WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) Kevin Hayes' first goal with the Jets was far from smooth or pretty. It certainly got the job done, though.
Hayes scored late in the third period of his second game with Winnipeg after being acquired from the New York Rangers this week and added two assists as the Jets erased a two-goal deficit to beat the Nashville Predators 5-3 on Friday night.
''It wasn't the nicest goal, but I'll take it,'' Hayes said. ''We're in that final stretch here where we need to figure out what kind of team we're going to be going into the playoffs. And going down 2-0 and battling back, I thought we (dealt with) some pretty good adversity there.''
Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele also each had a goal and two assists, and Kyle Connor and Tyler Myers had the other goals for Winnipeg. The Jets moved ahead of Nashville atop the Central Division standings with the victory.
''We go down two and everyone's still positive on the bench,'' said Hayes, who spent his first 4 1/2 NHL seasons with the Rangers. ''It shows you the type of team these guys are.''
Wheeler said Hayes is the type of individual who makes players around him better even though he's still getting used to a new team.
''I think you could see today, he was talking a little bit more, feeling a bit more comfortable,'' Wheeler said. ''So it was great to see him have a good night.''
Viktor Arvidsson, P.K. Subban and Mattias Ekholm scored for the Predators. Ryan Ellis added two assists.
''We went down and took a punch and missed, and they came back and put it in the net,'' Predators coach Peter Laviolette said.
Laurent Brossoit stopped 34 of 37 shots, improving to 11-4-2 this season. He started in place of No. 1 goalie Connor Hellebuyck, who has the flu.
''These games especially are the ones you really want to get up for,'' Brossoit said. ''You never want to see a teammate sick, but it gave me an opportunity and it was just really nice to get back into the win column. I thought everyone came to play tonight.''
Pekka Rinne made 27 saves in defeat.
With the win, the Jets avoided losing three consecutive games in regulation.
Arvidsson opened the scoring in the first period before Subban extended the lead on the power play with a point shot through traffic.
Winnipeg struck twice in a span of 2:33 late in the second period, tying the game at 2.
Scheifele's backhand fooled Rinne on the power play for his team-leading 32nd goal of the season, tying a career high. Kyle Connor tied it with his 25th of the season with 1:39 remaining in the second period.
NOTES: The Jets were 1 for 4 on the power player, while Nashville went 1 for 3 with the man advantage. ... The teams meet again in Winnipeg on March 23.
Predators: wrap a two-game road trip Sunday in Minnesota
Jets: Begin a four-game road trip Sunday in Columbus before visits to Tampa Bay, Carolina, and Washington.
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