We are four games into this seven-match series and it is hard to split these two Central Division rivals. The Winnipeg Jets and Nashville Predators have traded blows consistently this year and now it is crunch time. Can the Canadian side prosper in their Stanley Cup bid? Only time will tell. For the time being, Paul Maurice’s men will be focused solely on getting past Nashville.
The Predators bounced back with a hard-fought road win on Sunday night; tying the series up at 2-2. The NHL playoffs are notoriously difficult to predict and the competitive nature of ice hockey’s elite tournament is helping to keep fans hooked on the action. Fans from all over the United States and Canada will be keeping a close eye on the outcome of this one – check out our thoughts on Game Five below…
Jets Stutter On Home Ice
Winnipeg missed a glaring opportunity to build momentum in their most recent encounter; a victory over Nashville at MTS Centre would have seen the Jets take a 3-1 lead in the series and momentum would have swung completely towards the Canadian side. As it is, Nashville travelled north of the border and did a job on Maurice’s men; the Predators were value for their 2-1 win.
At the time of writing, the Jets are valued at 11/2 to win the Stanley Cup with bet365 and it would take a brave man to back against Winnipeg on current form. Winning the National Hockey League’s most prestigious accolade is the ultimate objective and it would be foolish to write them off. A first Stanley Cup success for the franchise beckons if Winnipeg can hold it together.
KEY MAN: Mark Scheifele. Blake Wheeler was Winnipeg’s main man throughout the regular season but there is a new hero in town. Scheifele currently leads the Jets with 12 points in nine playoff appearances and he will take some stopping in this contest.
With eight postseason goals, Scheifele has developed into the man for the big occasion. Jets fans will be hoping that he can maintain his current form throughout the rest of the series; that might be enough to see Winnipeg advance to the next round.
Predators Ready To Pounce
Nashville are poised to compete for the Stanley Cup title once again and it is difficult to pick holes in this Predators side. Arguably the most well-rounded team in the NHL, Nashville are a 7/2 chance with 888sport to win ice hockey’s ultimate prize this year. Another victory here would give them a great chance of advancing to the next round.
Ryan Hartman was instrumental for the Predators; he was involved in both goals and made a vital defensive stop late on in the third period to keep Winnipeg at bay. Defensively, you’d be hard pressed to find a team better equipped than Nashville. And as the old adage goes, defence wins championships…
KEY MAN: Pekka Rinne. The onus will be on goaltender Pinne to emulate Sunday’s immense individual effort. He saved 32 shots during that road win and punters will fancy Nashville to secure back-to-back wins if Pinne is on top form.
This is going to be another tight battle. NHL fans will be looking forward to another intense contest and Winnipeg might just about edge it. The Predators have the talent to go all the way but backing against the Canadian outfit here would be foolish. They rarely lose two in a row; especially on home ice. The Jets are well placed to get back to winning ways.
JETS 3-2 PREDATORS