Nashville, TN – Matt Halischuk and Gabriel Bourque tallied, and the Nashville Predators defeated the Winnipeg Jets, 3-1, on Saturday.
Shea Weber added an empty-netter for Nashville, which had lost four of its last five games coming in. Pekka Rinne stopped 24-of-25 shots and earned his 40th victory of the season.
With the win, the Predators broke a fifth-place tie and moved two points ahead of the idle Blackhawks. Nashville is still a point behind Detroit for the fourth seed in the Western Conference, which downed Carolina 5-4 earlier on Saturday.
The Predators will tangle with the Blackhawks in Chicago on Sunday.
Tim Stapleton had the lone goal for Winnipeg, which has lost three of its last four games. Ondrej Pavelec had 25 saves in defeat.
The loss drops the Jets six points behind Buffalo, which defeated Minnesota 3-1, for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
After a scoreless first period, the Predators netted a pair of tallies on just five shots in the second stanza.
From the neutral zone, Alexander Radulov hit a streaking Halischuk up the right wing and his laser from the top of the right circle got past Pavelec at the 2:56 mark.
After Pavelec kicked aside Nick Spaling's wrister from the high slot, Bourque backhanded home the rebound midway through the frame.
Stapleton made it a one-goal game with 7:07 remaining in the third as he one- timed home a behind-the-net pass from Spencer Machacek.
But Rinne was solid down the stretch, and Weber's empty-netter on the power play sealed the win with 10 seconds left.
The Predators are 24-9-5 as the host this year...Nashville was 1-of-4 on the power play while the Jets were 0-for-1...Winnipeg comes home to take on Ottawa on Monday.