The Winnipeg Jets did what they had to do in Nashville, but came awfully close to taking a stranglehold in this series. The Jets grabbed Game 1 behind a monster performance by goaltender Connor Hellebuyck. Game 2 went to overtime and the puck didn’t end up bouncing their way in that one. The Jets were that close to going back to Winnipeg with an unlikely 2-0 lead in the series, but the Predators’ Kevin Fiala made sure to prevent that from happening. He made no mistake on a clear break towards Hellebuyck who was left guessing. A couple of wins would have been icing on the cake for the Jets, but a 1-1 tie and home-ice advantage the rest of the way was certainly a goal reached in Tennessee.
The Jets return to Winnipeg where they’ve been at their best this season. It isn’t a favourite city for visitors to travel to. It’s often a long flight to a not so desirable location. This time of year isn’t so bad as in the winter, when the temperatures and bone chillingly cold. In any case, this is a business trip for the Preds, an important business trip that they will have to at least get a win from.
Two would of course be nice, but a scrappy Jets team would not make for an easy road to come back down 3-1 from. The Predators have played at the top of the league all season long, so it would be a tough beat if they do not get by this round. Winnipeg isn’t an easy place to play, but the Preds do have a 6-5 win here this season to their credit. Head below to get our free Predators vs. Jets Game 3 pick.
Nashville Predators vs. Winnipeg Jets Game 3 Pick
Unlike Game 1, the Jets peppered the net constantly in Game 2. They grabbed Game 1 despite hitting the net just 19 times. However, the Jets hit Rinne with 50 shots in Game 2. That wasn’t enough, though, as the team who got less shots on net won the first two games of the series. The Jets were 1st in the NHL at home with a record of 32-7-2. One of those losses was against Nashville. Nevertheless, they’ve gone just 1-3 in Winnipeg their last four trips. The Predators are going to have to deal with a raucous crowd in this one. Winnipeg is hungry for a winner and I think it’s going to show in this hostile environment.
The Predators are a good team, but not enough credit is being given to the Jets. Just like the Vegas Golden Knights, who keep defying the odds, have burned some bankrolls this season by fading them. Believers have been cashing in, though, and now they may be on a collision course for the Western Conference Finals. They’ve looked great and the numbers reflect that as well. The only team in the regular season that was better than the Jets offensively were the Lightning. The Jets were 2nd with 3.33 goals per game. They also sported a top-5 defence. Now they find themselves back home where they’re most comfortable. I expect them to go out in Game 3 with a ton of energy on home ice. This should be a good game, just like the rest of this series should be, but I like this atmosphere in Winnipeg to carry the Jets to another win at home.