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Predators 3, Jets 2 (OT)

The SportsXchange

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- If Thursday night is any indication, the Nashville Predators might not miss their star goalkeeper as much as people think.

In his first start since Pekka Rinne was diagnosed with a spontaneous bacterial infection in his surgically repaired hip Wednesday, Carter Hutton kicked out 34 of 36 shots as Nashville posted a 3-2 overtime win over the Winnipeg Jets at Bridgestone Arena.

Craig Smith's one-timer from the left faceoff circle at 4:43 of overtime was the winning tally as the Predators improved to 6-4-1. It came off a David Legwand feed after a Dustin Byfuglien turnover.

Playing just their third road match this season, the Jets dropped to 4-6-1 with their third straight loss. They are 2-6-1 after opening with wins over Edmonton and Los Angeles.

Rinne will miss a month with the infection, which interrupts an outstanding start to his season. He is 4-4-1 with a 2.31 goals-against-average and a .917 save percentage in his first nine matches.

Hutton, who was signed as a free agent from Chicago on July 5, was playing in just his fourth NHL game. It was only his second start this year; his first was a 3-1 win Sunday night at Winnipeg.

The Jets dominated the game's first 10 minutes, outshooting Nashville 7-1 and controlled the puck for long stretches.

But the Predators finally gained some zone time and capitalized with Shea Weber's third goal at 15:53 on a 24-foot slap shot from the slot. It came 44 seconds after Winnipeg's Blake Wheeler took a slashing minor.

However, the Jets managed an equalizing tally at 13:49 of the second from an unlikely source. Right winger Anthony Peluso picked up his first NHL goal on a nifty wraparound which saw him go from right to left and jam the puck across the goal line before Hutton could knock it out.

Referee Brian Pochmara originally waved off the goal, but a replay review proved the entire puck crossed the goal line.

Nashville's Patric Hornqvist snapped the tie at 6:04 of the third period with his fourth goal, a rebound off a Mike Fisher shot.

But Winnipeg forced overtime when Wheeler converted a rebound opportunity at 16:59, his third goal of the year.

NOTES: Nashville C Mike Fisher returned to action after missing the last three games with what the team called a lower-body injury. Fisher's wife, country music star Carrie Underwood, said he had a broken foot. ... Winnipeg RW Matt Halischuk made his return to Nashville after tallying 24 goals and 51 points in three seasons for the Predators. Halischuk signed with the Jets in the offseason as a free agent. ... Predators LW Viktor Stalberg, seen by many as the team's biggest free agent signing in July, was a healthy scratch. Stalberg hasn't scored in six games and is a minus-2. ... Winnipeg C Olli Jokinen is two games away from reaching 1,100 games in his career. He could get there Friday night when the Jets play in Colorado.
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