Hartman scores winner in Predators debut in 6-5 victory over Jets - InfoNews

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Hartman scores winner in Predators debut in 6-5 victory over Jets

Nashville Predators' Ryan Hartman (38) scores the game winning goal on Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (37) during third period NHL hockey action in Winnipeg, Tuesday, February 27, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Trevor Hagan
February 27, 2018 - 9:36 PM

WINNIPEG - Roman Josi had Tuesday's game against the Winnipeg Jets circled on his calendar.

The Nashville defenceman helped ensure the day ended on a high note, contributing five assists as the Predators beat their NHL Central Division rivals 6-5.

"We knew before the game it's a huge game," Josi said. "We marked it as probably the most important game up to this point in the season... We know how well they're playing this year and how good of a team they are.

"It was a great test for us and for sure it was definitely an important game."

The Predators (39-14-9) padded their division lead to four points over the Jets (37-17-9) and play the second game of a four-game road trip in Edmonton Thursday.

Craig Smith struck twice and Ryan Hartman redirected in the late winner in his Predators debut. Kyle Turris, Mattias Ekholm and Ryan Johansen also scored to give Nashville its fifth straight win.

Acquired in a trade with Chicago at Monday's deadline, Hartman gave the Predators their first lead of the game with 1:00 left in the third period when he redirected a shot from Josi past netminder Connor Hellebuyck.

Josi extended his point streak to five games with one goal and 11 assists. Viktor Arvidsson had a pair of helpers.

"I didn't really have to do much for it you know," Hartman said of his ninth goal of the season. "(Josi) put that right on my tape."

Josi praised Hartman for his all-round effort.

"I thought even before he scored that goal he was really good," Josi said. "He was hard on the forecheck. He made a lot of good plays, had a lot of shots. I thought he played great and obviously he topped it off with the game winner."

Hartman gave back the praise.

"The positivity in this room, even though you're down a goal, down two goals, the guys know there's enough tools in here to score plenty of goals and win at any given time," Hartman said.

Mark Scheifele scored twice and new Winnipeg forward Paul Stastny contributed a goal and one assist. Matt Hendricks and Nikolaj Ehlers also had goals. Ehlers added one assist and Patrik Laine had two helpers.

Stastny was acquired in a trade Monday with St. Louis, while Jets defenceman Joe Morrow came over from Montreal. Morrow was on the ice after veteran Toby Enstrom was scratched.

Pekka Rinne stopped 34 shots for the Predators, taking him to 14-1-1 in his last 16 starts. Hellebuyck made 26 saves.

After a scoreless first period, the teams combined for seven goals in the second, with five goals in just under a five-minute span. Ehlers scored his 25th of the season at 17:39 to give the Jets the 4-3 lead.

Blake Wheeler assisted on Scheifele's second goal, extending his point streak to a team-high nine games with four goals and 11 assists.

Stastny then gave Winnipeg a 5-3 lead at 10:00 of the third.

"It was good to get it out of the way," the veteran said of his 13th of the season and first with his new club. "This afternoon I didn't sleep a wink. I was just more anxious, nerves and excitement."

Scheifele said Stastny, who won 14 of 19 faceoffs, was solid.

"He's a cagey guy," Scheifele said. "He knows the areas to go to to create offence and in the (defensive) zone the areas to be."

The way the battle ended didn't surprise Jets coach Paul Maurice.

"It was last shot wins," Maurice said. "I don't think they got anymore quality offence in the third."

Laine picked up assists on Stastny and Ehlers' goals, moving his point streak to six games.

Winnipeg hosts Detroit on Friday.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2018
The Canadian Press

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