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National Hockey League
Winnipeg 5, Nashville 0
When: 7:00 PM ET, Saturday, March 23, 2019
Where: Bell MTS Place, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Referees: Trevor Hanson, Justin St. Pierre
Linesmen: David Brisebois, Ryan Galloway
Attendance: 15321

Kyle Connor recorded his first career hat trick, Kevin Hayes tallied four points, Connor Hellebuyck made 33 saves and the Winnipeg Jets notched a 5-0 shutout over the visiting Nashville Predators on Saturday.

The victory clinched a postseason berth for Winnipeg, which is in the Stanley Cup playoffs for just the fourth time in the 19-season history of the Thrashers/Jets franchise. Winnipeg (45-26-4, 94 points) also extended its Central Division lead over Nashville to four points as the Jets chase their first-ever division title.

Nashville (42-28-6, 90 points) has lost two in a row and missed a chance to clinch its own playoff spot.

Hellebuyck now has shutouts in consecutive starts. He improved to 4-0-0 with a .959 save percentage over his last five appearances.

A pregame line shuffle saw Patrik Laine join Hayes and Connor on the second line, which proved to be a canny move as the linemates combined for nine points.

Hayes recorded a goal and three assists for the first four-point game of his NHL career. Laine was perhaps unlucky to notch just one assist, as he hit the post twice in the first period.

The Predators thought they had the game's first goal on a long shot from Mattias Ekholm 3:10 into the second period. A video review disallowed the score, however, due to a high stick from Calle Jarnkrok.

The rest of the second period belonged to the Jets, who scored three times and outshot Nashville 19-9.

Connor scored the opening goal in impressive fashion 4:42 into the period. The forward made a tremendous move to evade P.K. Subban in Nashville's zone before backhanding a shot past Pekka Rinne.

An unusual second-chance effort from Andrew Copp extended Winnipeg's lead at 14:16. Copp missed an open net during a two-on-one rush, but recovered the puck as it bounced into the corner. Copp then shot toward goal, where the puck deflected off Rinne and into the net as the goalie was getting back to his feet.

Rinne was often spectacular in stopping 38 of 43 Winnipeg shots, though he caught some tough breaks on both Copp's goal and Hayes' score 15:41 into the second period. Hayes fired a shot from beneath the near circle that squeezed between Rinne and the post.

Connor's final two goals came late in the third period. The forward now has 32 goals and 61 points for the season, setting new career highs for the third-year player.

--Field Level Media

Top Game Performances
Nashville   Winnipeg
N/A Points Kyle Connor 4
N/A Goals Kyle Connor 3
N/A Assists Kevin Hayes 3
N/A Power Play Goals N/A
N/A Short Handed Goals N/A
Pekka Rinne .884 Save Percentage Connor Hellebuyck 1.000
Pekka Rinne 38 Saves Connor Hellebuyck 33
Team Stats Summary
Team Shots Goals Power Play Penalty Kill Penalty Mins Face Offs Won
Nashville 33 0 0-0 2-2 4 20
Winnipeg 43 5 0-2 0-0 0 30
Upcoming Games
  • Winnipeg will play their next game at home against Dallas. The Jets have a W/L % of .523 after a win and .710 after a loss.
  • Nashville will play their next game on the road against Minnesota. The Predators have a W/L % of .581 after a win and .515 after a loss.