What we learned last week in the NHL: Nashville is serious about winning the Stanley Cup
What we learned from the past week of play in the NHL:
The Predators are in it to win it
The Nashville Predators extended their winning streak to eight games by sweeping a four-game trip, rallying in each game. Each win had special significance: Ryan Hartman scored the winner at Winnipeg a day after the Predators acquired him from the Chicago Blackhawks; David Poile took the lead in most wins credited to a general manager with No. 1,320, at Edmonton; Mike Fisher returned from retirement to score at Vancouver; and Filip Forsberg’s overtime goal at Denver allowed the Predators to match their club record for victories, set in the 2005-06 season. They’ve kept winning without versatile defenseman Roman Josi, who sat out the last two games because of an upper-body injury. The Predators are loaded and deep, and they could get deeper when 2017 first-round pick Eeli Tolvanen finishes his KHL season.
Bruins, Lightning were trade-deadline winners
Trading for forwards Rick Nash and Tommy Wingels and signing U.S. Olympian Brian Gionta were good moves for the Boston Bruins, who needed help after Patrice Bergeron suffered a fractured foot. Acquiring defenseman Nick Holden from the New York Rangers also proved wise when standout rookie Charlie McAvoy suffered a lower-body injury and Holden filled in for him on the power play. Nash has energized center David Krejci’s game with his size and ability to get to the net, and Wingels is a solid depth player. Also winners at the deadline: the Tampa Bay Lightning, who expect defenseman Ryan McDonagh (hand injury) to make his debut Thursday. Forward J.T. Miller, traded with McDonagh, had three points in his first three games.
Seattle really wants an NHL team
Demand for season tickets for a possible expansion team in Seattle was so high that a waiting list was started Saturday. The Oak View Group, headed by former Kings and AEG executive Tim Leiweke, got 10,000 season-ticket deposits in the first 12 minutes and 25,000 in just over an hour. Fans were required to place a refundable deposit of $500 per ticket or $1,000 for club tickets. The NHL permitted Oak View to start a season-ticket drive in order to gauge interest in the market, as it did before the Vegas Golden Knights were admitted as the 31st team. Seattle is a natural rival for the Vancouver Canucks and an easy hop for West Coast teams, and owners are salivating over splitting the $650-million expansion fee without having to cut the players in. The NHL is expected to discuss Seattle’s bid at its Board of Governors meeting in June. The likely target is the 2020-21 season, allowing time to thoroughly renovate Key Arena.
He gets a Hall pass
New Jersey Devils forward Taylor Hall extended his personal point streak to 25 games Sunday, with 18 goals and 36 points in that span. He has almost single-handedly kept the Devils in the hunt for a wild-card playoff spot and earned consideration for most valuable player honors. But it’s time for some of his teammates to step up: Despite Hall’s dominance, New Jersey has lost three in a row and five of seven. The NHL considers Hall’s scoring streak to stand at 18 because he sat out three games in late January.
NHL again enjoys the great outdoors
Using a likeness of an aircraft carrier at sea as the theme for the outdoor rink used by the Washington Capitals and Toronto Maple Leafs at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Saturday was a stroke of genius. Dressing the Maple Leafs in ghostly white was not. A 15-minute delay caused when the lights failed led NBC to shift the end of the game to NBCSN, angering many viewers, but the overall spectacle was memorable.
Follow Helene Elliott on Twitter @helenenothelen
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