josi put his stick blade on the high shot, accidentally causing it to trickle over the goal line.

Anaheim took advantage of a double minor to Mike Fisher for high-sticking Winnik to go ahead 2-1 at 11:45 of the second period. Nashville killed off the first two minutes, but for the second time in the game a Predators’ defenseman knocked the puck into his own goal. This time it was Bartley, sprawling to the ice to cut off the passing lane, who kicked in a goalmouth pass from Perry that resulted in Perry’s 30th goal.

But Nashville converted its third power play of the game at 1:05 of the third period, an advantage that began late in the second period when Luca Sbisa went off for hooking. With Anaheim overplaying Nashville’s point men, Shea Weber and Josi, Fisher was left open in the slot. David Legwand feathered a pass to Fisher who roofed the puck for his 16th goal.

Nashville started the game strong, outshooting Anaheim 14-7 in the first period, but the Predators could not convert two power-play opportunities and helped to keep his team in the game with his solid play. Hiller made 36 saves on Saturday. Boudreau said he thought Hiller could have won any of his past three games, which were all losses.

CLICK FOR GAME HIGHLIGHTS

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3-8-14 Preds vs CBJ, 1-0 CBJ

NASHVILLE — Columbus Blue Jackets center Artem Anisimov was making small talk after the morning skate about how his pregnant wife is due with the couple’s first child any day. As soon as she texts him that she’s going into labor, he’s getting on a plane and flying home.
With one game left on a three-game road trip, the Blue Jackets might not want to let him leave.
Columbus has won four out of its past five games, including a 1-0 victory against the Nashville Predators on Saturday at Bridgestone Arena. Anisimov has scored the game-winning goal in each.
“Really since coming back from the Olympic break, his game has been very good,” Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said of the Russian Olympian. “He’s a trustworthy player, smart player. So, defensive roles, penalty kill, but what we’re seeing now is that offensive side of him, and we know he’s a talented kid, passer, shooter.
“He’s scoring some huge goals for us.”
Anisimov’s goal Saturday was his sixth in the past six games and 19th of the season, a career high. Anisimov, who declined to speak with reporters after the game, had scored a goal in four straight games, a streak that was snapped in a 6-1 loss Thursday against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Columbus broke the scoreless tie Saturday with 6:25 left. Anisimov led a 3-on-2 rush, dropped the puck for defenseman James Wisniewski, and headed to the net. Anisimov got the puck back and stuffed it around 6-foot-5 Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne.
“Give him the puck, let him do his thing,” Wisniewski said. “He’s got great hands, so for him to be able to go from forehand all the way to backhand, even a big goalie like Pekka, is hard to get post-to-post like that.”
Columbus’ Sergei Bobrovsky made 28 saves in his first shutout since Jan. 10, his third of the season. With 28.8 seconds left and Rinne pulled for an extra attacker, Bobrovsky, coming from the far post, robbed Colin Wilson as he attempted to stuff the puck at the goalmouth. Wilson, who has not scored in 24 games, had the net open to the near side but instead shot at an angle into Bobrovsky, who gloved it just before the goal line.
Two of the NHL’s best goaltenders were on top of their game. Bobrovsky, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, stopped 18 shots through two periods, and Rinne, a Vezina finalist in 2011 and 2012, stopped 20, 35 total.
Rinne, playing his third straight game after returning from a hip infection, had to be at his best when Viktor Stalberg took a double-minor penalty for high-sticking RJ Umberger at 6:55 of the second period. One of Rinne’s best saves came on a slap shot by Boone Jenner that Rinne got a piece of with his blocker.
“[Rinne] is a great goaltender,” said Richards, who worked as an assistant with the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League when Rinne played for that team. “And it was one of those where our goalie was great in the first and then we started to take over the game and their goalie needed to be good in the second and the third and he was.
“It was one of those games where you’re wondering, ‘Is anyone going to be able to beat either one of these guys?'”
The penalty on Stalberg helped turn the momentum of the game, the coaches said. Nashville had four shots in the second period to Columbus’ 15; the Predators then had two through the first 10 minutes of the third.
Nashville’s Barry Trotz said as a result of that penalty Columbus “ground [us] down a bit.”
Nashville, which did not have more than 21 shots on goal in either of its past two games, had 14 in the first period. The Predators did not connect on their lone power-play chance, continuing a streak of futility to 15 straight with the man-advantage over the past four games.
One of the best scoring chances of the first period came with 5:43 left when Columbus center Ryan Johansen, the Blue Jackets’ leader in goals with 25, broke in on a 2-on-1. Rinne knocked down Johansen’s wrist shot with his glove.
Columbus (33-26-5) began the day two points out of the final Stanley Cup Playoff wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Blue Jackets were playing without three injured regular defensemen: Fedor Tyutin (ankle), Nikita Nikitin (upper body), and rookie Ryan Murray (knee), who will miss at least the remainder of the regular season.
“I thought the guys were great tonight,” said Richards, who shuffled his lineup somewhat, scratching wings Cam Atkinson and Matt Frattin.
The coach opted for more physical players, Blake Comeau and Corey Tropp, and the change appeared to work. Tropp had a second-period fight with Nashville’s Eric Nystrom.
The Predators (26-28-10) are 1-5-2 in their past eight and have lost four straight in regulation. Nashville had one goal in each of its past three games.
“We’re not scoring goals,” Trotz said. “You can look individually up front, we’ve got some guys who have been pretty dry, point-wise and goal-wise.”

3-30-14 Preds vs Caps, 4-3 Preds in SO

 Grand Ole Opry

Saw “NOAH”

Game:

NASHVILLE — Patric Hornqvist’s parents flew into Nashville from his native Sweden for three days to see his first child.

They got a bonus on Sunday when they saw their son score two goals in the Nashville Predators’ 4-3 shootout victory against the Washington Capitals at Bridgestone Arena.

Hornqvist missed the Predators’ 2-0 win against the Chicago Blackhawks on March 23 so he could be present when his wife Malin gave birth to the couple’s first child, a daughter.

It was good timing for Nashville, which improved to 7-4-1 in its past 12 games, but bad timing for Washington. The loss hurt the Capitals (34-28-13) in terms of the Eastern Conference’s wild-card race to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Capitals, who have seven games left, are one point behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second-wild card spot; Columbus has a game in hand.

Washington has now lost three straight (0-1-2), including a 4-2 loss to the Boston Bruins at home on Saturday.

Craig Smith scored on a wrist shot to the stick side for Nashville in the second round of the shootout to win it. Predators goalie Carter Hutton (23 saves) picked up his 18th win when he made a right pad save on Nicklas Backstrom in the third round.

Backstrom earlier had tied the game 3-3 at 12:20 of the third period with a wrist shot from the right circle on the man advantage. Troy Brouwer scored two power-play goals for the Capitals.

Washington’s even-strength play has not been what it needs it to be of late. Center Marcus Johansson was minus-3 Sunday. Nashville’s five-man unit of defensemen Shea Weber and Roman Josi along with Hornqvist’s line, which includes center Mike Fisher and Matt Cullen at left wing, were on ice for three even-strength goals and gave up one.

Nashville (33-32-11) kept its slim postseason hopes alive. The Predators are seven points behind the Phoenix Coyotes for the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot.

Weber scored on a slap shot low to Capitals goalie Jaroslav Halak’s blocker side to put the Predators up 3-2 at 8:23 of the third period. Cullen entered Washington’s zone, dropped the puck for Fisher and then drove to the net. Fisher left the puck for Weber, whose goal was his 21st of the season, tops among NHL defensemen. Weber is two goals shy of his career high.

Cullen was asked if he screened Halak on the goal.

The Predators took a succession of penalties in the second period that allowed Washington to even the score at 2-2. Nashville was called for too many men on the ice at 11:43, which the Predators killed. Josi was then called for interference at 13:53, and Washington converted.

Brouwer scored his second goal of the game and 23rd on the season by backhanding a loose puck from the slot over Hutton at 14:22.

Weber proved to be a catalyst on a key sequence at the end of the first period that allowed Nashville to take a 2-1 lead into first intermission. Weber sprawled to break up a 2-on-1 led by Capitals wing Alex Ovechkin. Then he got up off the ice and cleared the puck out of the zone.  Weber said he relishes those situations, going up against another star.

Hornqvist scored his second goal of the game 18 seconds later on a breakaway, roofing a shot past Halak from close range with 90 seconds left in the period. The goal was Hornqvist’s 17th of the season.

Washington took a 1-0 lead as a result of Backstrom’s strip of Nashville defenseman Mattias Ekholm in the Predators’ zone. Backstrom fed Mike Green and the latter found Brouwer, who blasted a one-timer into an open net at 4:17. The goal was Brouwer’s 22nd of the season.

Nashvillle answered 98 seconds later. Weber unleashed one of his trademark slap shots and Halak could not control the rebound. Hornqvist beat defenseman Patrick Wey to the puck and shoveled it in for his 16th goal.

Wey later fought Nashville’s Rich Clune at 8:16 of the first; Wey took an uppercut that left him needing a few moments on the ice before regain his bearings. He did not return and Washington played with five defensemen for the remainder of the game.

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Oates said the Capitals removed Wey from the game for precautionary reasons. Oates said Wey had not been tested for a concussion.

Halak’s play was crucial in keeping Washington in the game. He stopped Smith with a stick save on a breakaway early in the second period and then in a 4-on-4 situation, he gloved Hornqvist’s attempt at a hat trick when Hornqvist broke in alone and was denied on a wrist shot.

Halak, who started the season in the Central Division as a member of the St. Louis Blues, entered the game 10-3-3 against Nashville. The Predators narrowly got the best of him Sunday and continued its long-shot push with six games remaining.

10-12-13 Preds vs Isles, 3-2 Preds

FINALLY, hockey is back!!!   This is our first NHL game this season, one of the Preds first home games since opening night.  So excited.   We left Atlanta early Saturday morning and hit our favorite Bar-B-Cutie for lunch on the way up, got checked in at Opryland Hotel with a balcony overlooking the Delta, crashed awhile, then headed over to the arena.  We had parking set up in the new Music City Center Parking Garage without package this season and its really pretty cool, because I was able to park my new Edge where nobody could get near her!   🙂     

First road trip in my new baby!  My Ford Edge SPORT, thank you JB, for finding it for us.   

Tonight’s game was great for several reasons, but also because Seth Jones got his first NHL Goal.

Seth Jones showed why the Nashville Predators were so glad he fell to them in the 2013 NHL Draft.  Jones scored his first NHL goal and made a key defensive play late in the third period as the Predators edged the New York Islanders 3-2 on Saturday night. The 19-year-old defenseman, taken with the fourth selection in the draft, opened the scoring when beat Evgeni Nabokov for a power-play goal early in the second period.  Jones was left alone just inside the left circle and blasted a feed from David Legwand into the net.

Ryan Ellis’ goal 3:23 into the third period broke a 2-2 tie. Ellis blasted a 60-foot slap shot that appeared to hit Nabokov’s stick and went into the net.

Nabokov faced 31 shots, while the Islanders managed only 16 against Pekka Rinne. Jones helped his goaltender late in the third period when he knocked the puck away from Michael Grabner to prevent the speedy Islanders forward from going in alone.

New York, which got second-period goals by Frans Nielsen and John Tavares, hasn’t won at Bridgestone Arena in its last six visits, dating to a 5-2 victory on April 11, 2002. That’s also the last time the Islanders have beaten the Predators in regulation; Nashville is 11-3-2 all-time against the Islanders.

The Islanders, coming off a 3-2 road loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday, generated just four shots on goal in the opening period and attempted only nine. But while the Predators had nine shots and 23 attempts, they managed few good scoring chances. Their best opportunity came at 13:45 when Nabokov robbed Craig Smith from the slot after a perfect passout from Matt Cullen left him wide-open.

Neither team had a power play in the opening 20 minutes, but Nashville capitalized after Casey Cizikas was called for boarding 15 seconds into the second period.

New York had managed all of five shots on goal through the midway point of the game, but coach Jack Capuano shook up his lines and the changes worked. Kyle Okposo, dropped temporarily to the second line, made a feed from the right half-wall to the slot to Nielsen, who wristed a shot that beat Rinne to the top far corner for his second of the season.

Okposo was instrumental in the go-ahead goal at 15:28. He controlled the puck in the Nashville zone, drove into the slot and dished to Tavares in the left circle. Tavares’ pass attempt was blocked, but he grabbed the loose puck and banked a shot off Rinne’s pad and into the net for his third of the season.

Nashville pulled even 52.8 seconds before intermission when Colin Wilson’s pass sprung Hornqvist down the right wing in transition. Nabokov came out to cut down the angle, but Hornqvist fired before the goaltender could get set and scored his first of the season with a shot through the five-hole.

Material from team media and wire services was used in this report

GAME HIGHLIGHTS:

1-18-14 Preds vs Avs, 5-4 Avs

NASHVILLE — Nick Holden was the last, and perhaps most unlikely, member of the Colorado Avalanche to get undressed on Saturday after his team’s 5-4 win against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena.

Holden, a defenseman who entered the game with two goals in 27 NHL games, first had to do a postgame interview with local television after scoring twice and adding an assist. He then entered the locker room to good-natured ribbing from his teammates for the crowd of media members who awaited him.

“He’s been like this since the start,” Colorado coach Patrick Roy said. “He’s been very impressive. I mean, training camp came, we signed him as a call-up and he came to the camp, played so well. I said, ‘Hey, listen, you’re going to start with us’ and it’s been like this. He’s been very patient at the beginning of the year, didn’t play much.

“Lately he’s had his opportunity and he’s taken advantage of it. What I like, I like his speed, he’s jumping in the rush well and, you know what, his game is improving defensively, as well, and I’m very happy for him as well.”
The 26-year-old Holden played only two years of major junior and was never drafted but worked his way up through the American Hockey League. He played five games with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2010-11 and two more last season before breaking through with Colorado this season. He has four goals, six assists and an even rating in 21 games.
The 6-foot-4, 207-pounder was self-effacing after his big night.

“I think the goals are good plays by my teammates,” he said. “I think every game somebody else is stepping up. We’ve gone through a lot of injuries and it’s kind of showed the adversity from our team here to battle through it. …

“It’s different guys every night, and tonight it was luckily me.”
Holden earned the primary assist on Matt Duchene’s power-play goal at 6:31 of the third period that ended up being the game-winner, as Nashville rallied for three late goals late but came up one short. Holden’s teammates noted that he almost scored on that power play, which would have given him a hat trick.

“He played unbelievable,” Paul Stastny said. “… Almost had the hat trick there, didn’t get it but [Duchene] picked up his rebound and I think that ended up being the game-winning goal.”

The Avalanche improved to 31-12-5, including 5-0-1 in their past six games and 8-1-2 in their past 11.

They jumped on Nashville (21-22-7) for three quick goals in the first period, spoiling the Predators debut of goalie Devan Dubnyk, who was acquired on Wednesday in a trade with the Edmonton Oilers. Dubnyk finished with 24 saves but trailed 3-0 12:05 into the game.

The Avalanche took advantage of some defensive confusion by the Predators to score at 6:21 of the first period. Colorado unleashed three shots in a span of 12 seconds, the first a 50-foot slap shot from Holden. Later, Holden skated in from the point and put in a rebound of Nathan MacKinnon’s backhander, which deflected to the opposite side of the ice and left the goal wide open. The secondary assist went to Stastny, who missed the previous two games with a leg injury.
Another Colorado defenseman, Jan Hejda, scored to make it 2-0 with 8:33 left in the first. Hejda’s slap shot from near the right boards eluded Dubnyk to the wide side, looking as if it deflected off Nashville’s Eric Nystrom.

Colorado capitalized on more sloppy defensive play by Nashville and took a three-goal lead 38 seconds later. Gabriel Landeskog scored his 14th goal from below the right faceoff dot after Nashville had full control but could not clear the zone. Again, assists went to MacKinnon and Stastny.

“We played good,” Stastny said of his line. “It’s good to be back. Hadn’t been back in a while.”

After that third goal, Nashville coach Barry Trotz called his timeout and appeared to read his team the riot act.

“I just said it’s all about our 1-on-1 battles,” Trotz said. “We had a couple of guys who weren’t battling very hard, especially around our net. You’ve got to what we call boxing out. You’ve got to tie up people. They were just manhandling a couple of our defense tonight. I just thought they were real light and running around for no reason.”

Rookie defensemen Seth Jones and Mattias Ekholm, who played as a pairing, each finished minus-3. Trotz also was not pleased with the play of the forward line of Colin Wilson, Mike Fisher and Patric Hornqvist, who finished a combined minus-5.
Nashville pulled within 3-1 late in the second period with the help of a two-minute 5-on-3 power play. Landeskog received a an elbowing penalty for a high hit on Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis, and Erik Johnson went off for roughing after he intervened when Nashville’s Paul Gaustad went after Landeskog. The Predators got on the board 35 later when Fisher fed Hornqvist in the goalmouth for Hornqvist’s 10th.
The Predators could not score on the second half of the power play.

Nashville thought it scored its second goal before the end of the period, but a video review confirmed that time had run out.

Holden scored his second of the game at 2:31 of the third period with a slap shot that trickled through Dubnyk’s left pad. Four minutes later, Duchene made it 5-1 when he fired from a steep angle and his shot went between Dubnyk’s back and the post.

Dubnyk was not at his best. Trotz said he thought Dubnyk looked “nervous and rusty.”

“I know Devan Dubnyk,” Trotz said. “He’s been in the League a long time. I’ve seen a lot better games from him. He’ll get better. His first game I know he was nervous. We gave him very little support early and he just looked like he was nervous after that.”

Dubnyk appeared disappointed in his effort.

“Usually what I bring to the table is a calmness and a presence and I relax back there, giving the guys a nice settling feeling,” he said. “And I think, obviously, there’s a lot going on and was real excited to get out there and play with this group. I think there’s a little bit too much thinking going on, on my part, and not enough just going out and trusting and playing hockey. It’s disappointing to see an effort like that out of this group and not be able to help them to two points.”

Nashville’s rally began with 11:46 left when Craig Smith stuffed home the rebound of Roman Josi’s shot for his team-leading 15th goal to make it 5-2. Ellis scored on a slap shot from the point with 7:15 to go, and Josi scored his fifth of the season with 2:57 remaining on a rebound to pull the Predators within one.

GAME HIGHLIGHTS:

http://video.avalanche.nhl.com/videocenter/console?id=2013020020-X-h

31-14 Preds vs Jets, 3-1 Jets

“Hockey Fights Cancer”

NASHVILLE — Coming off the 2014 Sochi Olympics, it might have been hard to know what to expect from Winnipeg Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec when the NHL season resumed.

Playing for the Czech Republic, he allowed four goals and was pulled in a quarterfinal loss to the United States. Pavelec did not dress for the Czechs’ first game against Sweden.

If those events bothered him, it’s not apparent. Despite his team being significantly outshot, Pavelec stopped 39 shots Saturday in a 3-1 win against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena.

Nashville outshot Winnipeg 40-20, giving Pavelec his second strong win against the Central Division foe this season. He made 41 saves on Nov. 8 in a 5-0 win against the Predators.

Since returning from Sochi, Pavelec is 2-0-0. He defeated the Phoenix Coyotes 3-2 in a shootout in his first game back Thursday, when he made 34 saves.

The surging Jets (29-26-6) are 11-3-1 since Maurice replaced Claude Noel as coach on Jan. 12. The Jets, who began the day two points out of the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference, pushed their lead over the Predators to four points in the Central Division.

Predators coach Barry Trotz said a bad read by the right-side defenseman — he didn’t name him, but it was rookie Seth Jones — cost Nashville the first goal. Jets center Olli Jokinen broke in alone and his wrist shot beat goalie Carter Hutton high to the glove side at 5:02 of the second period. The goal was Jokinen’s 14th of the season.

Nashville (26-25-10) is 1-2-2 in its past five games. The Predators had won three of four against the Jets in the season series entering Saturday.

Trotz said he liked his team’s effort. The Predators play the third game of their five-game homestand on Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
 

One game after going 3-for-4 on the power play in a 3-2 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday, the Predators failed to score on all six power-play chances. Nashville entered the game with the NHL’s fifth-ranked power play, but Winnipeg owns the League’s top-ranked penalty-killing unit on the road. The Jets entered killing 87.5 percent of opponent’s chances away from home.

Pavelec was Winnipeg’s best penalty-killer Saturday. In the first period, he came across the crease to rob David Legwand’s try on a rebound when the game was still scoreless. Legwand fell to the ice, clutching his helmet in disbelief. Trotz cited that as an important save early.

Pavelec stopped Viktor Stalberg on a breakaway with 5:08 left in the second period, flashing his left pad to turn aside a wrist shot along the ice.

Jets captain Andrew Ladd deflected Zach Bogosian’s slap shot from the right side past Hutton to give the Jets a 2-0 lead with 1:41 left in the second.

Predators forward Simon Moser scored his first NHL goal in his fifth career game with 10:49 left in regulation to pull Nashville within 2-1. Moser deflected a shot by defenseman Michael Del Zotto past Pavelec.

But Pavelec preserved the lead with about five minutes left in regulation, stopping Mike Fisher on a 2-on-1. Jets forward Devin Setoguchi then pushed the margin to 3-1 with 3:52 left in regulation. Blake Wheeler used his speed to outflank Predators defenseman Shea Weber and put a shot on goal that Hutton stopped, but Setoguchi converted the rebound from close range.

The Jets, Dallas Stars and Vancouver Canucks each have 66 points, though the Stars own the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference because they have two games in hand on the other two.

Ladd said the Jets won’t begin scoreboard-watching so early and he wants his team to find ways to continue to improve.

Team Photographer Photos