NASHVILLE, TN - A third period rally came up short on Monday night, as the Winnipeg Jets saw their four-game win streak come to an end with a 5-3 loss to the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena.
Video: POSTGAME | JetsTV Road Report
The loss was also the Jets first against a Central Division opponent, after winning each of their first four within their division.
Mathieu Perreault scored twice, his third and fourth goals since coming back from a lower-body injury three games ago, and Tyler Myers added a single in the loss.
The difference may have been the second period, when Nashville scored three times to open up a 4-1 lead, with two of those goals coming on the power play.
Video: POSTGAME | Mathieu Perreault
"We got in the box, that's a problem for us. We had some self-inflicted wounds on the penalty kill, pucks we didn't need to chase or turnovers that we can't have. In the end, our gap was off a little bit," said head coach Paul Maurice.
"The starting point wasn't good. We didn't close our gaps, we came off it a little bit…. We were giving more ice than we needed to."
On a delayed penalty, PK Subban sent a slap pass to Kevin Fiala to the left of Connor Hellebuyck. Fiala picked up the pass on his forehand and spun around to send a backhand shot on net, and the puck slid between Hellebuyck's legs to open the scoring.
The Jets power play would get it back though. With Mattias Ekholm off for tripping Kyle Connor, some quick passing led to a one-timer from Tyler Myers that was deflected by Mathieu Perreault in front of Pekka Rinne. The deflected puck hit Rinne, and hopped over the Nashville goaltender and rolled in.
It was Perreault's third goal (and fourth point) in three games since his return from a lower-body injury.
"We've been playing some good hockey, so we'll just put it behind us and focus on what's coming ahead," said Perreault. "We're not going to change anything, we're playing well right now. We like our record, we like where our game is at, this is just one game."
Nashville's second period outburst began less than a minute into the middle frame. Jacob Trouba lost the handle on the puck behind the Jets net, and Filip Forsberg pounced on the chance to slide a pass in front to Ryan Johansen in the slot. Johansen didn't miss from there, sending a wrist shot past the glove of Hellebuyck for his second of the season, and a 2-1 Predators lead.
Video: POSTGAME | Tyler Myers
Kyle Turris, acquired in a three-way trade with Ottawa and Colorado on Nov. 5, would score his second as a member of the Predators on the power play to extend the lead. His one-timer from the left wing face-off dot off a pass from Roman Josi went under the arm of Hellebuyck, making it 3-1 Predators.
The Predators power play would strike again before the end of the period. This time, it was Patrik Laine in the box for hooking. Shortly after the Jets missed a chance to clear the puck, Ekholm's blast found a way through traffic and past Hellebuyck.
"They just took over. A couple penalties didn't help our cause. We just didn't do enough of the little things, and they capitalized on their opportunities," said captain Blake Wheeler.
"We liked the first and the third period. Got off to a good start, the third period, we were in their zone the whole period. Obviously they're up three goals, so they're sitting on their heels. The second period, we could have done a couple more things to give ourselves a chance in the third."
Nick Bonino would make it 5-1 just over nine minutes into the third, just seconds after a Jets power play had expired. Nick Bonino found some open space in front of Hellebuyck when Myers and Nikolaj Ehlers got their signals crossed on clearing the rebound.
Video: POSTGAME | Blake Wheeler
Myers would get that one back 1:23 later, when his wrist shot off the rush beat Rinne stick side from the top of the circle, cutting the Predators' lead to 5-2.
Perreault's second of the night would cut the Nashville lead to 5-3, as Perreault took a pass from Joel Armia below the goal line, and banked the puck in off Rinne with 3:54 left in regulation.
But that's as close as the Jets would get. The loss dropped the Jets record to 12-5-3, but Myers says the team is already looking ahead to another tough test against the Los Angeles Kings in stop number two on the road trip on Wednesday.
"We're not going to dread on it. We have a day off tomorrow, regroup, and get ready for a big three games left on this road trip," said Myers. "We're going to have to come out hungry against LA. They're a good team, and they're doing well. It's going to be a big game."