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in F r e i s t i l 10.10.2018 04:40
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WINNIPEG Josh Ferguson Jersey , Manitoba — With a three-goal first period lead, there’s no doubt many members of the Nashville Predators were convinced it was just a matter of 40 minutes until they reclaimed home-ice advantage in their second-round playoff series against the Winnipeg Jets.

But then the unfathomable happened. And now, instead of preparing for Game 4 on Thursday with a 2-1 series lead, the Predators trail by that same margin and are in danger of facing elimination when they return home for Game 5 on Saturday.

After absolutely dominating the Jets in every facet of the game for the first 20 minutes, the Predators poked the bear with the pointiest of sticks and turned a three-goal cushion into a three-goal deficit.

Center Austin Watson caught Jets captain Blake Wheeler with a hit to the head early in the second period, knocking his helmet off, causing normally mild-mannered Mark Scheifele to wrestle him to the ground, negating what would have been a Winnipeg power play.

From that point on, the Jets were a different team, finishing hits, outskating and outshooting the Predators and recapturing the most elusive of intangibles — momentum.

Winnipeg center Paul Stastny got things going less than three minutes into the second period when defenseman Jacob Trouba’s shot from the point hit his skate and deflected past Pekka Rinne and the comeback was on. Within three more minutes, both Dustin Byfuglien and Trouba had bulged the twine behind arguably the NHL’s best goalie this season and Bell MTS Place Authentic Stefon Diggs Jersey , which just a few minutes earlier had resembled a morgue, had been transformed into a madhouse.

When Byfuglien put the Jets ahead 4-3 with just 45 seconds remaining in the period, it was so loud that fans couldn’t hear their own voices inside their own heads. Even though Nashville tied things at 4-4 in the third, the Jets had the ice tilted in their favor and Wheeler scored two goals in the third, including the game-winner.

“I was mad at (Scheifele) at first because I thought we had a power play,” Wheeler told a media scrum. “It’s one of those things that you hate to see (Scheifele) go to the box with anyone. I’d rather have him on the ice. I’m okay, I can take that (hit). But I would do the same for him. That’s what teammates do for each other.”

Byfuglien, in addition to his usual physical dominance, has also been making an impact on the scoresheet with 10 points to lead all defensemen. In fact, he has as many goals — three — as the entire Predators’ defense this postseason. Nashville led the NHL in goals (56) and points (206) from their rear-guards during the regular season.

Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm acknowledged that Byfuglien, who weighs 265 pounds, has been a dominant force.

“In today’s game Jimmie Ward Jersey , it’s all about speed and it’s all about moving your feet,” he told The Tennessean. “He can still do that being a large human being, so it’s impressive, for sure.”

Jets forward Mathieu Perreault, who has been out since the first round of the playoffs but has been skating in a full-contact jersey for a couple of days, has been cleared to play and is a possibility for Thursday.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Von Miller said he’s unaffected by the new NFL rule prohibiting defenders from landing on top of quarterbacks, requiring them instead to shift his weight to the side to avoid a flag.

“None of the rule changes affect my game. I don’t really tackle quarterbacks with all my weight anyway. With all 185 pounds? No, I wouldn’t treat a quarterback like that,” said Miller, who’s actually 250.

“I like going for the ball. If you’ve seen me play over the years, I’m not really (going to) lower the head or try to injure a quarterback Mike White Color Rush Jersey ,” Miller said. “The most I’ll do is fake handshake.”

That move cost Miller a personal foul at key moment last year and led to a loss at Buffalo.

Miller said he has no issue with the league’s new helmet rule that’s causing so much consternation at training camps this summer as teams wonder what all will constitute a foul.

Broncos coach Vance Joseph said the new rules designed to protect players will affect the offense more than the defense because defenders have been taught for years to see what they’re hitting whereas, say, running backs naturally duck their heads and linemen bang helmets all the time.

Defenders, though, will get flagged for crushing quarterbacks if they don’t break their fall by turning to the side to avoid landing on top of the passer.

An example of the hit that’s now prohibited is the one Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr put on Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in Week 6 last year that broke Rodgers’ collarbone.

The rule now requires defenders to “strive to wrap up the passer with the defensive player’s arms and not land on the passer with all or most of his body weight.”

Line judge Julian Mapp was among the officials who visited the Broncos this weekend to discuss the rule changes. Asked how difficult it would be to determine whether a pass rusher has put more than half his body weight on a quarterback, Mapp said, “I’m a line judge but talking to some of our referees, what we’re looking at is that — I’m not a University of Florida fan or anything — but we’re looking for what we call a ‘Gator Roll.’ We want you to take your weight off of the quarterback.

“Also, to guys, when they tackle their quarterback and you see their hands in the air like this,” he said, spreading his arms out like an airplane Dontae Johnson Color Rush Jersey , “that does not take them off. A lot of the time they think, ‘Well my hands weren’t on them.’ But it’s the body weight. So, basically they’re looking for some type of roll, some type of (move where) you’re trying to keep all of your body weight off of the quarterback.”

Miller said the changes won’t affect him at all.

“I’ve been good when it comes to all of those rules,” Miller said. “I respect the game. I know we need to keep our quarterbacks healthy. Those guys make football what it is, so we’ve got to take care of those guys.

“They’ve put in rules to take care of all the players, as well. So, I’m good with all the rule changes.”

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