Preds sign Calle Jarnkrok

Image Source: Kristen Jerkins Photography

Image Source: Kristen Jerkins Photography

There’s a good chance the young 23-year-old Swede is smiling from ear to ear today as Calle Jarnkrok and the Predators organization come to terms on a one-year deal worth $735,000. Here’s a little excerpt from the official press release:

Jarnkrok, 23 (9/25/91), has amassed 27 points (9g-18a) in 86 career NHL contests since making his debut with the Predators on March 21, 2014 vs. Calgary. During his first full NHL season in 2014-15, the Gavle, Sweden native suited up for 74 regular-season games (7g-11a-18pts) and all six playoff games (2a), recording assists in each of his first two career Stanley Cup Playoff games. In his first two months upon being acquired from Detroit on March 5, 2014, Jarnkrok posted nine points (2g-7a) in his first 12 NHL games, including five points (1g-4a) in the first five contests of his NHL career, the second-longest point streak by a Predators player in the first games of their NHL career (Marek Zidlicky, six games, Oct. 9-23, 2003).

Perhaps I made I good choice in purchasing his practice jersey at the Used Equipment Sale after all.

…And then there were two (RFAs) left…

  • Colin Wilson – July 28th
  • Craig Smith – July 20th
  • Gabriel Bourque – 1 Year, $866,250 (Qualifying Offer)  – 7/2/2015
  • Anthony Bitetto – 1 Year, $665,000(NHL)/$60,000(AHL) – 7/13/2015
  • Calle Jarnkrok – 1 Year, $735,000
  • Taylor Beck – Traded to Toronto for Jamie Devane – 7/12/2015
  • Taylor Aronson – 1 Year, $605,000(NHL)/$65,000(AHL) – 7/16/2015
  • Magnus Hellberg – Traded to NY Rangers for 6th Rounder 2016 Draft – 7/1/2015

Yeah, we’re looking at you, Colin Wilson and Craig Smith.

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NSH trades Beck to TOR for Devane

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Say “so long” to Taylor Beck as he is officially headed to the Maple Leafs in exchange for forward forward Jamie Devane. Here’s a little info from the organization:

Devane, 24 (2/20/91), has spent the majority of his three-season professional career at the American Hockey League level, posting 15 points (6g-9a) and amassing 253 penalty minutes in 118 games with the Toronto Marlies. The Mississauga, Ont., native also appeared in his first two NHL contests with the Maple Leafs during the 2013-14 season.

Source: Torontoobserver.ca

Okay, so don’t let the knowledge that he’s spent a good portion of his career in the minors bother you. 2014-15 was the first season where Taylor Beck spent the majority of his time with the Predators and not in Milwaukee. Though Beck experienced his best season last year, whether or not he’d have a roster spot for the upcoming season was definitely up for debate. The Predators extended a qualifying offer to Beck, along with seven other players (Bourque accepted his, Hellberg was traded to the Rangers), but Beck and his agent opted for an arbitration hearing instead. Set for July 24th, the Predators avoided facing a possible hearing by successfully dealing Beck to Toronto.

Whether he pans out for the NHL right away or not, Devane will be a good replacement for someone else within the Admirals organization who is ready to make the switch to the big times. Enter, Austin Watson or Miikka Salomaki. Who knows? Maybe Devane will impress the judges enough to spend a little more time in the big leagues. Either way, Toronto will enjoy having Taylor Beck in their repertoire, there’s no doubt about that.

Also, for those interested (which I bet you are), here are the arbitration dates for Colin Wilson and Craig Smith:

  • Colin Wilson: July 28th
  • Craig Smith: July 20th

Bourque accepts Preds’ Qualifying Offer

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You like Bourque? We like Bourque. Well, he likes Nashville too, it seems because he has accepted his qualifying offer extended to him by the Predators. What’s that offer? A one-year, $866,250 deal, to be exact.

Gabriel Bourque was 3-10-13 last season, a wee bit off from his 9-17-26 record from the 2013-14 season. But hey, everyone is entitled to a few off seasons, right?

Bourque is just the first of eight RFAs that the Predators extended qualifying offers to on Monday to accept. That list includes the likes of Colin Wilson, Craig Smith, Calle Jarnkrok, Taylor Beck, Anthony Bitetto, and Taylor Aronson. Magnus Hellberg, the eighth RFA, was traded yesterday afternoon to the New York Rangers in return for a sixth-rounder in the 2016 Draft.

Qualifying Offers extended to 8 RFAs

PicMonkey Collage

Fear not, Preds fans! The Predators extended qualifying offers to eight Restricted Free Agents all before the 4PM deadline this afternoon. Those eight players? Colin Wilson, Craig Smith, Gabriel Bourque, Anthony Bitetto, Calle Jarnkrok, Taylor Beck, Taylor Aronson, and Magnus Hellberg.

In a nutshell, by extending these qualifying offers, the Predators are still given the opportunity to continue negotiations with these particular players. This doesn’t stop these players from signing other contracts, but it does give Nashville the right to match or exceed these potential competitive offers. If the Predators do not choose to match or exceed an offer, they will be compensated for the player’s departure from the organization. If the Predators had not given these RFAs qualifying offers, these players would’ve become Unrestricted Free Agents on Wednesday, July 1st.

So, who didn’t receive qualifying offers? Well, that would be Zach Budish and Josh Shalla; two players that will hit the UFA market come July 1st.

Preds help Hawks Count; Take Game 2 6-2

Source: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Source: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Well, if that wasn’t a good way to show that Nashville has what it takes to make it beyond the first round then I can’t tell you what was. Similar to Wednesday’s game, there were quite a few circumstances that certainly went against the Predators. However, instead of allowing those instances to bog them down, Nashville persevered and then some to take victory of Game 2 6-2. Here are the main highlights you should take away from last night’s game:

  • Definition of Top Shelf Cheddar? That’d be Colin Wilson, who did just that to give the Predators the lead early in the first period. That snipe was Wilson’s third of the playoffs – he might just be the hero of the playoffs.
  • Patrick Sharp would put Chicago on the board, but Roman Josi would make sure Nashville ended the period in the lead with just three seconds left in the first.
  • The penalty kill was overtly prepared for the possibility of spending some time in the box, due in part to Wednesday’s shenanigans. Gaustad was called for a four-minute high-sticking during the second period, putting the Predators in an all too familiar setting. However, the PK only allowed one shot-on-goal during that four minute spat, boosting not only the crowd but the team as well.
  • Patrick Kane’s goal was greatly celebrated, one could say, as he had five other buddies on the ice to do so with! A huge, monstrous missed too-many-men call lead to Kane’s first goal of the playoffs – one that happened to tie the game. To add insult to injury, the officials would soon wave off a perfectly clean goal from Calle Jarnkrok.

  • Injuries were abound last night, with Taylor Beck traveling back to the locker room after a Seabrook shot, and Shea Weber leaving for the remainder of the game with a lower-body injury. Weber will not be making the trip with the team to Chicago, definitely confirming he will be out at least two game. Mike Fisher, on the other hand, will be making the trip. Here’s a .gif of where Weber’s injury occurred:

  • Craig Smith notched his first of two goals last night in the second, helping to break that awful second period slump and gave Nashville a 3-2 lead going into the third.
  • Filip Forsberg gave the Predators a 4-2 lead in the third, becoming the youngest player in Preds franchise history to score a post-season goal.
  • And, quickly after Forsberg, Craig Smith wanted another taste and notched his second goal of the night on Corey Crawford. Ah, and Pekka Rinne picked up the assist on his goal, too.
  • Mike Santorelli would get the deciding goal for his first in the playoffs, making the final score 6-2 in favor of Nashville.
  • Vince Vaughn was in town to watch his beloved Blackhawks along with NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman. The Predators should be beaming to show off such a great game to someone who doesn’t care much for small markets.

Other Thoughts:

That, ladies and gentlemen, was a game for the ages. The Predators went in knowing that things would possibly go against them – as it always has. Instead of taking the beating, Nashville stood firm and expressed the type of discipline they have been lacking for a while. Maybe it was the loss of Weber; maybe it was the excellent PK on that double-minor; whatever the case, there was a fire lit under the Predators that needs to stay lit for tomorrow’s game in Chicago and beyond.

Game 3 in Chicago starts at 2PM — A little bit earlier than the two here at home, I’d say. Like I said, that fire from last night needs to be there tomorrow. Chicago will have the crowd and home ice advantage, which could break them mentally. No need for mentality breaks.

Game 1: CHI – 4, NSH – 3

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Original Photo Source: Christopher Hanewinckel – USA TODAY Sports

Where does one begin? Well, let me begin with the fact that I have not seen the Predators play such a physical period (first) in a very long time; definitely not within recent memory. They essentially played as a team; they read each other well. Something that certainly did not happen in the second period. I’d rather not discuss the second period – not necessarily regarding last night’s game – but the second period within the last couple of games. Talk about a case of déjà vu. The Predators have been on this route of going hard in the first, giving themselves what would once be a challenge for any team to tackle; completely bombing in the second period, allowing the opposing team to either tie or take the lead; then they cannot gather themselves to retake what they lost in the second, ultimately costing the team the game. As exciting as those three goals were in the first period last night, I feared – and I bet a lot of you did, too – how the team would approach the second period.

And alas, there was definitely a fallout in the second period. However, to make things a little more interesting, the “officials” forgot how to properly officiate a hockey game. This wasn’t your first rodeo, was it? You could’ve fooled me… along with the other 17k+ folks. Countless dives, off-sides, and icing… you how do you miss an icing call? I understand hybrid icing and that nonsense, but regular, no-holds-bar icing? That’s bush league, babe. However, let’s take the most questionable non-call in all of the missed ones last night:

I enjoy chiming in with a nice chant of “Ref You Suck”, but I have never heard it as loud as I did last night… and for good reason, too. Clearly, that should have been a penalty shot award to a one Mr. Taylor Beck. I am not much of a conspiracy theorist, but my goodness, after the atrocious officiating in last night’s game, you’d have thought something awfully fishy was going on. And I am not talking about the catfish that was thrown on the ice:

We know how you feel about small market teams, Bettman…

That was the Predators’ game to take; no doubt. The physicality of the first period was outstanding and must be repeated in the following periods. The Predators have always allowed for sloppy passes and whatnot, but we have now reached the post-season; a time when other teams have honed in on those typical mistakes – no matter how little – and capitalize on them. Laviolette knows this; Housley knows this. Time to get both the hearts and minds right and on focus. There’s no doubt in my mind that Nashville can defeat the Blackhawks in this round; they just have to stop doubting themselves.

Noteworthy Notes:

  • Mike Fisher returned to the lineup as expected after coming back from a lower-body injury. However, he took a nasty hit in the first period, causing him to miss the remainder of the game. I have a relatively good feeling we won’t see Fisher the rest of this round, possibly even well beyond this round if Nashville can knock off the ‘Hawks.
  • Colin Wilson, ladies and gentlemen. With only six points in the last 32, Wilson brought out the afterburners in Game 1. His two goals tied the franchise record of goals in a single playoff game.

  • Viktor Stalberg certainly showed his former teammates that he wants to hold that Cup again. His unassisted goal helped chase Corey Crawford from the net.
  • Scott Darling, the Blackhawks backup and former Milwaukee Admiral, certainly secured Chicago’s victory last night. Forty-two saves for 80 minutes worth of hockey. Yea, Crawford might want to watch his back.
  • As for our goaltender, Pekka was definitely on point last night. Unfortunately, someone had to lose. Rinne made some incredible saves, keeping the game going for as long as it did.
  • Paul Gaustad did his thing at the face-off circle, winning 17 and losing just six for a percentage of 76%.
  • The Game Ops outdid themselves with the new intro video for the playoffs. Though this is a little snippet, I suggest making it out to tomorrow’s game or finding a video on YouTube.

Time to take in a deep breath and shake it off; there’s no room for lingering on yesterday. Hopefully, last night’s tough loss will light a fire under Nashville’s butt so they can come out with the same tenacity as yesterday’s first period and keep that going for the entire game.

Game 1 is in the books, boys and girls. Chicago – 4, Nashville – 3. Onward to Game 2.

 Extra: Check out this video from 2011 of the Predators players talking about how great the fans are in Nashville. Surely, this’ll get you feeling all warm and fuzzy, right?

Preds shutout Sabres 3-0

Source: John Russell/NHLI

Source: John Russell/NHLI

Call this just as much a morale victory as it was a shutout because the Predators needed a win like this desperately. Nashville, who has been in a deep, inescapable rut, last won a home game back on February 24th against the Colorado Avalanche. Actually, that was the last game the Predators played well before completely dismantling. Although the Sabres are 20-44-7 (before the game), that did give many fans much encouragement as the Predators continue digging out (or deeper) of their rut.

PRE-GAME NOTES:

  • Viktor Arvidsson was recalled by the Predators under emergency conditions to replace Colin Wilson, who is now day-to-day with a lower-body injury. This would be Arvidsson’s NHL debut.

SCRATCHES:

  • Anton Volchenkov, Colin Wilson, James Neal, Eric Nystrom, Victor Bartley

FIRST PERIOD:

  • The Predators gave Matt Hackett, the Sabres goaltender, a run for his money with seventeen shots-on-goal. However, for a net-minder who has only played in a handful of NHL games, he played rather well. The Sabres were only able to notch six shots-on-goal during this period.

SECOND PERIOD:

  • The lamp would finally be lit at 14:52, just four seconds into Nashville’s powerplay, by Taylor Beck, his 7th goal of the season. Shea Weber (30) and Matt Cullen (16) would tally an assist.

THIRD PERIOD:

  • Craig Smith would put Nashville up 2-0 at 5:49 for his 23rd goal of the season. Ryan Ellis (16) and Matt Cullen (17) would notch the assists on Smith’s goal.
  • Mike Fisher would collect the game winner at 15:01, his 17th of the season. Viktor Stalberg (6) and Ryan Ellis (17) would tally the assists.

POST GAME NOTES:

  • Paul Gaustad did what he does best by winning all 13 face-offs in last night’s game.
  • Craig Smith was fined $5,000 by the league due to his high stick on Jerry D’Amigo; a penalty in which he served a double-minor.

  • The Predators are now just one point behind St. Louis from retaking the Central Division, whilst Chicago sits an uncomfortable four points behind Nashville.

Again, this could be chalked up as a morale victory more than anything for Nashville. I, for one, am hoping this win will boost the team out of their rut and onward into playoff contention. Ah, but the next opponents isn’t so easy… Montreal is on pass to be one of the first teams to surpass 100 points this season (the other team being Anaheim), a feat we once though Nashville would do. The Canadiens not only lead the Atlantic Division, they also dominate the Eastern Conference at 46-20-7. With Carey Price in net, who has now surpassed Pekka Rinne for wins at 40 (Rinne – 38), this will not be a walk in the park. But I bet you already knew that.

Ugly OT Win breaks Preds 6-Game Losing Streak

Source: Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images

Source: Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images

Call it what you will: ugly, gritty, rough, etc., but the Predators pulled out the two-points over the Arizona Coyotes to end their six-game losing streak last night.

SCRATCHED: Victor Bartley, Calle Jarnkrok, Eric Nystrom, Anton Volchenkov

FIRST PERIOD:

  • The Predators came out with a little more fire under their belts, but goaltender Louis Domingue interrupted all 13 SOG that Nashville mustered. For someone who has only tended NHL ice once previously to this match, Domingue brought his A-game; a testament to his solid abilities.
  • Pekka was on point, too, last night, blocking all nine shots-on-goal from the Coyotes in the first period.

SECOND PERIOD:

  • At 3:26 into the second period, Paul Gaustad collected his third goal of the season with assistance from Taylor Beck (7).
  • Both Arizona and Nashville were given two power play opportunities, but neither could capitalize on the advantage.
  • The Coyotes out-shot the Predators eleven to eight.

THIRD PERIOD:

  • At 7:27 into the third, the Coyotes set the game with a tip-in from Kyle Chipchura, his 4th goal of the season.
  • Nashville was awarded three power play chances in the third, including one that would follow up to the end of regulation, but they were unable to connect.
  • The Predators out-shot the Coyotes twelve to eight in the third period.

OVERTIME:

  • James Neal came to the rescue, scoring his 22nd goal of the season just 2:45 in overtime. Seth Jones (17) and Cody Franson (29) tallied the assists on Neal’s game-winning-goal.

POST GAME NOTES:

  • The Predators are now 8-0-1 when Paul Gaustad notches a point during the span of a game.
  • Nashville is also 9-1-2 when Viktor Stalberg is in the lineup.
  • Gaustad’s goal ends another poignant streak; the eleven-straight games without tallying the first goal. Reminder: six of those eleven resulted in losses.
  • Cody Franson tallied his first point with the Predators since being traded to the team back in February (and, if we want to get really technical, his first points with the Preds since the 2010-11 season).
  • With two points, the Predators jump the Anaheim Ducks to reclaim first in the Western Conference and league. That’s an amazing stat in its own, that Nashville was able to lose six-straight and still bounce back into the lead with one win.
  • Pekka Rinne now has 199 career wins and the Predators franchise now has their 599th win.

The Predators aren’t out of hot water just yet; oh no. Nashville heads further west, taking on all three teams in California before making it back home on Tuesday to face the Minnesota Wild. The Sharks, who Nashville plays Thursday night at 9:30PM, will be desperately looking for a win as they are sitting in fifth in the Pacific Division and just one point behind the Kings.

Preds tackle Avs 5-2

Source: John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images

Source: John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images

After a not-so stellar performance on the road, the Predators headed back home to welcome in the divisional rival Colorado Avalanche, who might be sitting at the bottom of the Central Division, but certainly not out. Last Friday night, the Avalanche whipped fellow Central Division mate, the Chicago Blackhawks, 4-1 and then went on to defeat the 7th team in the League (the Tampa Bay Lightning) 5-4. Again, Colorado might be down, but they aren’t out. However, Nashville is the Top Dog in the League for a reason and tonight was a night to shush the naysayers.

SCRATCHES: Taylor Beck

FIRST PERIOD:

  • Nathan MacKinnon (13) got the puck moving at 3:57, a lucky break as the puck deflected off of Roman Josi’s skate into the net. Ryan O’Reilly (25) and Brad Stuart (8) notched the assists.
  • Not fifteen seconds later, Mister “I was healthy scratched on Sunday” Calle Jarnkrok answered the call to action and netted one alone for his sixth of the season.
  • Around the 13-minute mark of the game, Avalanche Captain, Gabriel Landeskog took aim at Roman Josi along the boards.
  • As you can see, Landeskog absolutely levels Josi with the hit, prompting both Paul Gaustad and Shea Weber to come to the rescue. Though I wouldn’t want to go up against Gaustad or Weber, I think if I had to choose, I’d go with duking it out with Gaustad. Unfortunately for Landeskog, #AngryShea got to him before Gaustad did.
  • Both players would be given majors (5 minutes) for fighting, but somehow, Weber also received a 10-minute misconduct AND an instigator penalty, totaling his time in the box at 17 minutes.
  • Nashville would finish out the remainder of the first period without their Captain and notch nine SOG to Colorado’s three.

SECOND PERIOD:

  • Craig Smith would open the second period with his 19th goal of the season, giving Nashville the 2-1 lead at 4:32. Mike Fisher (17) collected the lone assist.
  • Roman Josi would punch his 11th goal of the season at 11:06 with assistance from Matt Cullen (10).
  • Colorado would only manage five SOG during the second compared to Nashville’s sixteen.

THIRD PERIOD:

  • To remind everyone he’s still here (like we’ve forgotten), Filip Forsberg gave the Predators a 4-1 lead just 52 seconds into the third period for his 21st goal of the season. Mike Ribeiro picked up the assist, his 39th of the season.
  • Patrick Roy, who is known for pulling his goaltenders early in the games, did just that, giving Colorado a two-man advantage (Craig Smith called for hi-sticking & Shea still in the box). Eric Nystrom (7) slapped a wrister down the length of the ice, nailing the empty net for a short-handed goal at 8:28. Roman Josi (33) grabbed the assist.
  • With under two minutes to go, Colorado slipped on passed Pekka Rinne for a powerplay goal by John Mitchell (7), but it was too late for the Avalanche to make a comeback run.

It is pretty evident why Shea Weber risked a lifetime in the penalty box to protect his fellow linesman. First off, he’s the leader and that’s what a great leader does; second, the memory of Steve Downie’s hit on Roman Josi, just two games into last year’s season. That hit was not investigated like it should have been and Josi was concussed for a few months. Though Downie no longer is a member of the Colorado Avalanche, that wound was reopened by Gabriel Landeskog last night.

Now 41-13-7, the Predators now sit six points ahead of the team second in the league, the Montreal Canadiens. The closest divisional rival, the St. Louis Blues, sit nine points back. Chicago? Twelve points back.

The Predators welcome in the Minnesota Wild for a special 7:30PM start time on Thursday night (airing on NBC Sports).

Preds take Lightning 3-2 with OT Winner

Source: John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images

Source: John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images

Has it decided that the Predators love the game so much they just have to beyond regulation? Or am I – and everyone else – just suffering from a case of déjà vu? Either way you slice it, the Predators are coming out with the two points — whilst doling a point to their given opponent. The Tampa Bay Lightning are just as their name perceives – lightning fast and that trait has helped boost them to the top of the Eastern Conference and fourth in the league (tied at 74 points with the Blues who have one less loss than the Bolts). The Predators have more of a “if I can setup the play, I’ll just dump it” mentality, which has gotten better this season than in the past, but with a in-your-face team like Tampa Bay, the Predators needed to be a little more risqué when it comes to shooting the puck… at the net.

SCRATCHES: Mattias Ekholm, Colin Wilson, Olli Jokinen

FIRST PERIOD:

  • For the third game in a row, neither team was able to get one in the net during the third period. Chalk this one up to both Pekka Rinne and Andrei Vasilevskiy just being on point. Rinne blocked ten shots-on-goal while Vasilevskiy blocked his eight shots. I mean, look what this kid did to rob Mike Ribeiro:

SECOND PERIOD:

  • In only his second NHL Career game, Anthony Bitetto – who was called up to fill in for the injured Mattias Ekholm – dropped the gloves against Brett Connolly. Bitetto did so to defend fellow player Craig Smith, which made a fairly good impression on his teammates – that, and Bitetto clearly won the bout.
  • Seth Jones would finally get the blood flowing at 8:31 with his 6th goal of the season. Viktor Stalberg (4) and Anton Volchenkov (5) nabbed the assists.
  • Just four minutes later, Taylor Beck would put Nashville up 2-0 at 12:47, his fifth goal of the season. Paul Gaustad (9) and Eric Nystrom (5) would tally the assists.
  • Nashville would own the second period, sending 11 shots-on-goal compared to Tampa Bay’s eight.

THIRD PERIOD:

  • Ah, but the Lightning weren’t going down without a fight. At just 1:20 into the third, Brett Connolly made up for losing his bout with Bitetto and sent a wrister whizzing past Rinne, his 10th of the season.
  • And, just seven minutes later, Nikita Kucherov would tie the game at 7:50 with a slapshot, his 21st of the season.
  • The Predators just couldn’t muster up another goal (nor could Tampa Bay) so thus the déjà vu of bonus hockey returns.

OVERTIME:

  • In what everyone deemed was going into a shootout, James Neal had other plans. Breaking the puck away with less than 30 seconds left in overtime, Neal connected on a wrister to win the game, his 18th goal of the season. Roman Josi (28) and Matt Cullen (7) assisted in the winner.

NOTEWORTHY:

  • Viktor Stalberg, who was called up to fill in for the ailing Colin Wilson, saw 11:43 of ice time walked away with one point (assist).
  • With the trade deadline fast approaching (March 2nd), will Nashville make a move? No doubt they will, but in order to get something good, you’ve got to trade something good in return (whether that be a player, draft pick, or a combination of both). With no word on Ryan Ellis’ return (and the fact his jersey has no appeared in the GnashVegas auction), my guess is Ellis will be up for trade bait. Yes, he did just recently sign a five-year, $12.5M contract, but remember, we traded Patric Hornqvist off during his five-year contract extension, too (just one year after he signed it).
  • Colin Wilson may be ready to return within the next game or two, as he was practicing with the team yesterday morning.
  • With just ten more wins, Nashville can secure a playoff spot. That, and they are just two points from being the first team to reach 80 points this season. Me gusta.

If you missed last night’s game, then you surely don’t want to miss tomorrow’s against the Winnipeg Jets, a division rival that’s clawing for a playoff spot. Winnipeg is twelve points behind Nashville, but has won their last two; they’ll be looking to knock of the league leader for sure tomorrow night.