Preds edge Jets 6-5 in thrilling game Featured

Written by  Published in Winnipeg Jets
Winnipeg, Manitoba (NHN)-Newly acquired Ryan Hartman wasn't supposed to be the story on this night in Winnipeg. That title was supposed to be bestowed upon Jets centre Paul Stastny, who debuted with his new team, the Winnipeg Jets on the same night.

Stastny did very well, potting a goal and adding an assist for Winnipeg on a night that had many hockey fans and pundits on the edge of their seats.

But Hartman had the last word on this night, potting the game winner with exactly one minute to go in regulation to send the masses of Winnipeg fans home disappointed as the Nashville Predators edged the Winnipeg Jets 6-5 Tuesday night. Hartman parked himself on one knee in front of the Winnipeg net and put his stick down as a target which Roman Josi hit from the top of the opposite circle to get the game winning tally.

"I didn't really have to do much for it you know. Josi put that right on my tape. You know I saw that seam, obviously he (Josi) saw that seam and I just pretty much put my knee on my stick there to make sure I didn't get lifted under my stick. But he (Josi) put that right on my tape."

Hartman arrived past midnight in Winnipeg from Chicago before viewing video most of the day, skating with his new teammates and having a nap before playing his first game for Nashville, who started their four-game road trip with a win that solidified their hold on first place in the Central Division as they went up four points on the second place Winnipeg Jets with 87 on the season.

"He was awesome. I mean in the first period I thought when we were trying to generate offence, I don't think we were bad but he looked like he knew the system. He looked like he had been playing it forever. Just with regard to the offensive zone and what we were trying to do," said Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette. "It's not an easy thing either. You walk into a locker room and you don't know anybody. He gets in at 12:30 last night, he doesn't know any of the systems. He's gotta sit down. He's got video in front of him all day, he's gotta try and get some rest and then to go out and play the game he did, he was terrific." Roman Josi also had a big night for the Predators with five assists in the game, counting in on five of the six goals the Predators scored on the night.

Though he knew he had five helpers he downplayed his role in the win which is a new Predators record for points in a single game.

"I did. I guess it was one of those nights where everything just goes in. Guess I got lucky tonight," said Josi afterward. "We knew before the game it's a huge game. We marked it as probably the most important game up to this point in the season."

“I thought we showed up. I thought we played really well in the first. I thought they were the better team in the second, but then we showed a lot of character in the third. It's just a huge win and a great way for us to start off the road trip.”

Craig Smith scored twice for Nashville.

Kyle Turris, Mattias Ekholm and Ryan Johansen added singles.

Roman Josi had five assists for Nashville.

Pekka Rinne stopped 35 shots for the Predators, who moved to 39-14-9.

Mark Scheifele fired a pair of goals for Winnipeg, who had their two-game winning streak snapped.

“We know we have a good team, we know we can play with any team in this league. Obviously tonight was a bit of a junky ending, but it’s something we can learn from. When you play against these teams as good as Nashville, there’s no quit in them. They play right to the buzzer. And they showed us that tonight.”

Matt Hendricks and Nikolaj Ehlers fired goals for the Jets, who dropped to 37-17-9.

Newly acquired centre Paul Stastny had a goal and an assist.

Connor Hellebuyck made 26 saves for Winnipeg.

There was no scoring in the first period.

Matt Hendricks got Winnipeg on the board 2:45 into the second period, converting a Joel Armia feed from the side boards past Pekka Rinne, beating the Nashville goaltender with a low shot to make it 1-0.

Craig Smith tied the game at 8:55 hammering a rebound off a Roman Josi shot past Connor Hellebuyck to make it 1-1.

Josi took control of the puck at the blue line before skating in on his off wing and managed to get a shot on goal before Smith, who was waiting wide to the right of the net, pocketed the rebound.

The goal was his 19th of the season.

Mark Scheifele gave the Jets a 2-1 lead at 12:41 after converting a Jack Roslovic pass while driving the net to score his 20th of the season.

With Scott Hartnell off for hooking the Jets took advantage as Mark Scheifele converted a three-way passing play by firing a puck past Rinne, beating him with a low shot to make it 3-1 Jets at 14:23.

The goal was his 21st of the season.

Jets captain Blake Wheeler extended his scoring streak to nine games with the second assist on Scheifele's goal with 4 goals and 11 assists in that span.

Newcomer Paul Stastny also recorded his first point as a Winnipeg Jet by hitting Scheifele with a pass.

The two-goal cushion didn't last long as Kyle Turris pounced on a rebound off a Viktor Arvidsson shot and snapped a wrister past Hellebuyck to make it 3-2.

The goal counted after it was challenged for being offside by Winnipeg.

The challenge proved costly for the Jets as Mattias Ekholm scored on the ensuing power play as Winnipeg was assessed a bench minor for the unsuccessful challenge of the play being offside.

Ekholm took a Calle Jarnkrok feed before moving in from his point position and firing a low wrister past Hellebuyck to tie the game at 3 at 17:06.

The goal was his 9th of the season.

Nikolaj Ehlers restored the Jets lead at 17:39 when he broke in on the right side and unleashed a high wrister from the faceoff dot, beating Rinne high blocker side to make it 4-3 Winnipeg.

The goal was his 25th of the season.

Paul Stastny scored at 10 minutes of the third period from the side of the net, sneaking a puck past Rinne on the short side off a pass from Nikolaj Ehlers to score his first goal as a Winnipeg Jet after being acquired at the trade deadline a day earlier from the St. Louis Blues.

Craig Smith fired his second goal of the night just under a minute later for Nashville as he took a pass from Kyle Turris and beat Hellebucyk with a low shot from inside the left faceoff circle at 10:55.

The goal was his 20th of the season.

Ryan Johansen tied the contest at 13:57, beating Hellebuyck with a blocker side shot after a turnover in the neutral zone.

The goal was his 9th of the season.

Ryan Hartman scored the game winner with a minute left in regulation to make it 6-5 Nashville.

“I don’t think it had anything to do with either of them (teams), said Jets Head Coach Paul Maurice. "It was last shot wins. I don’t think they got anymore quality offence in the third. In the first maybe, we had given up the most, but fairly even. I liked our second, I didn’t think we gave them a whole heck of a lot. We weren’t sitting back in the third.” "You know the response once we went down two goals to get it back right away I thought was really important. That put life back on the bench," said Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette. SHOTS-NASHVILLE 32 WINNIPEG 39

ATTENDANCE-15,294

GAME NOTES-David Poile of the Nashville Predators tied the record for wins by an NHL general manager when the Nashville Predators defeated the Winnipeg Jets 6-5 on Tuesday.

Poile, who has been the GM of the Predators since their inaugural season in 1998-99, won his 1,319th game, tying Glen Sather for the most in NHL history.

Philip Paul-Martin

A well rounded journalist with experience in both print and broadcast mediums, Philip has written news stories with impact, broken national news while at the CBC, anchored radio news and hosted talk show radio. His coverage includes feature writing, game stories and more in-depth pieces during the off-season as well as writing about the National Hockey League and the Winnipeg Jets. He calls Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada home.