NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Connor Hellebuyck saw a lot of shots and turned away all but one as Winnipeg skated to yet another road win.
Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers scored, Hellebuyck made 38 saves and the Jets defeated the Nashville Predators 2-1 on Tuesday night.
The teams are heading in opposite directions in the tough Central Division. Winnipeg has won three in a row and five of six, while the reeling Predators have lost five straight and seven of eight.
Hellebuyck made 10 saves in the first period, 12 in the second and 16 in the third.
“I didn’t think they had anything too good tonight because I thought we kept them to the outside and kind of controlled where the shots were coming from,” Hellebuyck said. “That being said, they’re probably trying to generate a whole lot in the third and I thought we did a good job of shutting it down.”
The Jets are 8-3-0 on the road this season and have won five straight away from home.
Winnipeg didn’t waste any time getting on the board as Laine scored just 18 seconds into the opening period. He carried the puck into the Nashville zone, passed to Kyle Connor on his left side and continued driving toward the net. Connor lifted a pass over the stick of Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis that landed right on the tape of Laine’s stick, and the 21-year-old right wing from Finland directed the puck over the left pad of goalie Juuse Saros.
“You know what? It couldn’t have started any better,” Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said. “We know coming in on the road that they’ve lost a few, it’s a veteran team and they’ve got lots of firepower so they would be ready for this game.”
Laine scored only one goal in his previous 14 games.
Ehlers made it 2-0 at 3:37 of the second. From the right half boards, Jack Roslovic found Ehlers with a pass in the high slot. He used Predators defenseman Dan Hamhuis as a screen and fired a wrist shot by Saros on the far side.
The goal was the 100th of his career.
“It feels great, obviously,” Ehlers said. “I’m very proud of that, but I’m not done. I’m going to try and keep it going.”
Nick Bonino halved the Winnipeg lead at 18:11 of the second.
Rocco Grimaldi sent a pass from the left side of the goal line to Bonino on the other side of the Winnipeg net, and he beat Hellebuyck with a quick wrist shot for his ninth goal of the season, tying him with Filip Forsberg for the team lead.
“It’s a tough time, it’s a rough patch, but everyone goes through it,” Grimaldi said. “If you’re a great team, it’s how do you respond to this? How do you guys grow closer together? How do you guys grow stronger together?”
Saros finished with 23 saves.
NOTES: The Jets have defeated Nashville in five of their last six matchups. … Predators RW Mathieu Olivier made his NHL debut. … Nashville D Steven Santini, acquired in the offseason trade that sent P.K. Subban to the New Jersey Devils, played his first game with the Predators. … Nashville C Kyle Turris was a healthy scratch. … Connor played his 200th career game and Winnipeg C Mathieu Perreault played his 600th. … The Jets are 4-1-0 against Central Division teams this season.
Jets: Visit the Dallas Stars on Thursday.
Predators: Host the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.
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