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Just how many remains to be seen
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For all the good things the Nashville Predators did last season to win the Presidents’ Trophy Custom Boston Bruins Jerseys , there was one nagging problem, which they’ve yet to solve in the first three games of the 2018-19 season.The Predators can’t stay out of the penalty box, and it came back to bite them Tuesday night in a 3-0 loss to Calgary that spoiled their home opener. Continued penalty issues could spell doom on Thursday night when they host the Winnipeg Jets in the teams’ first meeting since a riveting Western Conference semifinal last spring.After playing a reasonably clean game with just three minors and one shorthanded situation in the season opener on Oct. 4 at the New York Rangers, Nashville (2-1-0) drew five minors and had to kill off four power plays in a 4-3 win Saturday night at the New York Islanders.Article continues below ...The Predators then took three minors in the first 25 minutes Tuesday night, and the Flames converted two of those into goals to set the tone. Forced into chase mode the rest of the way, Nashville couldn’t solve up-and-down goalie Mike Smith, who was on the up side of a 43-save shutout.“We did good things, we just couldn’t find a way to score and that was definitely frustrating,” Predators center Ryan Johansen said. “We wanted to get the building involved and we were trying, but tonight wasn’t our night.”Nor was it Nashville’s night the last time it saw Winnipeg, which was on May 10 in Game 7 of a entertaining, back-and-forth series between the league’s two best regular-season teams. The Jets chased Pekka Rinne with two goals on shots Rinne badly wanted back, then pulled away in the third period for a 5-1 win that wrapped up a 4-3 series victory and their first trip to a conference final.While these aren’t the same teams that skated up and down the Bridgestone Arena ice on a warm spring night http://www.sabresshoponline.com , they’re still mostly intact. And the home crowd is sure to remember that Winnipeg ended what they presumed would be a run to the Stanley Cup.“It’ll probably get hyped up more just because of what happened last year, and I think that’s just the way things go from previous years when teams come back and they reconnect the next year,” Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. “There’s always more of a hot button to it, but at the end of the day it’s a new season.”One that the Jets (2-1-0) have started with great expectations after their best NHL season. They played their home opener as well on Tuesday night but unlike Nashville, they sent the home crowd out of the rink in a good mood after dispatching Los Angeles 2-1.The final score didn’t reflect Winnipeg’s domination. The Jets owned major advantages in shots on goal (39-17), 5-on-5 shot attempts (56-33) and faceoff wins (37-21).“We generate chances, zone time, from a certain type of mentality of what pucks we shoot and which ones we don’t,” Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said. “When we shoot the ones we want, we’re able to carry and maintain our speed in the offensive zone.” COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) The Columbus Blue Jackets played one more playoff game this season than last, but it’s all the same to general manager Jarmo Kekalainen and coach John Tortorella. Not good enough.And apparently there’s plenty of blame to go around.”Everybody has to give skin here, from the coaches right on through Buffalo Sabres T-Shirts Womens , as far as what happened,” Tortorella said in his exit interview with reporters Thursday.The Blue Jackets promising season fizzled out in the end. They overcame injuries to key players and finished the regular season strong, making the Stanley Cup playoffs for the second season in a row. They won the first two in the first-round playoff series on the road against the Washington Capitals, only to drop the next four straight.It ended with a thud in a 6-3 loss in Game 6 on home ice Monday night.Despite how all that sounds, the team didn’t implode, Tortorella said.”We were a good enough team to beat Washington this year,” he said. ”We just did not make that big play and or get that big save at key times, and they did.”I like our team, I like our personnel,” he said. ”The biggest thing is we need to change our mindset here, (so) that we feel we belong in the playoffs. We need to think stronger in how to find a way. I want us to be more aggressive in our thinking and expect some more.”The Blue Jackets undoubtedly will have some different faces next season. Just how many remains to be seen. Kekalainen was coy when asked if the team needs more talented players to get deeper into the playoffs.”We’re always looking to upgrade, one way or another,” he said. ”I think we’re going to get better again from inside. It’s going to be the same approach.”Kekalainen cited the surprise trade last summer that brought star winger Artemi Panarin to town and the swift emergence of rookie center Pierre-Luc Dubois. But he won’t talk strategy.One the goals likely will be to sign Panarin and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky – the team’s biggest stars – to contract extensions. Both will be unrestricted free agents in 2019 Buffalo Sabres Hoodies Womens , and the team would like to lock them up before that.Defenseman Jack Johnson and forward Matt Calvert will be unrestricted free agents on July 1, so the Blue Jackets will have to make a decision on whether to sign them to new contracts. The 28-year-old Calvert, the longest tenured Blue Jacket at eight seasons but never more than a bottom six player, tied his career-high season point total with 24 and had three playoff goals.The Blue Jackets also will have to decide whether to re-sign forwards Thomas Vanek and Mark Letestu and defensemen Ian Cole, all of whom were added at the trade deadline.Columbus finished with 97 points, second most in franchise history after last season’s 108, and qualified for the playoffs as a wildcard. The team punctuated a furious comeback down the stretch with a 10-game winning streak in March.But the playoffs were a bust. Again.”We expected more out of ourselves this year,” defenseman Zach Werenski said on his way out this week. ”Go up 2-0 on the road, come back home we don’t get a win. I just think we have higher expectations, and we should. We are a good hockey team and we fell short of our goals this year. At the end of the day, if you are not holding the Stanley Cup, it’s kind of a failed season. This one definitely stings.”—


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