Hopes that the Nashville Predators will make a repeat appearance in the NHL’s Stanley Cup Championship Finals diminished in Bridgestone Arena Saturday night when the visiting Winnipeg Jets easily defeated the home team in Game 5 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals, 6 to 2.
The loss put the Predators one game away from elimination, as Game 6 returns to Winnipeg on Monday, where the Jets have enjoyed a huge home team advantage throughout the regular season and into the playoffs.
Down three games to two, the Predators will have to win the away game in Winnipeg to force a decisive Game 7 back in Nashville.
After a scoreless first period, the Jets jumped to an early lead when Paul Stastny scored at the 7:44 mark of the second period.
The Predators’ Yannick Weber answered to tie the game up at 1 to 1 with an unassisted goal at the 11:08 mark, but the Jets jumped back into the lead barely a minute later when Kyle Connor put the visiting Jets up for good with a goal that made the score Jets 2, Predators 1.
It was all down hill for the Predators after that.
Conor scored his second goal at the 17:01 mark of the second period to put the Jets up 4 to 1.
Less than a minute later, the Predators’ Ryan Johansen scored an unassisted goal to narrow the gap to 4 to 2, but the Jets scored two unanswered goals in the third period to seal the victory and bring the final score to Jets 6, Predators 2.