Tue, May 01, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Predators defeat Jets 5-4 in Game 2 to tie the series

AP, NASHVILLE, Tennessee

Kevin Fiala of the Nashville Predators, center, scores the winning goal past Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, right, in Game 2 of their Stanley Cup playoff series at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee, on Sunday.

Photo: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA Today

The Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets put on a fast-paced, thrilling playoff show that reminded everyone why they finished ahead of everybody else in the NHL regular season.

Thanks to Kevin Fiala, the Presidents’ Trophy winners go to Winnipeg breathing a little easier.

Fiala on Sunday scored off a two-on-one 5 minutes, 37 seconds into double overtime to give the Predators a 5-4 victory over the Jets in Game 2, tying the Western Conference semi-final series.

“Very happy that we won,” Fiala said. “That’s all that matters. It was a huge game for us to tie it up 1-1. It was very big for us.”

Nashville had the NHL’s best road record during the regular season, but the Predators got the split they needed before Game 3 today in Winnipeg, where the Jets posted the league’s best home record.

“It’s huge, a big difference being 2-0 or 1-1,” said Predators goalie Pekka Rinne, who had a career playoff-best 46 saves. “Obviously, we’ll take this. It was an emotional game, and now it’s time to go on the road and we need to steal a couple of wins in their building.”

Craig Smith and Fiala skated up on a two-on-one and Jets defenseman Dustin Byflugien failed to block Smith’s cross-ice pass to Fiala, who beat goalie Connor Hellebuyck with a backhander.

Ryan Johansen scored twice, Viktor Arvidsson had a goal and two assists, and P.K. Subban had a goal and an assist as Nashville won both their 100th post-season game as a franchise and coach Peter Laviolette’s 50th with the team.

Filip Forsberg also had three primary assists for the first time in the post-season.

Laviolette said at one point in the second period the game looked like a track meet both teams were skating so fast.

He noted that the Jets finished just three points behind Nashville.

“They’re a good team as well,” Laviolette said.

Mark Scheifele scored twice and had an assist.

Byflugien had a goal and an assist, while Brandon Tanev also scored a goal for Winnipeg, who lost their first multiple-overtime game.

“It’s a sucky way to lose, but we played a better game tonight than we did on Friday,” Scheifele said. “That’s a positive. We can be upset for 10 minutes, and then after that we’ve got to get our rest and then get ready for Tuesday.”

Coach Paul Maurice said his Jets at least go home with a split and he is not sure that home ice would be a huge advantage.

“There will be a little bit more excitement when Patty rings one off the post,” Maurice said of his forward, Patrik Laine.

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