Jets Head to Nashville for Game 7 of Roller-Coaster Series with Predators

By Clipperton, Joshua | The Canadian Press, May 8, 2018 | Go to article overview

Jets Head to Nashville for Game 7 of Roller-Coaster Series with Predators


Clipperton, Joshua, The Canadian Press


Jets, Preds primed for Game 7 showdown

--

WINNIPEG - There was a brief moment of locker-room levity after the Jets had just blown a chance to clinch a spot in the Western Conference final for the first time in franchise -- and the city's -- history.

Winnipeg captain Blake Wheeler was asked by a reporter in the wake of Monday's 4-0 home loss in Game 6 what he would have done if told at the start of the season his team would be headed to Nashville to battle in a winner-take-all showdown for a place in the third round of the playoffs?

"I would have given you a big kiss," Wheeler responded, before quickly adding, "Not a lick. Let's be clear."

Despite the disappointment of failing to close out the Predators, the Jets will travel to Music City for Thursday's decisive Game 7 knowing they've already won twice at Bridgestone Arena in a roller-coaster series where momentum has meant as much as home ice -- next to nothing.

Neither team has won consecutive games, with the visitors owning a 4-2 record in deafening opposition venues where the Jets and Predators went a combined 60-16-6 in the regular season before going 5-1 in their first-round victories.

"You knew us and Nashville were probably going to run at each other," said centre Paul Stastny, one of just a handful of Jets to play in multiple Game 7s. "You knew it was going to be a battle and now everyone got what they wanted."

Winnipeg had it all to play for on Monday after grabbing a 6-2 win in Nashville in Game 5 for a 3-2 series lead.

The Manitoba capital had never seen its NHL teams -- the first incarnation of the Jets or this new version that came to town in 2011 -- win a second-round playoff game before this spring, let alone make a conference final.

But with their city and province ready to explode in celebration, the Jets wilted.

"It's frustrating. It's painful," head coach Paul Maurice said. "You were right there. It's an elimination game. There have been an awful lot of seven-game series that have happened in the history of the National Hockey League, and somebody was up 3-2 in every single one of them.

"They were good on the road, we were good in (Game 5). It's gonna be a hell of a game."

Battle-tested Nashville shut down Winnipeg's attack Monday the same it did in a 2-1 victory at Bell MTS Place in Game 4 to even the series 2-2. …

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