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Round 2

Stastny comes up big for Jets against Predators in Game 7

Has two goals, assist for Winnipeg, which advanced to Western Final

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

NASHVILLE -- The list of players in the Stastny family to score game-winning goals in a Game 7 grew by one on Thursday.

Paul Stastny had three points (two goals, one assist), including the eventual winner in the first period, for the Winnipeg Jets in a 5-1 win against the Nashville Predators in Game 7 of the Western Conference Second Round at Bridgestone Arena.

The Jets will host the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVAS).

His father, Peter, scored the overtime winner to give the Quebec Nordiques a 3-2 win against the Montreal Canadiens in Game 7 of the 1985 Adams Division Final.

 

[RELATED: Jets add to franchise milestones with Game 7 victory Complete Predators vs. Jets series coverage]

 

"His was probably against Montreal, wasn't it?" Stastny said. "In Montreal? In Game 7? It was probably different because it was a big rival and they kept losing to Montreal. And it might have been OT."

He laughed about his vivid memory of the goal, even though he was born later that year on Dec. 27.

"Not that I know my dad's goals, but I know that one - rebound off a draw," he said. "He still talks about winning that draw."

In Winnipeg, there has been much talk about Stastny's contributions to the Jets.

He has 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in 12 games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and had 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in 19 games in the regular season after being acquired by the Jets in a trade with the St. Louis Blues for a 2018 first-round pick, a conditional fourth-round pick 2020 and forward prospect Erik Foley on Feb. 26.

In Game 7 against Nashville, the 32-year-old forward showed the poise and skill that made him such a valuable addition.

Video: The guys discuss Paul Stastny's career Game 7 stats

After retrieving a dump-in, Stastny scored with a backhand on his own rebound at the left post at 10:47 of the first period to give the Jets a 2-0 lead. Following the goal, Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne was pulled for Juuse Saros.

Stastny scored his second at 11:59 of the third period on the power play, beating Saros five-hole from in front on a rebound to make it 4-1.

"I'm comfortable in these games," said Stastny, who has eight points (four goals, four assists) in four career Game 7's. "I'd rather have it on my stick because maybe some of the guys who are younger in this situation just get a little nervous. But I think after a couple of shifts, our line, whether it was myself or [Laine] or [Nikolaj] Ehlers, it was just off, missing by half and inch and a matter of us squeezing too tight.

"What happens in games like these, sometimes you try to move the puck too quick and then you think you have less time than you actually do. As you get later in your career, you've just got to enjoy these moments. You're going to have some guys that get nervous out there and that's fine. It's our job, older guys, veteran guys, to go out there and try to be loose and try to make everyone comfortable."

The Jets continue to rave about Stastny's contributions both on and off the ice.

Video: WPG@NSH, Gm7: Stastny pads lead with his second

"He's been awesome for us ever since he came in," forward Mark Scheifele said. "First and foremost, it's just how good of a guy he is. He's a true professional, he takes care of his body, he does everything in his power to get his rest and help this team. A lot of young guys can learn from him."

For Coach Paul Maurice, Stastny has done everything and more that the Jets expected following the trade.

"The first word would be 'hoped.' ... and 'are ecstatic about' would be (next)," Maurice said. "He's produced big numbers and big plus-minus (plus-9 in the playoffs) with two very young players on his wings, and played against good lines. His hockey sense is just off the charts."

While Stastny has contributed to the Jets' depth and leadership, for him, it all starts with Maurice.

Video: WPG@NSH, Gm7: Stastny on his two goals, facing Vegas

"I think [Maurice] does a good job relaying the message," Stastny said. "He simplifies it all the time. After a loss, after a win, I've been impressed with the way he comes at us the next day.

"A lot of times, me and [captain Blake Wheeler] will drive together and we try to have this idea of what want to tell the players and Paul delivers it in a better way. There were times (in this series) we'd win a game and think we're going on to the next round and then we'd lose a game at home and thought it was the end of the world. So having those two days and having a good message from Paul kind of set everything in stone and having guys like [Wheeler] and [Dustin Byfuglien] and [Scheifele], the way they play and lead, I think everyone follows."

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