Nashville Predators

Goalie Nods: Rangers’ Skapski gets second NHL start

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Skapski starts vs. Sabres

Mackenzie Skapski will make his second career NHL start tonight as the New York Rangers visit the Buffalo Sabres. The 20-year-old got his first NHL win with a 24 save performance defeating the Sabres 3-1 on Feb. 20. Skapski was 12-7-3 to go along with a .914 save percentage and a 2.38 in 24 AHL games prior to being recalled.

Anders Lindback gets the nod for Buffalo.

Elsewhere…

Blackhawks at Sharks: Corey Crawford vs. Antti Niemi

Leafs at Canucks: Jonathan Bernier vs. Eddie Lack

Panthers at Hurricanes: Dan Ellis vs. Cam Ward

Canadiens at Islanders: Carey Price vs. Michal Neuvirth

Jets at Lightning: Ondrej Pavelec vs. Andrei Vasilevskiy

Wild at Blues: Devan Dubnyk vs. Brian Elliott

Devils at Coyotes:Cory Schneider vs. Mike Smith

Flames at Avalanche: Karri Ramo vs. Semyon Varlamov

Predators at Kings: Pekka Rinne vs. Jonathan Quick

Reports: New Coyotes ownership suffered losses of $16 million in first fiscal year (Updated)

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The new Arizona Coyotes ownership group on Friday gave an update on the team’s financial status.

From FOX Sports Arizona:

The Coyotes ownership group reported its Fiscal Year 1 losses to the City of Glendale on Friday, and the number was alarming to everyone but the team.

Coyotes president and CEO Anthony LeBlanc said the team lost $16.458 million, but for Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), it also had to include its one-time acquisition and closing costs ($7.878 million), along with the complete amount of the Mike Ribeiro buyout ($10.495 million), bringing the total operating loss to $34.831 million.

The latter is the figure that counts toward the team’s oft-mentioned “out clause,” which can be exercised within a 180-day window after five years and allows the team to leave Arizona if it reaches or exceeds $50 million in losses. The $50 million threshold is just a gating factor, not an automatic trigger for the out clause. There are many other determining factors.

It was initially reported the loss for the first fiscal year was about $16.6 million.

The Coyotes organization has been in a lengthy state of flux, with the NHL approving the sale of the majority stake in the franchise to Andrew Barroway at the end of December.

There have been rumors of Barroway possibly flipping the franchise to someone who would look to relocate it, and Barroway shooting down those rumors.

On the ice, the Coyotes are in the midst of a rebuild, after veterans Antoine Vermette and Keith Yandle were traded prior to the deadline earlier this month. And, as GM Don Maloney mentioned in January, this might mean some “suffering” in the shorter term.

The message from Friday’s update seems to be that the ownership group expects profitability, although it remains to be seen exactly when that could happen.

Meanwhile, the Coyotes do have an out-clause if they lose $50 million over the first five seasons.

Preds descent continues as Sharks’ Niemi earns 35-save shutout

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After being one of the league’s top teams for most of the season, the Nashville Predators seem to be falling apart in the 11th hour. Their latest setback came in the form of a 2-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks.

San Jose goaltender Antti Niemi stopped all 35 Predators shots to earn his fifth shutout of the season. San Jose has gone 4-1 this month and Niemi has played a significant part in that with a 1.48 GAA and .956 save percentage in March.

Pekka Rinne was solid between the Predators’ pipes, but Tomas Hertl found the back of the net with the man advantage late in the second period to break the scoreless tie.

Tommy Wingels scored an empty-net goal to make it 2-0 with less than a minute left in regulation.

Between Winnipeg losing and Los Angeles winning tonight, the Sharks are now three points behind in the battle for the second Wild Card spot. Their journey to the playoffs is about to get even more challenging though as they’ll face Chicago on Saturday before beginning a seven-game road trip.

Nashville has now lost seven of its last eight games and the one exception was an overtime victory against the lowly Arizona Coyotes. Thanks to St. Louis’ victory tonight, Nashville is no longer in control of the Central Division’s top seed. Instead, if the playoffs were to start today, the slumping Predators would be up against the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round.

As is the case with San Jose, the Predators schedule isn’t going to get any easier in the near future. They’ll complete their road trip with games against Los Angeles and Anaheim on Saturday and Sunday respectively before hosting the red hot Minnesota Wild Tuesday night.

Parise ‘never would’ve predicted’ Devils would miss playoffs three years in a row

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Though they’re not mathematically eliminated yet, the New Jersey Devils won’t make the postseason this year. It’ll mark the organization’s third straight miss, a fact that took their former captain by surprise.

“I never would’ve predicted they’d miss the playoffs three years in a row. Just because of the way things are run,” Minnesota forward Zach Parise said prior to Tuesday’s 6-2 blowout win over the Devils, per the Star-Ledger. “I hope they can pull off something at the end of the year, or next year, and get back in.”

Parise, who spent the first seven years of his career in New Jersey, went to the playoffs six times with the Devils — the only time the Devils missed during the Parise era was the 2010-11 campaign which, not coincidentally, was the year Parise missed 69 games after a torn meniscus in his right knee.

New Jersey’s last playoff appearance, also not coincidentally, was in Parise’s last year with the club, when the Devils lost in the Stanley Cup Final to Los Angeles. The current team barely resembles the one that captured the Eastern Conference crown three years ago; gone are the likes of Parise, Ilya Kovalchuk, David Clarkson, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Marek Zidlicky, Ryan Carter, Petr Sykora, Mark Fayne, Anton Volchenkov and Martin Brodeur.

The club also made a coaching change, firing Peter DeBoer and replacing him with an unconventional three-coach setup comprised of Adam Oates, Scott Stevens and GM Lou Lamoriello.

Lamoriello has been the target of heavy criticism over the last three years, as a number of his veteran acquisitions — Ryane Clowe, Michael Ryder, Martin Havlat, Damien Brunner, Tuomo Ruutu — have failed to pan out.

Parise wasn’t about join the list of Lamoriello critics, however, saying that part of the Devils’ issues could be chalked up to bad luck.

“Guys have good years. Guys have off-years,” he explained. “When you have a group of people having off-years, you might miss the playoffs. If you have a group of people having a great year, you’re in.

“It’s hard to predict.”

Jackman’s center-ice goal deals blow to Jets wild card chase

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St. Louis blew a three-goal lead Tuesday night, but Barret Jackman beat Ondrej Pavelec from center ice with just over a minute remaining leading the Blues to a 5-4 win.

“When I threw it in there, I thought [Pavelec] was kind of surveying the play and was just going to grab it and flip it to the side,” said Jackman per NHL.com’s Lou Korac. “It just kind of floated over the glove. [Pavelec] obviously didn’t get a good look at it.”

Jets head coach Paul Maurice reportedly had just a 47-second scrum post-game.

“It went in. There was nothing magical about it,” said Maurice of the Jackman goal.

The Jets loss coupled with the L.A. Kings win over the Colorado Avalanche leaves Winnipeg with a one-point lead over the Kings for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference.

The Blues (42-19-5) now trail the Nashville Predators by just two points for top spot in the Central Division and have two games in hand.

St. Louis scored four goals on its first seven shots of the game chasing Winnipeg starter Michael Hutchinson.

After Michael Frolik opened the scoring, Jaden Schwartz, Vladimir Tarasenko, Steve Ott and Jori Lehtera all beat Hutchinson.

The Blues STL line of Schwartz, Tarasenko and Lehtera combined for six points in the win. The trio now has 17 points in four games.

Pavelec made 19 saves in the loss.

Andrew Ladd and Lee Stempniak got the Jets’ comeback started scoring twice 11 seconds apart early in the third.

Blake Wheeler scored shorthanded to tie it 4-4.

St. Louis has now won all three meetings between the two clubs. The Blues and Jets meet again March 19 in Winnipeg.