The Nashville Predators are a team known for their ability to scrap their way to the playoffs, but if they can keep this up, they might just give their division rivals in Detroit and other favorites a serious run for the Presidents Trophy. Despite nearly coughing up a 4-1 lead late in the third period, rookie goalie Anders Lindback made 42 saves as the Predators remained undefeated in regulation in this young season.
Nashville 4, Tampa Bay 3
When Colin Wilson gave the Predators a 4-1 lead a little more than 14 minutes into the third period, few would have guessed that he earned the game winner. That’s exactly what happened, though, as the Lightning stormed back with two goals in less than a minute to bring the game to 4-3.
Lindback should be given credit for remaining calm and keeping Nashville in the game, though, as the Lightning put 19 more shots (45-26) on Lindback than the Predators sent at their former teammate Dan Ellis.
Lightning forward Sean Bergenheim scored a beauty of a top-shelf goal to begin the scoring before the Predators produced four consecutive goals from Shea Weber, Sergei Kostitsyn, Cody Franson and Wilson. Martin St. Louis and Adam Hall scored those two rapid Tampa Bay tallies.
Nashville kept Steve Stamkos from adding to his eight goals this season, but couldn’t keep him off the scoreboard altogether. Stamkos assisted on that St. Louis goal to continue his points streak (four goals and five assists for nine points in four games).
This win maintains Nashville’s status as the only NHL team that is still undefeated in regulation and gives them a league-high 13 points on the season (although the Detroit Red Wings would take the division, conference and league leads if they win their next game). Meanwhile, the Lightning now have a small lead (11 to 10 points) atop the Southeast Division in front of the Washington Capitals.
Both teams showed why they’re among the strongest teams in the league at this point in the 2010-11 season, but the Predators ended up getting the “W.”
Looks like the AHL isn’t finished shuffling around teams.
From the Portland Press Herald:
The Portland Pirates are leaving Maine.
Mitch Berkowitz, chair of the board of trustees for county-owned Cross Insurance Arena, confirmed Wednesday afternoon that “the Pirates will be headed to Springfield” Massachusetts, but that he did not know further details.
The city of Springfield has been searching for a team to replace the AHL Falcons, sold last month – although yet to be approved – to the parent Arizona Coyotes, who announced plans to move the franchise to Tucson.
The Pirates are the AHL affiliates of the Florida Panthers. They’ve been in Portland since 1993, when they started out as the Capitals’ farm team and were coached for a number of years by Barry Trotz.
Travis Green has never coached in the NHL, not even as an assistant.
But a lengthy career as a player, followed by success as a head coach in the WHL and AHL, has left him feeling prepared to take the next step.
“I think I’m ready,” Green told Postmedia yesterday. “Every job in the NHL is worth its weight in gold, and I would have 100 per cent interest at options with every team in the league. You hope all your qualities are enticing for one of them.”
After the Flames fired Bob Hartley yesterday, many are wondering if Green could be a candidate to take over in Calgary. Other head-coaching vacancies exist in Anaheim and Ottawa, and potentially Minnesota.
For the past three seasons, Green has been the head coach of the Utica Comets, the AHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks. Last year, the Comets made it all the way to the Calder Cup finals, an accomplishment that Green found particularly rewarding since “it wasn’t like we had an all-star team.”
While some GMs won’t risk hiring a coach without any NHL experience — they’d prefer a guy who’s been there before and knows what to expect — it’s worth noting that Jon Cooper didn’t have an NHL track record before he took over in Tampa Bay, and he’s done OK. Heck, Dave Hastol hadn’t even coached professionals before he landed the job in Philadelphia, and the Flyers seem pretty happy with him.
Green is under contract for one more season in Utica, but reportedly has an out-clause to pursue an NHL job.
Related: Will the Sens take a run at Kevin Dineen?
Any thought Tyler Seguin flying into St. Louis after last night’s 6-1 blowout loss was wiped out on Wednesday morning, as Stars head coach ruled out both Seguin and fellow forward Patrick Eaves for Game 4.
The decision comes after Ruff played a bit coy prior to Game 3. While he said neither Seguin nor Eaves would travel with the Stars, he noted both had resumed skating back in Dallas, adding “they have flights into St. Louis every day.”
Well, the airline schedule doesn’t much matter now.
Game 4 will be played at Scottrade tomorrow night, which means Stars fans clamoring for Seguin might need to look ahead to Game 5, and the potential implications at hand.
Should the Stars even up the series at two heading back to Dallas, Seguin could return for Game 5 and provide what would be a huge momentum swinger.
Should the Stars lose on Thursday and return home down 3-1, Seguin could be inserted into the lineup simply to stave off elimination.
Or, Seguin could not play at all.
Whatever the case, Dallas has a tall task at hand — and it goes well beyond surviving life without No. 91. The club has allowed 10 goals over the last two games, and seems to have an issue in goal, where neither Antti Niemi nor Kari Lehtonen has played especially well.
Former Tampa Bay Lightning player Dave Andreychuk is now a member of the club’s senior management team, and he’s confident that the Bolts won’t lose Steven Stamkos to unrestricted free agency this summer.
“Steven is going to come back. He’s going to be fine,” Andreychuk told Hockey Central today, per Sportsnet.ca.
“I still believe that Steve Yzerman is trying whatever he can do to sign Steven Stamkos, and I believe it will happen.”
Andreychuk — whose official title is VP Corporate & Community Affairs — is not part of the Lightning’s hockey operations, but presumably he speaks with Yzerman, the general manager, from time to time.
Of course, the challenge for Yzerman goes well beyond re-signing the captain. Even with an owner that’s willing to spend to the cap, it simply may not be possible to keep Stamkos, Victor Hedman, Ben Bishop, Nikita Kucherov, Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn, and Jonathan Drouin.
All eight of those players need new contracts this summer or next.
Stamkos, Hedman, and Bishop are pending UFAs, while the other five are pending RFAs.