Clarksville, Tn — The Nashville Predators defeated their closest rivals in the Central Division of the Western Conference, the Winnipeg Jets, 3-1 at the sold-out Bridgestone Arena in Nashville tonight.
The Predators chased starting Winnipeg goalie, Michael Hutchinson just ten minutes into the contest, after scoring three quick goals, two of the shorthanded.
It was reported that Hutchinson was put in concussion protocol for the remainder of the game.
Nashville came out of the gate with all guns firing, literally, placing 20 shots on goal in the first period. The quickest any NHL team has attempted 20 shots in the history of the game.
Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne (35) watches as left wing Austin Watson (51) hits the puck out of the crease during the third period against the Winnipeg Jets at Bridgestone Arena. Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Fiala put the Predators ahead 1-0 at 2:48 of the opening frame, taking a Roman Josi pass and firing a snapshot into goal past Hutchinson. Kyle Turris also assisted on the play.
With Nashville having to fight off a Jets power play, Austin Watson, at 8:15 of the period, grabbed a loose puck and drove the ice to score his 17th goal of the season, and suddenly the Predators were leading, 2-0. Watson was assisted by Ryan Ellis.
Thirty four seconds later, and still a man down, Viktor Arvidsson stole the puck in the Winnipeg defensive end, passing back to Filip Forsberg, who then passed back to Arvidsson. “Arvi” rifled a snapshot top shelf for the score and a quick 3-0 Predators lead.
The two shorthanded goals on the same penalty is a first for the Predators in their history. It would also set a franchise record for the fastest combo of shorthanded goals, smashing a 10 year old mark set in 2008.
That would be the end of the night for Hutchinson. Connor Hellebuyck, who played last night, would finish the game, keeping the Predators off of the scoreboard for the remainder of the game.
As expected, the Jets would come out on fire for the third period. They turned up the offensive heat, controlling the puck for most of the first half of the period.
Kyle Connor would finally put the Jets on the scoreboard at 1:08 of the third, and the score was 3-1. The momentum was shifting and Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne was feeling the pressure, but Rinne would stand tall as always, keeping the Jets scoreless the rest of the game.
These two teams are headed on a collision course in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, expecting to meet in the second round, in a highly anticipated match-up.
With the win tonight, the Predators take over first place in the NHL standings and hit the 100 point mark. This is the sixth time since the club joined the league they’ve hit the century mark.
Nashville will pack their bags and head to the desert, to face the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night.
The puck drops at 9:00pm.
SectionsAnnouncements, Featured Story, Hockey, Nashville Predators, NHL, Professional Teams, Sports, Sports Leagues
TopicsArizona Coyotes, Austin Watson, Bridgestone Arena, Central Division, Christopher Hanewinckel, Clarksville, Connor Hellebuyck, Jets, Kevin Fiala, Kyle Connor, Kyle Turris, Michael Hutchinson, Nashville, Nashville Predators, nashville tennessee, National Hockey League, NHL, Pekka Rinne, Playoffs, Predators, roman josi, ryan ellis, Stanley Cup, stanley cup playoffs, Tennessee, USA Today, Viktor Arvidsson, Western Conference, Winnipeg, Winnipeg Jets