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Vegas Golden Knights might be able to wheel and deal at trade deadline

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It’s been noted that the fear of losing players to the expansion draft could mean that the Vegas Golden Knights would make an indirect impact on the 2017 trade deadline. TSN’s Frank Seravalli reports that the Golden Knights could make moves in a more direct way, too.

The Golden Knights could start making moves on the condition that owner Bill Foley pays the final installment of a $500 million expansion fee.

If all their ducks are in a row, they can make a variety of moves, with this nugget likely being most pertinent to fans of the NHL’s other 30 teams:

For instance, the Golden Knights may acquire a draft pick, prospect or future considerations from another NHL team in exchange for their agreement to not select a particular exposed player in June’s expansion draft.

(Seravalli notes that the San Jose Sharks made deals to protect Evgeni Nabokov from the 2000 expansion draft, so there’s precedent here.)

The Vegas Knights could sign college free agents and acquire prospects (or even players on loan overseas), but they can’t “stash” active NHL players through 2016-17. Injured players included.

Overall, the Knights gain opportunities to do some work in advance, while other teams can simplify their methods of avoiding losing a crucial piece in the expansion draft. Rather than going through some gymnastics to cycle players from one team to another, they can go straight to Golden Knights GM George McPhee to make sure that a given skater is safe.

When you consider that Bill Foley admitted there’s a chance that the Golden Knights could land their coach before the 2016-17 season is over, it’s remarkable how proactive Vegas management can be if things swing their way.

Seravalli’s full article is absolutely worth reading, especially if you’re the type to daydream about different hypothetical trade possibilities.

The 2017 trade deadline could be quite memorable, and possibly a little chaotic … though these options could also make things more orderly. Or it might be quiet from Vegas’ standpoint.

We’ll just have to see who’s willing to gamble with the expansion draft versus how much they’d ante up for more certainty.

(Honestly, you might as well get used to clumsy gambling references before 2017-18 rolls around.)

No mic? No problem: Oilers fans sing American, Canadian national anthems

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There was apparently an issue with a microphone used for the national anthems prior to Game 3 between the Ducks and Oilers in Edmonton.

Canadian country music star Brett Kissel was supposed to perform the anthems, however, as he stepped up to the mic, he soon discovered that there seemed to be a malfunction.

With some quick encouragement from Kissel, fans at Rogers Place stole the show with stirring renditions of both the American and Canadian national anthems.

Here is the Star Spangled Banner:

Here is O Canada:

Sami Vatanen returns to Ducks lineup vs. Oilers

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Good news for the Anaheim Ducks, who trail the Edmonton Oilers 2-0 in their second round series.

Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen returns to the lineup Sunday for Game 3 — his first game since April 13, which was the opener of Anaheim’s first-round series with Calgary, because of an upper-body injury.

However, the Ducks will be without Kevin Bieksa, who is dealing with a lower-body injury.

Predators stifle Blues to take back series lead

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The Nashville Predators have snapped their one-game funk in these Stanley Cup playoffs, taking back the series lead over the St. Louis Blues.

For long stretches of Sunday’s contest, the Predators kept the puck away from and stifled the Blues, including a stretch of almost nine minutes at the beginning of the second period in which St. Louis failed to register a shot attempt.

The Predators’ 3-1 victory in Game 3 was eventually secured on an unbelievably dominant shift late in the third period.

Joel Edmundson‘s (costly) turnover led to a dizzying attack from Predators, who had sustained puck possession inside the St. Louis zone for about 1:10.

By the end, Edmundson and Colton Parayko had exhausted themselves as the Predators tossed the puck around with increasing ease before Roman Josi halted the madness with a slap shot to the top corner, giving Nashville a two-goal lead.

That continues an impressive trend for the Predators.

They have scored nine goals in this series, with at least one defenseman contributing directly with either a goal or an assist on eight of those goals. Nashville’s group of blueliners — including Ryan Ellis, who has been on quite a productive roll throughout these playoffs — have combined for 11 points through three games in this series.

This series resumes Tuesday in Nashville, with the Predators leading 2-1.

VIDEO: Ryan Ellis continues his incredible postseason run for Predators

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Playing in Nashville over the years it has been easy for Ryan Ellis to get overlooked, always playing in the shadow of bigger name stars on the team’s blue line.

Shea Weber (before he was traded). Roman Josi. P.K. Subban.

But Ellis has been a major part of the Predators’ blue line and he had a career-year in 2016-17, setting new personal bests in goals (16) and points (38) while matching his previous career high in assists (22).

He has continued that strong play in the postseason and is currently the team’s leading scorer after he netted his third goal of the playoffs (and eighth total point) on Sunday afternoon to give the Predators a 1-0 lead over the St. Louis Blues.

You can see it in the video above.

After being held without a point in the Predators’ first playoff game, Ellis has now picked up at least one point in every playoff game since them and is now riding a six-game point streak.

The first half of Sunday’s game has been a defensive clinic by the Predators, by the way, limiting St. Louis to just 10 shots on goal through the first 34 minutes, and none through the first 14 minutes of the second period.

The Predators extended their lead to 2-0 in the second period when Cody McLeod deflected in his first goal of the playoffs to give the Predators some unexpected scoring depth. He had just five goals in 59 games during the regular season between the Predators and Colorado Avalanche.