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After winning 14 of 15 games and opening a 10-point lead in the Central Division Authentic Taylor Hall Jersey , the Nashville Predators were due for a fall. Three games in four days against Toronto, Minnesota and Winnipeg — the last two on the road — provided the proper setup for a slump.
Three losses later, including Sunday night’s 5-4 shootout setback to Winnipeg, Nashville’s lead has been cut in half. That sets the stage for a little more drama in the regular season’s final two weeks as the Predators now lead hard-charging Jets by just five points with seven games left.
The schedule-maker provided Nashville with a providential three-game homestand, starting Tuesday night with Minnesota’s final visit of the regular season.
At 48-16-11, the Predators have 107 points, good for a one-point lead on Tampa Bay in the battle for the Presidents’ Trophy and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs. To hold onto that, Nashville will look to end its brief skid against Minnesota.
Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis said the team should be encouraged by their performance in Winnipeg, where it managed a point on the second half of a back-to-back and came within a post — Kyle Turris beat Connor Hellebuyck but not the iron right before overtime ended — of two points.
“It’s not about Xs and Os so much,” Ellis said. “It’s about being on the puck first, hitting guys first and initiating stuff like that. Tonight, in a back-to-back versus that team http://www.washingtonredskinsteamonline....son-jersey , it was a good game for both sides.”
It was definitely a good game for Nashville’s backup goalie, Juuse Saros, who stopped 43 of 47 shots and gave his team a chance to leave Canada with two points. The rested Jets put 25 shots on Saros in the second period alone, and he made three clutch saves in overtime.
Pekka Rinne (40-11-4, 2.27 goals-against average, .928 save percentage), coming off consecutive losses for the first time since mid-December, should get the start in net against Minnesota. The Wild have beaten him all three times they’ve faced him this season, including a 4-1 verdict Saturday night that featured the ejection of Predators coach Peter Laviolette late in the third period.
Minnesota (42-24-9) had a chance to cap its weekend with a stirring come-from-behind win over Boston on Sunday night but ceded a Brad Marchand goal 28 seconds into overtime and fell 2-1 despite 26 saves from backup goalie Alex Stalock.
“We hit a couple of posts and we had a goal called back,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. “We got three of four points this weekend against two of the best teams in the league, so we’re holding our own. This was a big point.”
Minnesota enters with 93 points, three more than Colorado http://www.officialkings.com/authentic-a...llo-jersey , and stands third in the Central. The Wild are 3-0-2 in their last five games but play five of their last seven on the road.
Devan Dubnyk (32-14-6, 2.60, .916), who owns three wins against Nashville this season, should get the call in net. Minnesota will get a fresh face in the lineup with the signing of Boston University standout Jordan Greenway, who had 13 goals and 22 assists this season for the Terriers. He’s expected to make his NHL debut in Nashville.
When Markelle Fultz spent two days in Boston last June visiting the Celtics during the pre-draft process, it felt like home.
He walked the streets downtown and later found himself soaking up the history that clings to the championship banners swaying above the TD Garden court.
”It almost feels like I belong here,” Fultz said at the time.
It turned out to be nothing more than a field trip when the Celtics surprised many and passed on selecting Fultz with the No. 1 overall pick. They instead traded it to the 76ers for the third pick, which they used to grab Jayson Tatum, and a future first-round pick.
Right now it looks like a good move for Boston.
The Celtics have a 1-0 lead over Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Tatum has been a revelation on a team battered by injuries.
Tatum’s role first increased when Gordon Hayward went down with an ankle injury, then again following Kyrie Irving’s knee surgeries late in the season. Tatum has responded to every challenge, averaging 17 points Anders Lee Jersey , five rebounds and three assists in his first postseason.
”I enjoy it,” Tatum said. ”I dreamed of having big moments and having a big role. That obviously came a lot sooner than I thought. I’m just trying to prove that I belong here.”
Fultz is not having nearly as much fun.
He has been reduced to a spectator after a down regular season that saw him go through shooting issues and miss 68 games with a shoulder injury. And this after having his shot dissected during the season.
But he insisted that he hasn’t let any of it frustrate him.
”It didn’t bother me really,” he told The Associated Press. ”I was just happy with the team’s success. That’s all I’m about.”
He finally returned for some game action during the final 10 games of the regular season. But it wasn’t until the final night of the season that he provided his best example to date of the potential that the Sixers spent so much capital to draft.
Fultz looked at ease for the first time in months when at 19 he became the youngest NBA player to record a triple-double, registering 13 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds in a win over Milwaukee.
Yet, while Boston is embracing Tatum, Fultz is still looking to make a meaningful postseason impact.
After playing 24 minutes over the first three games of the first round, Fultz was inactive in the final two games of the Miami series and didn’t play in the opener against the Celtics.
He isn’t only playing behind Rookie of the Year candidate Ben Simmons, but Fultz is also watching T.J. McConnell get minutes.
Sixers coach Brett Brown said the decision to sit Fultz hasn’t come without some second-guessing. He left room for the former Washington Huskies guard to make an appearance in this series.
”It’s my decision to go with T.J.,” Brown said. ”There are times that you for sure think about it. But to say (Fultz is) dead and buried, that’s not true. But I got a decision to make. And I’ve made a decision.
”It doesn’t mean it’s etched in stone. It’s always something you review and think about. And the care for Markelle Fultz and his future is always on my mind.”
Fultz said he’s ready to contribute in whatever way he’s asked.
”Anything for the team, I’m just here Womens Mike Evans Jersey ,” he said. ”Whenever I get an opportunity I’m just going out there and play my hardest.”
After the Celtics beat the Bucks in Game 7 to advance to the semifinals, Tatum was asked what he learned about himself playing in his first playoff series.
”I love what I do,” Tatum said. I love being out there. It’s fun.”
It’s a feeling that, for now at least, Fultz has only gotten in a small dose.
”For me, it’s all an opportunity,” Fultz said. ”When the coaches put me out there, that’s what I’m going to be ready for. Other than that, I’m on the sidelines cheering my teammates on.”

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