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game recap

Predators' point streak continues in win against Jets

Nashville is 9-0-4 in past 13; last regulation loss was on Feb. 9

by Patrick Williams / Correspondent

WINNIPEG -- The Nashville Predators extended their franchise-record point streak to 13 games with a 4-2 win against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre on Tuesday. 

Craig Smith scored two goals and has five in his past five games. Colton Sissons and Ryan Johansen scored, Colin Wilson had two assists and Pekka Rinne made 21 saves for the Predators, who are 9-0-4 in their past 13.

Nashville (34-21-12) held on after Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba scored with 6:23 left to cut the Predators' lead to 3-2. Smith scored his second of the game with 4:39 remaining to make it 4-2. Mike Ribeiro assisted on the goal, extending his point streak to five games (one goal, seven assists).

Nashville has not lost in regulation since Feb. 9 against the Washington Capitals.

Video: NSH@WPG: Smith tips home his second goal of the night

"I liked that we got better as the game went on," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "I like the things that we're doing. I thought we played a good road game."

The Predators continue to hold the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference; a five-game road trip continues at the Calgary Flames on Wednesday. Nashville moved to within five points of the third-place St. Louis Blues in the Central Division.

Smith has skated on a line with Ribeiro and Filip Forsberg, who assisted on Smith's second goal, that has had success during the streak. Along with Ribeiro and Smith's offensive production, Forsberg has 14 goals and eight assists in his past 15 games.

"I think the past month-and-a-half, two months, everybody has settled into where they're going to be, and that only creates chemistry," said Smith, who has a five-game point streak (five goals, eight assists). "That only helps in games where you need goals, can rely on each other and be predictable."

Video: NSH@WPG: Johansen buries Wilson's feed for PPG

Winnipeg (27-34-5) lost for the fifth time in its past six games. The Jets finished a five-game homestand 1-3-1 and have gone 3-12-1 in their past 15 home games.

Drew Stafford scored in the first period, his first goal in 12 games, and Ondrej Pavelec made 27 saves for the Jets.

Winnipeg took a 1-0 lead 7:28 into the game when Stafford shoved a loose puck past Rinne for his 17th goal of the season and his first since Feb. 6.

Nashville took the lead on two goals 11 seconds apart in the final minute of the first. Until that point, the Predators had four shots on goal.

Video: NSH@WPG: Trouba snaps the puck past Rinne

Smith tapped in a pass from Viktor Arvidsson, tying the game on his 17th goal of the season at 19:19. On the following shift, Sissons bounced a shot off Winnipeg defenseman Ben Chiarot's skate past Pavelec for his second goal of the season at 19:30.

"We were kind of on our heels a little bit and behind the eight-ball a little bit, especially in a tough building," Sissons said. "It was huge to get those two goals."

The Predators adjusted late in the first and played more efficiently as the game went on.

"Whether it's ugly or not, I don't think anybody is worried about that," Smith said. "You just want to get better as the game goes on, have speed. There are going to be ups and downs."

Video: NSH@WPG: Smith, Sissons score 11 seconds apart

With 6:07 left in the second period, Predators forward Austin Watson received a match penalty for a hit to Jets forward Marko Dano's head. Winnipeg's subsequent power play could not produce a goal nor a shot.

"That was huge," said Predators defenseman Roman Josi, who had 28:43 of ice time, second-most on the team. "That gave us a lot of momentum."

Johansen increased the lead to 3-1, snapping a cross-ice pass from Wilson just as a power play ended at 8:54 of the third. The goal was Johansen's 11th of the season.

Nashville's ability to seize momentum at different points proved to be the difference, according to Jets coach Paul Maurice.

Video: NSH@WPG: Rinne robs Stafford's rebound opportunity

"Not getting out of the first period, I think [was the difference], in relation to how well the period had been played to be down 2-1, the five-minute power play and [a third-period penalty to defenseman Tyler Myers before Johansen's goal]," Maurice said.

Stafford knows the Jets should have taken advantage of their opportunities.

"We had our chances," Stafford said. "If we can get one on [the five-minute power play], we can swing the momentum our way. If they kill it off like they did, it usually goes their way, and that's a big turning point in the game."

Video: Smith, Predators edge Jets, 4-2

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