March 14, 2018 / 3:20 AM / 9 months ago

Predators pound Jets, tie for league lead

Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne stopped 32 of 33 shots, and the Predators pulled away for a 3-1 win over the visiting Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena.

Nashville earned its 11th win in 12 games to increase its lead atop the Western Conference’s Central Division. The Predators reached 100 points, which is tied with the Tampa Bay Lightning for most in the NHL.

Kevin Fiala, Austin Watson and Viktor Arvidsson scored for Nashville.

Kyle Connor scored in a losing effort for Winnipeg, which lost its third game in a row.

Rinne stopped six shots in the first period, 12 in the second period and 14 in the third period to lead Nashville. He improved to 38-9-4 on the season and notched the 307th victory of his career.

Jets goaltender Michael Hutchinson allowed three goals on 15 shots before he was replaced less than nine minutes into the game. Connor Hellebuyck stopped all 30 shots he faced in relief.

Nashville opened the scoring on a one-timer by Fiala at the 2:48 mark of the first period. Veteran defenseman Roman Josi carried the puck into the offensive end and swept a backhand pass to Fiala, who ripped a slap shot for his 22nd goal of the season. Fiala smiled and shook his head at Josi after the play.

The Predators added two short-handed goals in a 34-second span later in the first period to go ahead 3-0.

During a two-on-one break, Watson lifted a wrist shot over Hutchinson’s shoulder for his 12th goal, two of which have come on the penalty kill.

Arvidsson quickly followed with a one-timer on a perfect feed from Filip Forsberg. The goal, which marked Arvidsson’s team-leading 26th of the season and his first on the penalty kill, prompted Jets coach Paul Maurice to pull Hutchinson in favor of Hellebuyck.

Winnipeg sliced the deficit to 3-1 on a power-play goal by Connor at 1:08 of the third period. Blake Wheeler and Patrik Laine each earned assists on the goal, which was Connor’s 23rd of the season.

—Field Level Media

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