Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Forsberg, Rinne Lead the Way as Predators Beat Jets to Force Game 7

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Forsberg, Rinne Lead the Way as Predators Beat Jets to Force Game 7

Article excerpt

Predators beat Jets to force game 7


WINNIPEG - The Winnipeg Jets looked to have everything going for them heading into Monday.

An opponent seemingly on the ropes, a city bubbling with anticipation, a raucous home crowd, and a confident group ready to take its first step into a conference final.

The trouble is, someone forgot to tell the Nashville Predators.

Filip Forsberg scored two incredible goals, Pekka Rinne made 34 saves for his second shutout of the playoffs and the Predators defeated the Jets 4-0 to avoid elimination and tie their second-round series 3-3.

"It's been back and forth, up and down," Winnipeg head coach Paul Maurice said. "It's probably right that it's going seven."

That decisive Game 7 goes Thursday in Nashville, with the winner taking on the expansion Vegas Golden Knights for a shot at making the Stanley Cup final.

With the usual thunderous backing at Bell MTS Place, and thousands more fans gathered for a street party outside the arena, the Jets fell behind early on a strange goal before failing to connect on three successive power plays in the first period to take the wind out of their sails.

"The power play is probably just a microcosm of the way we played," Winnipeg centre Paul Stastny said. "We probably weren't moving as well or as sharp as we wanted."

Forsberg also had an assist for a three-point night, Viktor Arvidsson had two goals of his own and set up another, while Roman Josi and Ryan Johansen chipped in with two assists each.

"Desperation," said Rinne, who picked his fifth-career playoff shutout. "It just shows that we have a really tight group."

After the Jets' top line combined for eight points in a 6-2 victory in Game 5 in Nashville to take a 3-2 lead in the series, the Predators No. 1 trio of Forsberg, Arvidsson and Johansen did the same when it mattered most.

"It's the most fun," Forsberg said. "You can never have more fun than playing these elimination games.

"Just try to enjoy it as much as possible."

Connor Hellebuyck stopped 25 shots for the Jets, who will look to rebound in a punch/counter-punch affair that has seen the visiting team win four times and neither club grab consecutive victories.

"There is a simplicity to the games that have been won," Maurice said. "Most of our best offence never got to the net."

Forsberg put Nashville ahead by 2-0 at 8:44 of the second period on a great solo rush for his sixth of the post season.

After breaking his stick in the defensive zone blocking a shot, the Swedish winger raced to the bench to collect a new piece of lumber as the puck almost simultaneously arrived at his feet. …

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