Jets rip Predators with Drew Stafford power play goals
Winnipeg avenges 7-0 November loss as Hellebuyck sparkles in goal
Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice knew right away that it was going to be tough to beat his rookie goalie Connor Hellebuyck.
Hellebuyck made 43 saves and Drew Stafford scored a pair of power-play goals to lead the Jets to a 4-1 win over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night.
"It looked like he saw everything and he moves so efficiently in the net," Maurice said. "You had that feeling early on that it was going to have to be something unusual to beat him."
Ben Chiarot and Alexander Burmistrov also scored and for Winnipeg.
Colin Wilson had the lone goal for Nashville, which has lost three of four. The last time the teams met in Nashville (in November), the Predators devoured the Jets, 7-0.
"That was a fun one," Hellebuyck said. "It was a fun one because I could tell pucks were hitting me and you kind of enjoy that."
Hellebuyck turned aside 17 shots in the first, 12 in the second and 14 in the third. The 44 shots against were the most he has faced in a game.
"We couldn't get the puck to drop tonight," Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. "Their goalie played well. We hit the post a couple of times. There are probably a few chances we would have liked to have back. Overall, we have to capitalize on the chances we're getting."
Winnipeg scored the only goal of the first, when Stafford connected on the power play at 10:43.
Tyler Myers carried the puck into the Nashville zone on the left side. From below the goal line, he sent a backhand pass in front to Stafford, where he beat Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne between the pads on a redirection.
"That's a great play by Tyler just driving it wide," Stafford said. "Just go to the net with your stick on the ice, and I was able to sneak one by. I was just trying to get good wood on it. I wasn't trying to put it anywhere specific."
Video confirms opening goal
Laviolette challenged the call, thinking the play was offside. Video review confirmed the call on the ice, as Nikolaj Ehlers kept his toe on the line when Myers brought the puck into the zone.
Stafford scored his second of the night at 8:42 of the second, again on the power play.
With Stafford positioned in front of Rinne, Toby Enstrom sent a slap shot from the left point toward the Nashville net. Stafford extended his stick just below the height of the crossbar and tipped in his 14th of the season with a deft deflection.
Rinne finished with 14 saves.
Chiarot made it 3-0 at 5:05 of the third with a wrist shot from the left side. The goal was Chiarot's first of the season.
Wilson got Nashville on the scoreboard at 13:23 of the third.
"I still think we could have done a better job of getting in front of the goaltender," Wilson said. "I don't know, just not good bounces, but we have to find a way to score in those games."
Burmistrov added an empty-net goal in the game's final minute.