The Jets lost for the first time on home ice since February 27th, also against the Predators.
With Nashville's win the series is now a best-of-three affair with the Predators having home ice advantage. A patient Predators team waited for their scoring chances on the night and didn't score their first marker until there was 2:40 remaining in the opening period as Ryan Hartman capitalized on a turnover and snapped a high wrister past Jets goaltender Connor Hellebucyk.
The disc deflected of the shin pad of Jet centre Andrew Copp and ended up right on Hartman's stick.
The Predators 4th liner made no mistake and put his club up 1-0 to score his 2nd of the playoffs.
P.K. Subban scored the other Predators goal on a second period power play with 5:24 remaining, blasting a slapshot off a Filip Forsberg feed past Hellebuyck who was partially screened on the play.
Subban hit Forsberg with a quick pass by the right faceoff circle which Forsberg sent right back to a waiting Subban, who one-timed a slapshot past the Winnipeg goaltender.
The goal was his 3rd of the post-season.
“I think the biggest thing is we had full commitment through our lineup to play defence. In our zone when bounces didn't go our way, we worked the puck out of the zone. We got in the neutral zone, we got pucks deep, we forechecked when we needed to and we paid attention to the details," he said. “I think last game, the details are kind of what cost us. This game, we paid attention to all of them for a full 60 (minutes)," said Subban.
Nashville was content to block the centre of the ice and force Winnipeg's forwards to the outside and the Jets were unable to mount an attack as there was virtually no forecheck in the third period.
Winnipeg remained out of synch offensively and did not register their first shot on goal in the third period until the 12 minute mark.
"They had five guys behind the red line and we were a little stubborn. Didn’t want to make them turnaround and bring the puck out. So that would be the credit you’d give them. They pounced on a loose puck and we chased the game. Just kinda didn’t want to do the easy thing to make them turnaround," said Jets captain Blake Wheeler of Nashville's strategy.
Patrik Laine finally broke through for the Jets with 50 seconds remaining in regulation, converting a Paul Stastny feed past Rinne to make it 2-1.
The goal was his 3rd of the playoffs.
Jets winger Bryan Little said they knew Nashville was going to respond after getting blown out Tuesday night
"This was a big game and we knew they were going to give us their best. They're a good team over there and they came out and played a good game, really good defensive game and gave us some trouble tonight. It's back to the drawing board in Nashville," he said.
Jets Head Coach Paul Maurice said the score altered the game plan.
"You can't play our game (speed and puck movement) unless you move the puck better than we did. I would not agree if the theory is we played our game as well as we can and they (Nashville) played their game, a new style of game and it just doesn't match and we should go home and change everything." Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette said he could tell his club was ready for Thursday's game.
"I really liked the pre-game skate," he said. "I mean the fact that we were out there because we didn't practice yesterday so we got it going. Get our bodies moving a little bit," he said. "You could just tell in the meetings. You could tell in the skate that it was just sharp and they were on point. They were just ready to play," he added.
Game 5 goes Saturday night in Nashville.
SHOTS-NASHVILLE 29 WINNIPEG 33