Not done yet: Predators trade Jason Arnott to the New Jersey Devils

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Arnott1.jpgThis afternoon has suddenly turned busy. Just hours after trading the
negotiating rights for Dan Hamhuis to the Philadelphia Flyers, the
Nashville Predators have traded their Jason Arnott to the New Jersey
Devils. From the team’s press release:

Nashville
Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile
announced today that the club has sent captain Jason Arnott to the New
Jersey Devils in exchange for forward Matt Halischuk and New Jersey’s
second-round selection in the 2011 Entry Draft.

Halischuk, 22 (6/1/88), split the 2009-10 season between New Jersey and
Albany (AHL), posting a pair of points (1g-1a) in 20 NHL games and 22
points (11g-11a) in 32 AHL contests. In his rookie professional season
of 2008-09 the Toronto, Ont., native amassed 29 points (14g-15a) in 47
games for Lowell, and also made his NHL debut with the Devils, notching
one assist.

Arnott, who is now the former captain of
the Predators, heads back to New Jersey where he experienced the most
team success of his career. As part of one of the most dangerous top
lines we’ve ever seen in the NHL with Petr Sykora and Patrik Elias,
Arnott scored the Cup-clinching goal for the Devils in 2000 with he
knocked in a one-timer 8:20 into double overtime against the Dallas
Stars in game six.

He was later traded to Dallas as part of the
deal that sent Joe Nieuwendyk and Jamie Langenbrunner to New Jersey,
perhaps the most unpopular trade in Dallas sports history, and now heads
back to the Devils to join Langenbrunner as a teammate.

Arnott is
entering the final year of his contract and is slated to make $4.5
million next season, according to
CapGeek.com
, and the trade suddenly gives the Nashville Predators an
insane amount of cap space with 17 players under contract for next
season. It seems that the Predators are gearing up to make a big splash
in free agency, as they have now traded away two of the top players on
their team (although Hamhuis was highly unlikely to stay in Nashville).

For
the Devils, you have to think that acquiring Arnott might mean the
likelihood of signing Kovalchuk to an extension is now extremely low.
They get back a player who enjoyed success as a Devil and who —
although he’s near the end of his career — can certainly provide some
needed offensive punch.

Fights, hits and a blown kiss: Stars and Blues get nasty

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Things were getting out of hand between the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues on the scoreboard in an eventual 6-1 Blues win.

They were also getting a little raucous on the ice when it was clear that the Stars weren’t going to stage a comeback.

Jamie Benn was whistled for cross-checking Alex Pietrangelo, but it was Stephen Johns‘ hit from behind on Pietrangelo really revved up the violence.

Watch that hit and then the scrum that ensued in the video above, which included a scary display of an angry Ryan Reaves … who got creative at the end.

You may also want the kiss alone, so here it is:

Memo: rough stuff might not work so well against the Blues.

Read about that blowout here.

Blues bombard Stars, go up 2-1 in series

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Sometimes a final score is misleading. In the case of the St. Louis Blues’ 6-1 thrashing of the Dallas Stars, it might just be the start of the story.

Honestly, the most positive thing the Stars can say is “Well, at least it was just one game.”

It was one ugly game, however, and now the Blues hold a 2-1 series lead with a chance to really take control if they can win Game 4 at home.

The Blues dominated just about every category on Tuesday, firing more shots on goal, enjoying better special teams play and throwing more hits. They even blocked a higher number of shots, which often isn’t the case for the squad that carries play.

This leaves the Stars picking up the pieces, especially when it comes to their work in their own end.

Do you put greater blame on struggling goalies Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi or is this more about the Stars’ lax defensive coverage? The scary answer may be “Both,” and the Stars likely know that they need to find answers quickly.

On the bright side for Dallas, it is just one game … and the Blues were searching for answers of their own after Game 1.

We saw the Blues turn things around with these two straight wins, so now the Stars must show that they can gather themselves and play the attacking, out-score-your-mistakes style that got them here.

Granted, they may have to keep an eye out for supplemental discipline after some rough stuff toward the end of the game.

Predators smash Sharks to get back in series

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After a dispiriting 1-0 goal allowed by Pekka Rinne, things were looking bleak for the Nashville Predators for a moment there.

Nashville’s developed into a resilient group, however, and they stormed back for a commanding 4-1 win to shrink San Jose’s series advantage to 2-1.

The Predators saw some of their big names come up huge as the series shifted from San Jose to Nashville.

Pekka Rinne looked sharp following that first goal (and didn’t allow another). Their goals came from James Neal, Colin Wilson, Filip Forsberg and captain Shea Weber.

Weber’s tally was the game-winner, and it was downright thunderous:

Another promising sign: after a struggling to a 2-for-31 clip in previous playoff games, the Predators’ power play went 2-for-5 in Game 3.

Overall, the Predators really couldn’t ask for much more from this win, especially if Colton Sissons is indeed OK after a scary crash into the Sharks’ net.

Things could get really interesting if Nashville manages to “hold serve” with another home win on Thursday.

Stars’ goalie carousel goes around again: Lehtonen replaces Niemi

Dallas Stars goalie Antti Niemi (31) subs in for goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, in Dallas. The Stars won 6-5. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
AP
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It’s pretty tough not to make jokes about the Dallas Stars spending $10.4 million on their goalies at times like these, even if Dallas’ defense should shoulder plenty of blame.

After Kari Lehtonen was pulled from a Game 2 loss, the St. Louis Blues chased Antti Niemi early in the second period of Game 3 after Niemi allowed three goals on 12 shots.

Troy Brouwer‘s 3-1 goal was enough for Lindy Ruff to give Niemi the hook:

Unfortunately for the Stars, Lehtonen got off to a slow start as well, allowing an immediate Vladimir Tarasenko goal.

The Blues are now 4-1 and the Stars are searching for answers … and probably wishing Tyler Seguin was around to help them out-score their problems.