Predators-Jets, 1st Ld-Writethru,784


The NHL's two best regular-season teams will need a Game 7 to settle their Western Conference semifinal series.

About 21,000 white-clad, excited, but ultimately disappointed Jets fans gathered in downtown Winnipeg Monday night for the latest Whiteout Street Party during Game 6 of the second-round National Hockey League playoff series against Nashville.

BC-HKN-Predators-Jets, 1st Ld-Writethru, 784 Forsberg, Rinne help Predators beat Jets to force Game 7AP Photo JGW210, JGW108, JGW101, JGW103, JGW104, JGW105, JGW107, JGW209Eds: Predators 4, Jets 0.

Winnipeg has created 4.2 takeaways per game over its last five home games, a drop-off from its season average of 7.1 takeaways per game (ranked 16th). "I think our group has responded all year long and not for a second did we think coming into this series we were going to breeze through it". But before we look ahead... let's take a look at last night's game.

Maurice said he didn't believe it was a matter of the Jets being unable to rise to the occasion in Game 6 with a chance to eliminate the Predators. Rinne came up with a big performance in a do-or-die game against Nashville's division rival. If the Preds coach, Peter Laviolette, realizes what's best, he'll continue to have Arvy pressure the net and sneak one in past Jets goalie, Connor Hellebuyck.

Referee Wes McCauley initially waved off the goal that bounced past Hellebuyck for high-sticking, but it was determined after video review that Arvidsson's stick was below the crossbar on the tip.

That was not the only impressive goal the Predators winger scored in the contest. But the failure to connect on the first power play, the second power play and the third power play - three separate man advantages that all had the same zone-entry problem - killed any momentum Winnipeg tried to build in the opening period. Those failures hung like a millstone around Winnipeg's collective neck, particularly when Forsberg began working his magic. It's been back and forth, up and down. Washington responded after blowing a two-goal, third-period lead in Game 1 by winning a predictably chippy Game 2.

Arvidsson added an empty net goal at 15:58 as the Jets got desperate and pulled Hellebuyck early in hopes of catching up. Neither team has won consecutive games, and the road team has won four of the six games.

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Hellebuyck finished with 25 saves.

"What was the trouble for us on the power play would have been true 5-on-5", coach Paul Maurice said.

It doesn't get any better than this.

You'll forgive fans around these parts if they don't quite know what to do with themselves when facing a Game 7. The Western Conference Final is half-way complete, we know Vegas is in but who will be their adversary? We controlled the game tonight.

"I've just gotta score and all of a sudden we won't talk about that", Stastny said.

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