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NASHVILLE Buffalo Sabres Hats Authentic , Tenn. (AP) The young Winnipeg Jets have grown up fast this postseason, so quickly that now they are headed to the first Western Conference final in their short history after knocking off the NHL’s best team in the regular season.Tyler Myers and Paul Stastny scored 2:06 apart in the first period, and the Jets stunned the Nashville Predators 5-1 on Thursday night in their first Game 7 – continuing an amazing run for a team swept in its previous two playoff appearances.”The telling stat for me in this series is we played four games in here and never lost in regulation against the best team in the league,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said. ”That’s what you worry about with a young team. It’s a physical series. We’ve got some skaters. … But that’s a difficult thing to do, to get out on the road … to play well in here as consistently as we did, it’s impressive.”Stastny finished with a second goal and an assist, and Mark Scheifele also had two goals. Blake Wheeler and rookie Kyle Connor each had two assists.Connor Hellebuyck made 36 saves for Winnipeg, which won three of four games in Nashville after missing the Presidents’ Trophy by three points to the Predators.The Jets now host Vegas in Game 1 on Saturday night in a conference final nobody could’ve predicted when this season started.”I like it,” Hellebuyck said. ”I’m excited, and looking forward to it.”P.K. Subban scored for Nashville, now the ninth Presidents’ Trophy winner in 10 years not to win the Stanley Cup.The best season in Predators history ended earlier than a year ago, but in the same fashion on their own ice. They lost to Pittsburgh in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final last June.Pekka Rinne, Nashville’s Vezina Trophy finalist along with Hellebuyck, was chased for the third time in this series after giving up two goals on seven shots. He lasted just 10 minutes, 7 seconds for the quickest exit by a starting goalie in a Game 7.”It’s heartbreaking,” Hellebuyck said on seeing Rinne pulled.Rinne tried to take responsibility for the Predators’ season ending far earlier than they expected.”The biggest moment of the season, it’s a terrible feeling,” Rinne said. ”You let your teammates down Custom Buffalo Sabres Jerseys , and that’s what happened tonight. That’s tough to swallow.”These teams combined for 231 points in the regular season, making this series the two best teams on points ever to meet in a series before a conference final. This was the third Game 7 all-time for Nashville with a big edge in experience over the Jets playing on this stage.Nashville also brought out the star power once again with Sheryl Crow singing the U.S. anthem and former NFL Titans running back Eddie George waving the towel to rev up the crowd. A couple catfish hit the ice before the puck dropped.The Predators took five of the first six shots, then the Jets stunned the crowd. Myers squeezed a wrister between the post and Rinne’s left skate for a 1-0 lead at 8:40 of the first. Then Stastny put a backhander off Rinne and into the net 2:06 later for a 2-0 lead on just seven shots.Nashville coach Peter Laviolette didn’t hesitate and pulled Rinne for Juuse Saros , trying to snap the Predators out of a slow start while saving his timeout. Laviolette called the goals ”fluky.””There’s not a lot of things that you can do if a game’s not going your way if you can’t use your timeout,” Laviolette said. ”It was way too early to use a timeout at that point. Again, I just tried to send the game in a different direction, put a pause in the game and send it in a different direction.”Subban started the rally with his fourth power-play goal of this series with a big one-timer from Ryan Johansen over Hellebuyck’s stick at 15:54. Subban then pointed to the Nashville bench and once there yelled at his teammates.In the second, the Jets simply dominated keeping the puck in the offensive zone and outshot Nashville 6-2. Only Saros making save after save kept it 2-1 until Scheifele’s snap shot for his 10th goal this postseason from the left circle with 2:10 left in the period. That was the first goal Saros had allowed in four appearances this postseason.Stastny sealed the victory with his sixth goal this postseason on the Jets’ lone power play at 11:59. Scheifele added an empty-net goal with 2:33 left.Wheeler said the Jets will take a night to celebrate a thrilling win over Nashville that was every bit the series they expected.”It’s too bad one of us had to be knocked off here,” Wheeler said. ”But night’s like tonight, you try to really soak it in and enjoy it. And then, wake up and get ready for a big game on Saturday.”NOTES: Scheifele scored seven goals in Nashville, setting a record for most road goals in one postseason series. Scheifele topped 10 others tied with six on the road in a series, including Sidney Crosby. … Jets coach Paul Maurice now is 3-0 all-time in Game 7s all on the road. … Laviolette is 5-3 in Game 7s, and Nashville is 1-2 in Game 7s all-time.UP NEXT:Game 1 of Western finals against Jets in Winnipeg.— PITTSBURGH (AP) — There isn’t a lot of finesse in Patric Hornqvist’s game. The Pittsburgh Penguins forward understands his job is to get to the places on the ice that not everyone wants to go, set up camp there and make something happen.His team in serious need of a kick-start after squandering a three-goal lead against white-hot Colorado, Hornqvist provided one.Well, three actually.Hornqvist recorded the fastest hat trick in franchise history on Tuesday night, beating Semyon Varlamov three times in a span of 2:47 in the third period as the Penguins pulled away for a 6-3 victory.“You know what www.officialflames.com , the two last ones, they were lucky ones,’ Hornqvist said after boosting his season goal total to 12. “You have one of those days sometimes, the puck is just coming right on your stick, you don’t think you’ll shoot and if you don’t know where to go I don’t think the goalie does either.”The Avalanche roared back from a 3-0 deficit by dominating the second period behind goals from Tyson Barrie, Carl Soderberg and Matt Nieto. While Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan told his team to keep its swagger, Hornqvist understood the Penguins were in a delicate spot.The longtime Eastern Conference power is off to a sluggish start, one marred by sloppy defense and an inability to put away opponents or play well at home. Pittsburgh began the night sixth in the Metropolitan Division and just 5-6-2 at PPG Paints Arena.The Penguins spend much of the second period chasing the younger, faster Avalanche before Hornqvist went to work.“We couldn’t really stop the bleeding (in the second) but you know what? We have a good group of guys in here and I think this is the turning point of our season,” Hornqvist said. “It’s a great third period and (if we) just keep building every single day from this day on and we’ll be fine.”Hornqvist’s record-setting run began in typical Hornqvist fashion. The 31-year-old Swede parked himself in front of Varlamov, corralled a rebound off a Kris Letang shot, jabbed at the puck once before spinning around and whipping it by the goaltender 6:11 in the third to put Pittsburgh back in front.He needed just 1:21 to double the Penguins’ advantage and completed the hat trick on his next shift when he fired a wrist shot from the slot that appeared to hit off Colorado’s Alexander Kerfoot and sneak past Varlamov.“He plays the game so hard,” Sullivan said. “He takes so many cross checks and he goes to the dirty areas and he competes. He just wants to win. He’s such a competitive guy and tonight he had a great night for us.”Jake Guentzel, Evgeni Malkin and Derick Brassard also scored for the Penguins, who halted Colorado’s 11-game point streak. Kris Letang added two assists for Pittsburgh. Casey DeSmith finished with 42 saves.Varlamov made 26 stops, but struggled early and late as Colorado’s six-game road winning streak came to an abrupt halt.“To be honest, erase seven and a half minutes out of that game and I liked what I saw on both sides of the puck,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said.Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and Colorado star Nathan MacKinnon Calgary Flames T-Shirts Authentic , good friends and frequent training partners in the offseason, put together a thrilling duel in Colorado last week, with MacKinnon’s four points able to help the Avalanche overcome a natural hat trick by Crosby in a 6-3 Avalanche victory.The two stars went scoreless in the rematch, taking a backseat to Hornqvist.The Penguins needed just 7:27 to build a three-goal lead. Guentzel redirected a feed from Letang with his left skate just 2:46 in. Malkin followed just over four minutes later when he jammed home a shot from the point by Tanner Pearson for his first five-on-five goal since Oct. 30. Brassard beat Varlamov 35 seconds later the Penguins appeared to be firmly in control.It all vanished over a 5:01 span in the second.Barrie’s power-play shot from the point 8:16 into the period gave Colorado a spark. Ian Cole, playing in Pittsburgh for the first time since helping the Penguins win consecutive Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017, fired a knuckler toward the net that Soderberg managed to get a stick on and deflect past DeSmith. Nieto found a gap with the Penguins on the power play to slip the puck by DeSmith to tie the game, the seventh short-handed goal allowed by Pittsburgh this season.Hornqvist’s historic stretch, however, helped the Penguins avoid a collapse while cooling off the Avalanche, at least for a night.“I think it’s good for the fans, for sure, not so good for the coaches,” Colorado’s Mikko Rantanen said. “I think they don’t like it as much. But we have to move forward.”NOTES: Pittsburgh D Marcus Pettersson, acquired in a trade with Anaheim on Monday, played 13:00. … Both teams went 1 for 3 on the power play. … Pittsburgh is 8-1-1 against the Western Conference.UP NEXTColorado: Begins a two-game swing through Florida on Friday when they play the Panthers.Pittsburgh: Welcome the New York Islanders on Thursday.