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.

Predators end six-game skid, regain NHL standings lead

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The Nashville Predators didn’t earn many style points by barely beating the Arizona Coyotes 1-0 in OT on Monday, but they’ll take the two standings points instead.

James Neal scored the overtime game-winner for his 22nd goal of the 2014-15 season. Six of those tallies have been game-winners, continuing his interestingly mixed first campaign with Nashville.

With Anaheim’s regulation loss, the Predators take a tenuous hold of the NHL’s top standings spot, as they hold a regulation/overtime win tiebraker over the Ducks, who also have 91 points. Both teams have played 68 games and could be passed by the likes of the St. Louis Blues and Montreal Canadiens … but again, Nashville was probably just glad to regain control of its Central Division lead for the time being.

Meanwhile, the Coyotes lose but perhaps bolster a little pride in an overtime defeat. That might not feel like an accomplishment considering the tank race they’re in, but losing has to get old.

Even this league-leading Predators team can relate.

For slumping Preds, schedule not affording many breaks

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There are not the best of times for Nashville.

The Preds are reeling, having gone 2-7-1 in their last nine games. They’ve also lost six straight — in regulation, no less — meaning they’ve been stuck on 89 points for more than two weeks, losing top spot in the NHL and having their Central Division lead whittled away.

Now, they’re without a home. Well, temporarily without a home.

This week, Bridgestone Arena hosts the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament, meaning the Preds will spend the next four games on the road — a swing that begins tonight in Arizona and continues on through San Jose, Los Angeles and Anaheim.

It’s a tough stretch, to say the least.

There’s a decent chance Nashville bumps the slump tonight against a bad Arizona team — the Coyotes have just one win in their last 12 games, and have lost twice to the Preds this season — but from there, things become much more difficult. San Jose is in full-fledged desperation mode, fighting for its playoff life; same goes for the Kings, who are currently on the outside of the postseason picture and have played Nashville tight this season, losing once in a shootout and once in OT.

After the L.A. game — which goes on Saturday night — the Preds play the second of a back-to-back in Anaheim on Sunday, against a Ducks team they’ve failed to beat this season.

As such, you can expect a pretty spirited effort tonight in Glendale. The Preds know they’ve got a tough stretch following the Coyotes game, and admit this current losing streak is gnawing away at them.

“A lot of guys in here are (angry) and frustrated,” captain Shea Weber said, per the Tennessean. “We’ve got to find a way. We’re working at this.

“It’s not going to come easy, we know that.”

PHT Morning Skate: Kesler writes about trade, adjusting to new team

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Ryan Kesler wrote a column about his first season with the Anaheim Ducks and what it’s been like for him to adjust to a new team after playing with the Vancouver Canucks for roughly a decade. (The Players’ Tribune)

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $30,000 fantasy hockey league for Monday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first place wins $3,000. Starts Monday at 7:30 p.m. ET. Enter Now!

The Columbus Cottonmouths of the Southern Professional Hockey League came up with a unique jersey design involving fan selfies. (Puck Daddy)

Here are the highlights from the New York Rangers’ 1-0 overtime win against Chicago:

Jaromir Jagr wore a mullet wig in a picture with two young Panthers fans:

Here are the highlights from Boston’s 5-3 victory over Detroit:

The 1995 Stanley Cup champion New Jersey Devils reunited over the weekend. (NHL.com)

Olli Jokinen sustained an upper-body injury in his first game with the St. Louis Blues. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

While we’re on the injury front, Brett Connolly talked to the media after he had finger surgery:

Predators drop sixth straight as Jets get much-needed win

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The Nashville Predators have gone from being the most dominant team in the NHL to one that can’t seem to win at all. They dropped their sixth consecutive game in Winnipeg’s 3-1 victory Saturday night.

Nashville’s offense has been part of the problem lately as its managed just six goals in its last four contests. Predators forward James Neal finished with a minus-two rating tonight and extended his point drought to nine games. Rookie scoring leader Filip Forsberg has also gone cold with just a goal and an assist over his last nine contests.

Winnipeg’s Blake Wheeler netted the game-winning goal in the second period and later got an assist on an empty netter. This was his second multi-point game in three contests, giving him 18 goals and 48 points in 64 contests in 2014-15.

With a 33-21-12 record, Winnipeg has a four-point edge over the Los Angeles Kings in the Wild Card race, but the Kings have played in two less contests. At the same time, it’s worth noting that Los Angeles is closer to third place in the Pacific Division than the second Wild Card spot, so the Jets and Kings aren’t in direction competition, although that could change in a hurry.

Nashville is still leading the Central Division with a 41-19-7 record, but St. Louis is just two points back after beating Toronto tonight. Chicago is within striking distance too, so the Predators are in danger of losing the home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs if they don’t find a way to right their ship. Of course, even if their position wasn’t in jeopardy, the last thing they want to do is limp into the postseason.