Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Jets Look to Build on Impressive Road Win as Series with Preds Continues Sunday

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Jets Look to Build on Impressive Road Win as Series with Preds Continues Sunday

Article excerpt

Intriguing goalie battle in Jets-Preds series

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NASHVILLE - Heading into the much-anticipated Western Conference semifinal between Nashville and Winnipeg, a lot of talk centred around the high-powered offences that helped the Predators and Jets finish 1-2 in the NHL's overall standings.

Flying somewhat under the radar is that the series also features two of the three goaltenders nominated for the Vezina Trophy.

In Friday night's Game 1, Winnipeg's Connor Hellebuyck made 47 saves to lead the Jets to a 4-1 victory against the Presidents' Trophy-winning Predators. After shutting out the Minnesota Wild in the last two games of the Jets' first-round series, Hellebuyck has stopped 107 of the last 108 shots over his last three games.

After the win, Jets coach Paul Maurice indicated that even when his team surrenders more shots than they generate, there's a confidence that Hellebuyck will be there to make the saves needed.

"I think we can play better and I think we will as this series goes on, but we pay our goaltender too," he said.

Nashville's Pekka Rinne, who is considered the frontrunner for the Vezina, struggled in Game 1. He stopped 13 of 16 shots before Nashville coach Peter Laviolette lifted him the Finn at the start of the third period in an attempt to jumpstart his team.

"Pekka will be ready," Laviolette said of Sunday's Game 2. "He's a world-class goalie. He's been the backbone of this franchise for a long time. He's been through a lot of wars and a lot of battles, so we have no issues with that.

"I really think that we could have cleaned up the front of our net on the first two goals a little bit better. That might have helped with some better defence."

Rinne would have rather played Game 2 on Saturday rather than waiting until Sunday.

"I think that's the mindset you have to have in playoffs, whatever happened yesterday, today is a new day and another opportunity tomorrow," he said. "You lose a game in (the) playoffs and we played that well, obviously personally you want to be better. That's just the way it goes."

The Jets have scored first in each of their six playoff games, something they would like to see continue against Rinne. …

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