Defensively, the Nashville Predators are allowing 2.5 goals per game and are killing 81.9 percent of their opponents power plays. I know there are people in the East who might disagree with me, and I am not dissing any of the final eight teams when I say this, but I feel the Jets are going to be a force for years to come.
However, the Jets shot-blockers and Hellebuyck kept Nashville at bay and then at 19:24, Scheifele won a race to a loose puck and scored his second goal of the game into the empty net.
Considering Hellebuyck dispatched the Wild in five games with back-to-back shutout performances, there should be no doubt that he'll be between the pipes to open the Jets' second-round matchup with the Predators.
"Yeah, I thought we played well", said captain Roman Josi. Pekka Rinne has to be much better if the Predators want to beat the Jets in any game this series.
Stastny doubled the Jets lead at 9:01 of the second.
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"There's no steals in (the) playoffs", said center Mark Scheifele, who scored two goals for the Jets on Friday night. I don't think he has to tell his team anything.
"We've taken a step up, and if we can keep this going the way we're playing right now and make it even better, then it's gonna be an exciting series". Coach Paul Maurice said the Jets weren't at their best and can play better. That the Jets and Predators can provide.
The Predators did not take any satisfaction from their dominance on the shot clock. It was an incredible effort by Nikolaj Ehlers who raced the puck up the ice and found Patrik Laine in front and Stastny put home the rebound.
Blake Wheeler was whistled for goaltender interference at 15:38, and late in that Nashville power play, Filip Forsberg had an opportunity to cut the Winnipeg lead in half with a one-timer from the left circle, but his shot rang off of the left post.
Despite putting 48 shots on Hellebuyck, Kevin Fiala's third-period goal was the only one that eluded the Vezina Trophy finalist. The case can be made that majority of the shots were not high quality.
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"That's always nice", Hellebuyck said. "That page is done, you got to turn it and you've got to move onto the next page". "Hands down, I promise a win tonight".
Laviolette's Predators play Winnipeg in the Western Conference semifinals after turning in their best season in franchise history to grab the right to start and end a series in the place called "Smashville".
Fiala at least helped Nashville avoid being shut out with his wrister 1:23 into the third. After going to the dressing room for repairs, the defenceman returned midway through the period.
Nashville has created 10.0 takeaways per game over its last five home games, an improvement over its season average of 8.0 takeaways per game (ranked 11th in the league). "We approach every game like it's a must-win for us". They are professionals and they know for certain they stunk up the 'Stone on this night.
"The fever is on, the city is going insane over this", Chad Gilbert, decked out in a Stay Puft Marshmallow Man costume, said calmly while heading into the arena to watch the game.
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