Predators hope to turn shots into goals vs. Jets

Predators hope to turn shots into goals vs. Jets

Kerry Wise
April 29, 2018

NOTES: Nashville defenseman Ryan Ellis went to the locker room after being clipped on the cheek by the skate of Jets Ben Chiarot early in the third. The Jets have an elite power play but also struggled to kill penalties in Round 1 versus Minnesota, albeit that's a small sample size.

Earning moneyline bettors 13.3 units, Nashville is 57-31 straight up (SU) overall this year. The Golden Knights are the lowest-scoring team of the eight to advance, averaging only 1.75 goals per game, but also had the best goaltender of the first round in Marc-Andre Fleury, who leads all netminders with a 0.65 goals-against average and.970 save percentage. Still, plenty of people will wonder about Rinne's confidence, or perhaps the Predators' confidence in Rinne. Paul Stastny found the back of the net at 9:01 to increase the lead. It's nearly unfair that coach Paul Maurice can spread Kyle Connor, Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler, Nikolaj Ehlers, Paul Stastny and Patrik Laine across two lines, with the likes of Bryan Little qualifying as a "third-liner". Then, at 17:51, Blake Wheeler broke into the Press zone, dealt the puck to Mark Scheifele who toe-dragged and on his forehand ripped a perfectly-placed wrister past Pekka Rinne and the Jets were up 3-0.

The arena was dead quiet and there was a sense of shock.

"There's a lot about Patty's shot and his ability that I can't explain". Mark Scheifele scored his second of the game and sixth of the playoffs put the game on ice.

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Both the Jets and Predators brought a Vezina Trophy finalist into this series. There were just 11 one-goal games in the opening round. He was the best player on the ice and always gives his team a chance to win. Rinne wasn't almost as lucky, allowing three goals on just 16 shots and seeing his night end early. The third goal was questionable and there was clear frustration from the start.

Despite a great season and mostly strong work in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Rinne's had his low moments in the National Hockey League (as, honestly, most goalies not named Henrik Lundqvist tend to suffer if they get to hang around long enough). When the third period began, Peter Laviolette chose to give Rinne the hook in favor of Juuse Saros. The fourth goal was a empty-net goal.

The Preds can build off that, and the fact they controlled much of the action throughout, outshooting the Jets by a whopping margin of 48-19. The case can be made that majority of the shots were not high quality. Hellebuyck could see the majority of the shots he faced and that needs to change for Nashville. The Predators and Jets have two of the wildest, most feverish home atmospheres in the sport - to the point it wouldn't be surprising to see Nashville's 4-3 advantage in home dates wind up the difference-maker in the series. With the victory, the Jets took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven Central Division final (Western Conference semifinal) and stole a road game to open the series.