It was the last chance to make a positive final impression for any number of Winnipeg Jets on the proverbial bubble.

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This article was published 30/9/2011 (3715 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Winnipeg Jets' goalie Ondrej Pavelec gives up a shootout goal to Nashville Predators' Cal O'Reilly at the MTS Centre Friday.

TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Winnipeg Jets' goalie Ondrej Pavelec gives up a shootout goal to Nashville Predators' Cal O'Reilly at the MTS Centre Friday.

It was the last chance to make a positive final impression for any number of Winnipeg Jets on the proverbial bubble.

And despite a 3-2 shootout loss to the Nashville Predators in Winnipeg’s final pre-season tilt in front of another raucous and sold-out crowd of 15,004 at the MTS Centre, a good chunk of the roster stood out with positive performances.

"The thing that surprised me the most about our team is our intelligence," said head coach Claude Noel. "It’s a smarter team than I thought. I watched tape, but I see it now. We’re sharp and that’s what excites me so much: our hockey intellect is what I call it."

Cal O’Reilly, who potted the first goal of the game for the Predators, was the only player to score in the shootout, beating Jets’ netminder Ondrej Pavelec. Nashville goaltender Andres Lindback was outstanding, and stopped Blake Wheeler, Tim Stapleton and Bryan Little to earn the win.

Down 1-0 on a goal by O’Reilly after the first period, the Jets came to life in the second and outshot the Preds 16-3. More importantly, captain Andrew Ladd tied the game after some nifty stick work by Little, banging home a rebound past Lindback for his second goal of the pre-season.

The Winnipeg Jets' Patrice Cormier is tripped up between Nashville Predators' Kevin Klein and David Legwand during the second period at the MTS Centre.

TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

The Winnipeg Jets' Patrice Cormier is tripped up between Nashville Predators' Kevin Klein and David Legwand during the second period at the MTS Centre.

The Preds jumped ahead 2-1 in the third on a goal by David Legwand, but Jets’ rookie sensation Mark Scheifele evened the score with less than seven minutes to go on a seeing-eye-shot past Lindback. It was Scheifele’s team-leading fourth goal and eighth point in five pre-season contests.

Winnipeg finishes the pre-season at 3-4 and now must wait until Oct. 9 and a home date against the Montreal Canadiens in the historic return of regular-season NHL hockey to Manitoba.

"(Nashville is) a tough team to play against — their back pressure, their ‘D’ stay up, they’re tough to get any offence off the rush and they always seem to kind of smother you," said Ladd.

Nashville Predators' goalie, Anders Lindback struggles to control a rolling puck in front of the Jets' Mark Scheifele during the first period.

TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Nashville Predators' goalie, Anders Lindback struggles to control a rolling puck in front of the Jets' Mark Scheifele during the first period.

"I thought the pace was definitely more like the regular season. It was good for everyone to get that in and realize, well, it took the first period for us to get up to pace.

"We definitely, finally, got our legs going and where we needed to be."

Ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @WFPEdTait

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