NASHVILLE -- The Pittsburgh Penguins sent forward James Neal to the Nashville Predators on Friday in exchange for forwards Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling. The addition of Neal signals the Predators emphasis on boosting their offence under new coach Peter Laviolette as they attempt to return to the playoffs after a two-year absence. The Predators have had a reputation as a defence-oriented team for virtually the franchises entire history. The 26-year-old Neal had 27 goals and 34 assists in 59 games for the Penguins this season, which marked the sixth straight year he scored at least 20 goals. Neal scored 40 goals in 2011-12 and had 21 goals in only 40 games during the 2012-13 season. He has 161 career goals and 154 assists in 413 career regular-season games, and has been a force on power plays. Neal had been with the Penguins since 2010 after beginning his career with the Dallas Stars. Hornqvist, 27, had 22 goals and 31 assists in 76 games this season, which marked the fourth time in his career he reached the 20-goal mark. He has 106 goals and 110 assists in 363 career regular-season games, all with Nashville. Hornqvists best season came in 2009-10, when he scored a career-high 30 goals. "In this deal, we got to drop our cap a little bit with Hornqvist," Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said. "We like Hornqvist as an all-around player. Hornqvist plays at the net, goes to the net, works the corners. We like his all-around play." Spaling, 25, had 13 goals and 19 assists in 71 games for Nashville this season. He has 40 goals and 44 assists in 207 career regular-season games. "We like Spalding, he can play all three positions on the third line," Rutherford said. "I think we were just trying to change the mix of our team a little bit and get a little different type player." Eric Ebron Jersey
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. "Last year didnt go the way we wanted it to, but we need to look at what went well and what didnt go so well. Hopefully this year we will be better," Brendan Gallagher said after practice. This year, the Canadiens have a little more depth to work with by adding players like Daniel Briere, Dale Weise, Mike Weaver, Douglas Murray and arguably, the biggest addition to this playoff roster, Thomas Vanek, who the Canadiens were able to land at the trade deadline.ATLANTA - Gerrit Cole was so focused on recording 17 consecutive outs, he didnt glance at the out-of-town scoreboard.Cole insisted he didnt know his win over Atlanta had clinched a playoff spot for Pittsburgh until he walked into the clubhouse and saw the lockers covered in plastic.The surging Pirates earned their second straight trip to the post-season with a 3-2 victory over the free-falling Braves on Tuesday night.Cole gave up two runs in the first two innings and then didnt allow another baserunner.The Pirates win combined with Milwaukees loss to Cincinnati assured Pittsburgh of no worse than an NL wild card.I didnt have any idea until I came in here, Cole said.Pittsburgh also moved within 1 1/2 games of NL Central leader St. Louis, which lost to the Chicago Cubs in 10 innings.The Pirates wrapped up their post-season berth exactly one year after clinching a place in the 2013 playoffs to end a 21-year drought.I think it establishes our presence in this league that were not going to go away, Cole said.The Pirates reacted to the final out on Tuesday with little emotion. Players exchanged high-fives in a line on the field before sharing hugs in front of their dugout. The emotions flowed with champagne and beer in the clubhouse.Andrew McCutchen, last years NL MVP and a contender again this season, wore big ski goggles as he held a bottle of champagne in one hand and lit a big victory cigar.McCutchen, who had two hits and scored the go-ahead run in the sixth, already had his focus on bigger goals.To celebrate is fun, but weve still got to take care of business, he said.Starling Marte gave Pittsburgh the lead with a sixth-inning double that drove in McCutchen.The Pirates have won 11 of 13.We didnt panic, McCutchen said. Thats whats good about this team.Cole (11-5) trailed 2-0 after two innings but didnt allow another runner through seven innings. That allowed the Pirates to rally against Alex Wood (11-11).Travis Sniders 12th homer tied the game in the fifth.Cole allowed two runs and four hits with eight strikeouts.Jared Hughes pitched a scoreless eighth. Left-hander Tony Watson gave up a one-out single to Phil Gosselin in the ninth, but he got Freddie Freeman to hit into a game-ending double play to earn his second save.The Braves, who firedd general manager Frank Wren on Monday, are 4-16 in September.dddddddddddd Atlanta (76-81) has lost five straight to fall five games under .500 for the first time since May 9, 2010.Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he admired the Pirates determined approach at the plate.These guys, they stick their nose in there offensively and they dont give at-bats away. They put the ball in play and they get some results, Gonzalez said.Atlanta loaded the bases with no outs in the second but managed only one run when Andrelton Simmons grounded into a double play. Jason Heyward, who led off the inning with a walk, scored from third.The double play was the key to Coles turnaround.There was something missing in the first couple of innings, Cole said. Luckily, they made some good plays behind me. The double play was huge. We knew we were going to come back and score a few.It was about outs, and we turned a great double play. Then we just got in a rhythm and just kept going.DROUGHT-BREAKER:The Braves scored a first-inning run for the first time since Aug. 27. Freemans double to the right-field wall drove in Gosselin. Freeman was thrown out trying to advance to third base.The run ended a streak of 23 scoreless innings by Pirates starting pitchers.THE CATCH:Simmons added to his already lengthy list of defensive highlights at shortstop in the third inning. He made a leaping grab of Josh Harrisons line drive before landing hard on his chest. He also banged his nose and face to the ground, but held onto the ball as Wood expressed astonishment on the mound.TRAINERS ROOM:Pirates: RHP Charlie Morton has been shut down. He hasnt pitched since he felt discomfort in his groin and midsection late in his five innings of work in a victory over Boston on Sept. 16.Braves: LHP Mike Minor has left shoulder inflammation and has been shut down for the remainder of the season. RHP David Hale will take Minors spot in the rotation on Thursday against the Pirates.UP NEXT:Pirates: LHP Jeff Locke (7-5) is scheduled to face the Braves for the first time this season on Wednesday night. Locke received two no-decisions against Atlanta last season.Braves: RHP Julio Teheran (13-13) will try to match his career high with his 14th win. Teheran was 14-8 for Atlanta in 2013. Wholesale Jerseys China Wholesale Jerseys Free Shipping NFL Jerseys Cheap Wholesale Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Cheap Jerseys 2019 China Jerseys
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