NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Kevin Fiala scored 5:37 into double overtime, and the Nashville Predators beat the Winnipeg Jets 5-4 on Sunday night in Game 2 to even the Western Conference semifinal series.
The Presidents’ Trophy winners had the NHL’s best road record during the regular season, but the Predators got the split they needed before this series switches to Winnipeg for Game 3 on Tuesday night. That’s where the Jets posted the league’s best home record.
Craig Smith and Fiala skated up on a 2-on-1, and Jets defenseman Byflugien failed to block Smith’s cross-ice pass to Fiala who beat goalie Connor Hellebuyck with a backhander.
Ryan Johansen scored two goals, Viktor Arvidsson had a goal and two assists, and P.K. Subban had a goal and an assist as Nashville won both its 100th postseason game as a franchise and coach Peter Laviolette’s 50th with the team. Filip Forsberg also had three primary assists for the first time in the postseason in his career.
Mark Scheifele scored two goals and had an assist. Byflugien had a goal and an assist, and Brandon Tanev had a goal for Winnipeg.
Tanev tied it at 3, putting the puck past Pekka Rinne’s right skate at 5:11 of the third. Johansen answered 34 seconds later, skating around Jets defenseman Toby Enstrom and beating Hellebuyck top shelf.
But Scheifele forced overtime with his fourth goal in this series and eighth this postseason with 1:05 left in regulation and Hellebuyck pulled for the extra attacker.
The Predators brought star Carrie Underwood in for the U.S. anthem as a “proud hockey wife” of Nashville center Mike Fisher, and Marcus Mariota brought the NFL’s Tennessee Titans offensive linemen to wave the rally towels. Pro Bowl left tackle Taylor Lewan held up a huge catfish before they chugged beers – Lewan using the catfish as a funnel.
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