May 11 (UPI) — The Winnipeg Jets beat the Nashville Predators 5-1 in Game 7 of their Stanley Cup playoff series to advance to the Western Conference finals.
Winnipeg wrapped up the 4-3 series win Thursday at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.
“I think as you get later in your career you just got to enjoy these moments,” Jets center Paul Stastny told reporters. “You are going to have some guys that get nervous out there and that’s fine. But it’s our job as older guys, veteran guys, to go out there and try to be loose and make everyone comfortable.”
Tyler Myers was the first player to light the lamp. The Jets defenseman skated on the boards to the right of the Jets’ net in the first period. He took a handoff from Nikolaj Ehlers before skating toward the net. Myers then fired a shot from an impossible angle, sliding the puck just past Pekka Rinne’s right skate blade and into the net 11:19 into the contest.
Stastny added another score 2:06 later to increase the lead to 2-0 in the frame. Brandon Tanev fired a pass up the left flank on the play. Stastny brought in the puck behind the Predators’ goal. He then fired a shot, but it was denied by Rinne. Stastny got back the rebounds and chipped Rinne’s right skate for the score.
Rinne was then pulled out of the game and swapped for Juuse Saros.
The Predators cut into the Jets’ lead while on a power play. Center Ryan Johansen skated up the boards on the right and passed back to defenseman P.K. Subban. The Predators defenseman then shot a one-timer from beyond the circles, beating Jets net minder Connor Hellebuyck stick-side with 4:06 remaining in the opening frame.
But that was the end of the Predators’ scoring threat.
Mark Scheifele added his 10th goal of the Stanley Cup playoffs 17:50 into the second period. Stastny netted his second score of the game 11:59 into the third frame, five-holing Saros off of a rebound.
Scheifele added his second score of the night with 2:33 remaining, finding the empty net after a 2-on-1 breakaway with Kyle Connor.
“There is always a belief in there that we are going to score goals and come back,” Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. “That didn’t happen.”
The Jets host Game 1 of the Western Conference finals against the Vegas Golden Knights at 7 p.m. Saturday at Bells MTS Place in Winnipeg, Manitoba.