Kyle Connor made a move in the first period Saturday that signalled to Jets captain Blake Wheeler his linemate was going to have a big night.
Head coach Paul Maurice saw the same thing.wholesale nfl jerseys
The rookie winger didn’t disappoint, and now Winnipeg is one win away from the Western Conference final.
Connor buried the first two playoff goals of his career and added an assist as the Jets defeated the Nashville Predators 6-2 to take a 3-2 lead in their second-round series.
“So happy for him,” Wheeler, who wound up with three assists, said of Connor. “A young player used to putting the puck in net … when it doesn’t happen right away, especially in your first taste of playoff action, it can be tough to stay with it. But his confidence hasn’t wavered a bit.
“Tonight was his turn.”
The 21-year-old scored 31 goals to pace all rookies in 2017-18, but had failed to connect in nine post-season games before his explosion in Game 5.
“I don’t lose sleep,” Connor said. “The bottom line is team success.
“If the team is winning, everybody’s happy.”
Maurice reunited Connor with Wheeler and Mark Scheifele — the trio combined for eight points Saturday — following a 2-1 loss in Game 4 after moving him to the second unit with Paul Stastny and Patrik Laine for the last five periods of the series.
“He plays at a certain rate, a certain cadence,” Maurice said of that move Connor made at the blue line in the first. “That set him up, I thought, for the rest of the game. You can play not to make mistakes, that’s fine, we all want to play smart hockey. But those kind of players, your really highly skilled guys, have to have a certain amount of (confidence) in their game.
“When there’s nerves, there’s not as much of that. I think he kind of pushed through it on that play.”official nfl jerseys cheap
Scheifele and Dustin Byfuglien had a goal and an assist each for Winnipeg, while Stastny and Mathieu Perreault also scored.