Ehlers scores 2, Tanev nets winner as Jets top Predators 6-4

NASHVILLE — Brandon Tanev’s first goal in almost two months came at a perfect time for the Jets.

Tanev snapped a third-period tie with 1:26 left, sending Winnipeg to a 6-4 victory over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night.

Nikolaj Ehlers had two goals and Adam Lowry, Patrik Laine and Blake Wheeler also scored for the Jets. Tyler Myers added three assists and Connor Hellebuyck made 30 saves.

The Jets pulled within one point of the Central Division lead, currently held by Nashville and the St. Louis Blues. The Predators have played two fewer games than both Winnipeg and St. Louis.

Calle Jarnkrok, Kevin Fiala, P.K. Subban and Yannick Weber scored for Nashville, which had won three straight. The Predators are 6-1-1 in December.

With time winding down in the third period, Tanev drove down the left side and beat goalie Pekka Rinne with a wrist shot to the short side. Wheeler added an empty-net goal in the final minute.

“Yes, I came down and I felt he might have thought I was going to go around the net and hit one of our late players,” Tanev said. “I just put the puck to net and it was fortunate to slide through there.”

Tanev last scored on Oct. 27.

Lowry got the game’s first goal at 8:05 of the opening period.

Standing just outside the Nashville crease, he tipped Myers’ wrist shot from the centre of the blue line. Rinne stopped that attempt, but the rebound fell behind him and Lowry tapped the puck in for his sixth goal of the season.

Jarnkrok tied it with 41 seconds remaining in the first.

Mattias Ekholm carried the puck behind the Winnipeg goal and then shot the puck off the back of the net. Winnipeg’s Kyle Connor tried to move the puck to the right boards, but it deflected off Jarnkrok’s stick then Myers’ stick and between the pads of a surprised Hellebuyck.

Fiala’s goal 21 seconds later sent Nashville into the first intermission with a 2-1 lead.

In the right corner, Craig Smith forced a turnover by Jets defenceman Jacob Trouba. Smith quickly slid a pass to Fiala in the right circle, where his wrist shot glanced off Hellebuyck’s right shoulder and into the net.

“I liked the way we started, right to the 19-minute mark, and handled being down a couple times in a hard game,” Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said. “They had their hard push in the first five minutes of that third and we went to even. There was a lot of good in that game. It was a good, grinding — a good, fast game.”

The teams combined for three goals in a span of 1:31 early in the second.

Inside the blue line, Laine slipped by Nashville defenceman Alexei Emelin before driving the slot and beating Rinne with a wrist shot low to the stick side at 6:54.

“There were lots of goals,” Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. “I thought we could have done things better defensively. I thought we were missing the pace a little bit in the first two periods and then picked it up in the third period. For me, that probably was more of it than anything and I thought we could push more in the first two.”

Subban scored on the power play 1:01 later, but Ehlers got his first of the game 30 seconds later when he found a loose puck in the crease and converted.

Ehlers struck again with four minutes left in the second from the left circle when the rebound of Myers’ shot landed on his stick and he banked the puck in off Rinne for his 17th of the season.

“Always feels good scoring,” Ehlers said. “We got the two points. It feels good contributing with two goals, both good plays.”

Weber tied the game at 4 half a minute into the third with a slap shot from the left faceoff dot that beat Hellebuyck on the short side.

“We turned it on in the third a bit,” Weber said. “We showed some character, but I don’t think we would’ve deserved that win.”

NOTES: Rinne finished with 30 saves. … Weber’s goal was his first at home with the Predators and broke a 56-game drought overall. … Nashville has yet to win a game when trailing after two periods this season. . Subban has a four-game point streak. … Winnipeg is 16-1-4 when scoring first this season. … Ehlers has six goals in his last seven games.

UP NEXT

Jets: At the Boston Bruins on Thursday.

Predators: Host the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday.

___

More AP NHL: www.apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey

Jim Diamond, The Associated Press

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