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game recap

Hellebuyck helps Jets extend Central lead with win against Predators

Makes 37 saves, Lemieux scores twice in Winnipeg's fourth straight victory

by Robby Stanley / NHL.com Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- The Winnipeg Jets extended their winning streak to four games with a 5-1 win against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday.

Brendan Lemieux scored twice, and Connor Hellebuyck made 37 saves for the Jets (31-14-2), who extended their Central Division lead over the Predators to four points.

"Like I said in between periods, I was excited to play against these guys," Lemieux said. "It kind of has that old-time hockey feel to it. There's some passion in the game. There's a long season and a lot of games, and some games don't have that, and this was one of those games that you circle on the calendar and you know is going to be a fun one."

 

[WATCH: All Jets vs. Predators highlights]

 

Viktor Arvidsson scored his sixth goal in his past five games for the Predators (28-17-4), who have one win in their past four.

"I mean, it was a big game for us," Predators captain Roman Josi said. "We play Winnipeg and they're in front of us. I actually thought the first period was good, it was back and forth. But after that we were just flat, couldn't get anything going. They were just the better team for two periods there."

Lemieux gave the Jets a 1-0 lead at 10:09 of the first period on a wraparound. Lemieux eluded Predators defensemen P.K. Subban and Roman Josi.

"The puck took an unfortunate bounce for them, a fortunate bounce for us," Lemieux said. "It came to my stick and I had a little bit of speed. A fake shot and I saw [Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne] bite pretty hard. I thought I was going to take it a little wide and maybe shoot it from a bad angle, but he was pretty far out so I just said, 'I'll try the wrap.' And I got it to go."

Video: WPG@NSH: Lemieux wraps it home just inside the post

Mason Appleton gave the Jets a 2-0 lead at 3:36 of the first. Joe Morrow delivered a cross-ice pass to the slot, and Appleton one-timed it for his second goal.

Arvidsson made it 2-1 at 11:57 of the second period. Ryan Ellis got to a loose puck and shot, and Arvidsson scored on the rebound.

Bryan Little gave the Jets a 3-1 lead with 46 seconds remaining in the period. He batted a puck out of midair on the rebound of a shot by Patrik Laine.

"We've played them so many times and played in this building so many times, we're kind of prepared for what's about to come," Little said. "Believe me, I've been on a team when we didn't have success here, when we had some rough nights here. It's good to finally be able to come here with that confidence."

Video: WPG@NSH: Little cashes in on rebound in front

Brandon Tanev gave the Jets a 4-1 lead at 1:54 of the third period on a redirection of a shot from Sami Niku.

"I thought our details were right," Hellebuyck said. "We were working them hard through the offensive zone. We were kind of controlling the game. Anytime you can control the flow, I think it's huge, especially at this level."

Lemieux made it 5-1 with 4:22 left with a shot that bounced off Predators defenseman Yannick Weber. It was his fifth goal of the season.

 
They said it

"It was kind of a mixture of things. I thought we came out the right way. We've played here enough to know that they come out really hard and really strong off the bat, so I thought we had a pretty good first period. We got a couple goals from Lemieux, big goals, and Hellebuyck made big saves when we needed him to." -- Jets forward Bryan Little

 

"I think we couldn't get any pressure going, especially in the second. They kept coming back at us, kept playing in our zone and we didn't have much. Even in the third, we couldn't really get any pressure going and they quick-upped a lot of pucks and kind of caught us." - Predators captain Roman Josi

 
Need to know

Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice passed Lindy Ruff for sixth in NHL history with 1,494 games coached. Maurice is 679-603-113 with 99 ties. ... Predators forward Ryan Johansen had his six-game point streak end.

 
What's next

Jets: At the Dallas Stars on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; SN360, SNW, SNP, FS-SW+, NHL.TV)

Predators: Host the Florida Panthers on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; FS-TN, FS-F, NHL.TV)

Video: Lemieux's two goals help Jets take down Predators

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