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Apr 9, 2024 11:07 pm

Predators fall in OT to Jets, earn playoff spot anyway

Jets, Predators

The Nashville Predators lost a 4-3 overtime decision to the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday yet celebrated anyway by earning a spot in the playoffs.

Nashville only needed a point to land a playoff spot and got it with a two-goal rally in the third period to force a tie in regulation.

Mark Scheifele had a goal and two assists for Winnipeg. Gabriel Vilardi, Dylan DeMelo and Kyle Connor also tallied, with Connor scoring the game winner at 1:52 of overtime. Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck made 45 saves.

Spencer Stastney and Ryan O’Reilly each scored key third-period goals for the Predators, while Tommy Novak also scored a goal. Keifer Sherwood and Roman Josi each chipped in two assists. Juuse Saros had 18 saves for the Predators.

Nashville opened the scoring 4:05 into the game. Novak took advantage of a Winnipeg turnover and drove to the net, sliding the puck past Hellebuyck for his 16th of the season.

Winnipeg got on the board at 6:51 of the opening period when quick puck movement found Vilardi near the goal on the power play where he popped the puck into the top corner from between his legs.

The Jets grabbed a 2-1 lead 1:28 later after Tyler Toffoli caused a turnover at the blue line and lifted the puck to Scheifele, who scored on a backhand that beat Saros while on a breakaway.

Winnipeg scored their third consecutive goal at 12:46 of the opening frame. Barron found DeMelo along the board and he moved into the slot to score for a 3-1 lead.

Neither team scored in the second as Hellebuyck frustrated the Predators with 22 saves in the period.

Nashville kept up the pressure and finally was rewarded with 12:26 remaining in the contest. Sherwood won a battle to the puck in Winnipeg’s zone as the seconds ticked off a Jets power play which led to a fortunate bounce off Stastney and into the goal.

The Predators tied it 3-3 at 9:41 of the third period when a backhand pass from Rosi led to O’Reilly’s wrist shot and a decisive goal that would deliver the team’s key point in the standings.

Kyle Connor won it in OT on a two-on-one with Scheifele to score his 32nd of the season.

–Field Level Media

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