By Scott Billeck – @scottbilleck
Three second period goals courtesy of Eric Nystrom, Patric Hornqvist and Matt Cullen were more than enough for the Nashville Predators to take full points from the ailing Winnipeg Jets on Sunday night.
Nashville, with the 3-1 victory, moved to 5-3 on the season while the Jets sank to 4-5.
The Jets, who were well-rested, posed few challenges for the Predators who won a tough game against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night and got into Winnipeg in the early hours of Sunday morning.
The Jets put 39 pucks on Predators’ back up Carter Hutton, who turned aside all but one of them, an Evander Kane goal in the third period that took a few whacks to make it over the goal line.
“I think the shots would be an illusion,” Noel said on the heels of the loss. “We needed to get secondary shots, that is really the grade that we are looking for getting scoring chances and I didn’t think we created a whole lot.
“We got shots, but we didn’t get a lot of second shots and we certainly didn’t battle hard enough to make the goalie work.”
Nashville, on the other hand, scored three goals on seven shots in the second. While the Predators caught some breaks on the goals, the Jets showed little fight in trying to come back from their misfortunes.
“Once we got behind we got away from our game; trying too do a little to much,” said Jets captain Andrew Ladd. “There is going to be moments that aren’t going to go your way and you got to find ways to get momentum back. Whether it’s through a big penalty kill or a powerplay or just creating excitement through a big shift. We didn’t do a lot of that tonight.”
Jets netminder Ondrej Pavelec faced 26 shots Sunday night and was hardly to blame for any of the three that beat him.
A poor defensive effort again from the Jets led to all three goals, including one that — if this were soccer — would be labelled as an own-goal, hitting Bogosian in the skate and going in past a helpless Pavelec.
The goal, credited to Patric Hornqvist, was the game winner.
“It started with the powerplay, we allow the goal from our powerplay, that is the first thing and it sometimes happens,” said Pavelec. “But we just didn’t play the second period. We have said so many times that if you want to win a game in this league you have to play all 60 minutes and that is what happens if you don’t.”
“It has been the same story all season long.”
He is not lying.
Pavelec said that the Jets shouldn’t have to mount a comeback in the third period every game.
“We can’t just think we are going to come back every game, you have to face the reality,” Pavelec said. “You have to find a way to start winning the games. The way we have played all season long, pretty much, it is not a way that we can be successful.
“We have to change something and we have to change it now.”