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game recap

Jets cruise to Game 5 win against Predators, take series lead

Can advance at home after scoring six on road

by Robby Stanley / NHL.com Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- Kyle Connor scored twice in a four-goal second period, and the Winnipeg Jets defeated the Nashville Predators 6-2 in Game 5 of the Western Conference Second Round at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday.

 

[WATCH: All Jets vs. Predators highlights | Complete Predators vs. Jets series coverage]

 

The Jets lead the best-of-7 series 3-2 and would advance to the Western Conference Final for the first time with a Game 6 win at home Monday.

"Well, 0-0 games, they get tighter and tighter until it breaks," Jets coach Paul Maurice said. "And then when it breaks, you want to make sure that you keep that momentum going. But that's a funny word, and I don't believe in momentum a whole heck of a lot. There's nothing permanent in professional sports. You've got to recapture it every shift. We got a good feeling. At the end of the day I'll say the same thing: We started to skate better."

Paul Stastny gave the Jets a 1-0 lead at 7:44 of the second period. Patrik Laine took a shot from the left face-off circle that banked off Stastny past Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne.

Yannick Weber scored to tie it 1-1 at 11:08 on a wrist shot from the left face-off circle. It was his first goal of the playoffs.

"Every time we made a mistake it ended up in our net," Nashville defenseman P.K. Subban said. "... The fact of the matter is, we had to go to Winnipeg anyway. We're going to go there, we're going to win a game, then we're going to come back here. It's that simple."

Video: WPG@NSH, Gm5: Connor scores second of the game

Connor gave the Jets a 2-1 lead at 12:30. Blake Wheeler shot, and Connor beat Rinne on the rebound for his first Stanley Cup Playoff goal in his 10th game.

"They're really good at home in their starts, so I think we kind of weathered the storm there and we were playing good throughout the first," Connor said. "Just kind of stuck with it and it got faster in the second."

Dustin Byfuglien gave the Jets a 3-1 lead at 14:35 on a slap shot from the point, and Connor made it 4-1 at 17:01 on a shot from the slot. The Jets kept the puck in the offensive zone on a clearing attempt, and Connor one-timed a pass from Wheeler.

"[Connor] has got a ton of confidence in himself," Wheeler said. "He's scored goals his whole life. Good for him. He's a young player used to putting the puck in the net, and when it doesn't happen right away in your first taste of playoff action, it can be tough to stay with it. His confidence hasn't wavered a bit."

Ryan Johansen scored shorthanded to make it 4-2 at 17:59.

"I don't know if we lost our composure, but it felt like for half a second when we weren't 100 percent perfect they capitalized," Johansen said. "And speaking for the guys, I'm sure we were working really hard. Just kind of unlucky. That's how it felt."

Mark Scheifele gave the Jets a 5-2 lead 28 seconds into the third period. Connor dangled around Johansen and fed Scheifele.

"[Connor] has been awesome all year," Scheifele said. "He's been awesome all playoffs. That pass and that move was pretty special, and it shows just how talented a player he is."

Mathieu Perreault made it 6-2 at 6:23 on the power play. He scored in his return to the lineup from an upper-body injury.

Connor Hellebuyck made 38 saves for Winnipeg. Rinne was pulled after allowing six goals on 26 shots.

Video: WPG@NSH, Gm5: Stastny deflects one home in front

 

Goal of the game

Connor's goal at 12:30 of the second period.

Video: WPG@NSH, Gm5: Connor nets own rebound in front

 

Save of the game

Hellebuyck's save on Filip Forsberg at 3:40 of the third period.

Video: WPG@NSH, Gm5: Hellebuyck hugs post to stop Forsberg

 

Highlight of the game

Scheifele's goal 28 seconds into the third period.

Video: WPG@NSH, Gm5: Scheifele finishes Connor's dish

 

They said it

"Well, we have a little bit of experience (in potential close-out games) doing it in the first round against [the Minnesota Wild], a really good team. We're going to have to play our best game of the year. This is a team that doesn't go away. We've played them 10 times now this year and they fight to the very end every single game. We have a ton of respect for how hard they play every night. -- Jets captain Blake Wheeler

 

"We had to go to Winnipeg anyway, right? … The plane was already booked. They're ready to go. There's no group that I'd rather be with to win one hockey game than this group." -- Predators coach Peter Laviolette

 

Video: WPG@NSH, Gm5: Weber beats Hellebuyck glove side

 

Need to know

Connor's three points are the most by a Jets/Atlanta Thrashers rookie in a playoff game. He has six points (two goals, four assists) this postseason. ... Nashville forward Kevin Fiala had four shots on goal and eight shot attempts in 11:56 of ice time after being a healthy scratch in Game 4. ... The Predators are the defending conference champions.

 

What's next

Game 6 of Western Conference Second Round at Bell MTS Place on Monday (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVAS)

 

Video: Hellebuyck, Connor power Jets to 6-2 win in Game 5

 

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