Rinne makes 32 saves as Predators stop Jets’ streak, 5-3
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) With a chance to contribute on special teams, Mattias Ekholm is showing just how dangerous he can be for the Nashville Predators.
Kyle Turris, Kevin Fiala and Ryan Johansen each had a goal and an assist to lead the Predators past the Winnipeg Jets 5-3 on Monday night.
Ekholm and Nick Bonino also scored, and P.K. Subban, Viktor Arvidsson and Roman Josi added two assists apiece as Nashville won for the seventh time in eight games. Pekka Rinne made 32 saves.
Ekholm has scored in four straight games, extending the best streak of his career and establishing a Nashville record for goals in consecutive games by a defenseman. Three of them have come on the power play, and the other short-handed.
”I think what we’re seeing is he’s got a really good shot from the point right now,” Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. ”He’s getting some power-play time and he’s really bringing the hammer.”
Mathieu Perreault scored twice and Tyler Myers had a goal and an assist for the Jets, who had won four straight.
Fiala scored the game’s first goal at 3:31 of the opening period.
On a delayed penalty to Winnipeg, Fiala came on as the extra attacker. Subban faked a slap shot from the left point before sending a pass to Fiala in the lower part of the right faceoff circle. From there, he beat goalie Connor Hellebuyck between the pads with a spinning backhand.
Perreault tied it at 6:23 of the first.
With the Jets on a power play, Myers’ slap shot from the center of the blue line hit Perreault standing just outside the crease, and the puck sailed over Rinne’s left shoulder.
Nashville used a three-goal second period to break the game open.
”We got in the box – that’s a problem for us,” Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said. ”We had some self-inflicted wounds on the penalty kill, things that we didn’t need to chase or turnovers that we can’t have.”
Johansen made it 2-1 just 26 seconds into the second with a wrist shot from the slot just underneath the crossbar.
After not scoring in the first 17 games of the season, Johansen has a goal in two of his last three. The goal was his 300th NHL point.
”I needed one for sure to get me going, so hopefully that can continue,” he said.
Turris scored a power-play goal at 11:32 of the second with a slap shot from the left faceoff circle set up by a nice pass from Josi.
”They just took over,” Jets captain Blake Wheeler said. ”A couple of penalties didn’t help our cause. (We) just didn’t do enough little things and they capitalized on their opportunities.”
Nashville struck again on the power play at 19:02 of the second when Ekholm beat Hellebuyck with a slap shot from the high slot.
”I play on a really good power-play unit,” Ekholm said. ”I think the power play has been a huge factor in these wins and it is going to continue to do that. We have two good units and that feels really good.”
Bonino scored at 9:16 of the third and Myers followed 1:23 later. Perreault scored his second of the night at 16:04.
NOTES: Hellebuyck made 24 saves. … Nashville C Austin Watson served the first of a two-game suspension as a result of a boarding call during Saturday night’s game against Colorado. … Johansen has 20 points in 15 career games against Winnipeg. … The Jets fell to 4-1-0 against Central Division opponents. … Winnipeg RW Patrik Laine’s eight-game point streak ended.
Jets: At the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday.
Predators: Host the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday.
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