The Nashville Predators outplayed the Winnipeg Jets in Game 1 of their Western Conference Semifinal series on Friday night but it was all for not as the visitors stole home ice away from the Preds, beating them 4-1.
Every game, the Nashville media corps turns in their Three Stars ballots with about five minutes left in regulation. My ballot for Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals was as follows:
1. Connor Hellebuyck (WPG)
Not sure how you can argue with this one. He made 47 saves, including 35 in the first 35 minutes of action. His shutout streak ended at 162:00 when Kevin Fiala sent a touch pass by Kyle Turris into the back of the net but it mattered little on this night. He was easily the best player on the ice and stole home ice advantage for the Jets.
2. Mark Scheifele (WPG)
It was more than his second period goal that gave his team the 3-0 lead. He was relentless on the rare occasion Winnipeg was in Nashville’s zone and he created space for his teammates that made the most of their scoring chances. He would add the empty net goal after the ballots were submitted.
3. Kevin Fiala (NSH)
The Preds winger was buzzing all night long and scored the home team’s only goal. He was constantly battling when on the attack and was relentless on the forecheck, creating turnovers and, at the very least, poor breakout passes. For the 16:24 he was on the ice, he was a big reason Winnipeg couldn’t get anything fluid going. He finished with a goal, an even rating, four shots on goal, three shot attempts blocked and one more that missed that net altogether.