NASHVILLE — Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers scored, Connor Hellebuyck made 38 saves and the Winnipeg Jets defeated the Nashville Predators 2-1 on Tuesday night.
The teams are heading in opposite directions in the tough Central Division. Winnipeg has won three in a row and five of six. The reeling Predators have lost five straight and seven of eight.
Hellebuyck made 10 saves in the first period, 12 in the second and 16 in the third.
The Jets didn’t waste any time getting on the board, as Laine scored just 18 seconds into the opening period. He carried the puck into the Nashville zone, passed to Kyle Connor on his left side and continued driving toward the net. Connor lifted a pass over the stick of Predators defenceman Ryan Ellis that landed right on the tape of Laine’s stick, and Laine directed the puck over the left pad of goalie Juuse Saros.
Laine had scored only one goal in his previous 14 games.
Ehlers made it 2-0 at 3:37 of the second. From the right half boards, Jack Roslovic found Ehlers with a pass in the high slot. He used Predators defenceman Dan Hamhuis as a screen and fired a wrist shot by Saros on the far side.
Bonino halved the Winnipeg lead at 18:11 of the second.
Rocco Grimaldi sent a pass from the left side of the goal line to Bonino on the other side of the Winnipeg net, and he beat Hellebuyck with a quick wrist shot for his ninth goal of the season, tying him with Filip Forsberg for the team lead.
Saros finished with 23 saves.
Predators RW Mathieu Olivier made his NHL debut. … Nashville D Steven Santini, acquired in the off-season trade that sent P.K. Subban to the New Jersey Devils, played his first game with the Predators. … Nashville C Kyle Turris was a healthy scratch. … Connor played his 200th career game and Winnipeg C Mathieu Perreault played his 600th. … The Jets are 4-1-0 against Central Division teams this season.
Jets: Visit the Dallas Stars on Thursday.
Predators: Host the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday.
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Jim Diamond, The Associated Press