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    March 22, 2019 7:15 AM GMT
    NASHVILLE Womens Niklas Hjalmarsson Jersey , Tenn. (AP) The Nashville Predators already sit atop the NHL standings, and now they’ve added another offensive boost before the playoffs.General manager David Poile announced Thursday that the team had signed forward Eeli Tolvanen of Finland, the 30th pick overall last year, to an entry-level contract. Poile credited Tolvanen’s agent, Jay Grossman, with being in Nashville to finalize the last details in time for Tolvanen to be on the ice with the Predators at their morning skate .”This is a great move obviously for today and our future,” Poile said after reeling off some of Tolvanen’s accomplishments in the past few months. ”He comes in at a great spot right now with six games left in the regular season. It gives us an opportunity to give him a look and gives us that depth that we’re going to need in the playoffs. So this is the end of my paper, but I’d like to add a couple more lines here before the year’s over.”Terms of the contract were not announced.Tolvanen spent two years in the United States Hockey League with the Sioux City Musketeers before opting to go to home to play for Jokerit in Kontinental Hockey League. With 36 points, he set the KHL scoring record for an 18-year-old before Jokerit was eliminated in the second round of the playoffs.He also played for Finland in the 2018 Winter Olympics, where he tied for the second-most points by an under-19 player, with nine points in five games.Poile said that production is proof that Tolvanen should’ve gone a lot earlier than 30th in the draft, where Nashville was surprised to find the 5-foot-10 forward still available.”We were looking for an offensive player, one that can score some goals, and it certainly appears on the surface that we found that out,” Poile said.Tolvanen didn’t arrive in Nashville from Helsinki, Finland Zach Bogosian Jersey Womens , until early Thursday. Coach Peter Laviolette wants Tolvanen to watch Thursday night’s game against the San Jose Sharks and to start picking up Nashville’s system. Having watched the forward the past few months, especially his games at the Olympics, Laviolette said he sees a smart player with great offensive instincts.”We hope that that translates here,” Laviolette said. ”We think it will.”Tolvanen’s NHL debut is likely to occur Saturday night when the Predators face the Buffalo Sabres to wrap up a three-game home stand. Tolvanen said he has played on a lot of new teams recently, which should ease his transition. He also credited playing with former NHL players at the Olympics with helping him as well.Joining a team that had an NHL-best 109 points going into Thursday night also doesn’t hurt.”I know they’re a really good team, so it’s easy to jump in,” Tolvanen said. ”There’s a lot of good players, and they’re going to push me forward. I think that’s a good thing for me.”Jokerit coach Jukka Jalonen told The Associated Press that the team is looking forward to what happens with Tolvanen in the NHL. Jalonen said he expects Tolvanen to need time to get used to better opponents and bigger defensemen.”After two, three weeks, a few games, I think he will make an impression there,” Jalonen said.Matching expectations that have grown with every video highlight shared on social media might be a challenge even for Tolvanen. The teen debuted in the KHL with a hat trick on Aug. 23 for Jokerit.Poile thanked Jokerit general manager and Hockey Hall of Famer Jari Kurri for his help in getting Tolvanen to Nashville. Kurri told the AP that the timing is perfect for Tolvanen to join the NHL with so many young players, especially fellow Finns like Patrik Laine of Winnipeg and Sebastian Aho of Carolina, doing well in the league right now.”That will really help him,” Kurri told the AP by phone.—AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno contributed to this report.— CHICAGO (AP) Jean-Francois Berube had a good time in his return to the NHL – at the San Jose Sharks expense.Berube made 42 saves in his first start for Chicago and the Blackhawks beat the San Jose Sharks 3-1 on Friday night.”It was fun,” Berube said. ”I’m just going out there and enjoying the moment.”The 26-year-old Berube Scott Wedgewood Jersey Womens , recalled from Rockford of the AHL last week, appeared in one previous game for Chicago this season in relief of Anton Forsberg on Dec. 6. He hadn’t started in the NHL since Feb. 19, 2017, as a member of the New York Islanders.”It’s been a while,” Berube said. ”I felt comfortable from the moment the puck was dropped. Just have to build on it, keep working on little details and try to improve my game as much as possible.”Nick Schmaltz had a goal and assist on his 22nd birthday. Defenseman Jan Rutta, activated from injured reserve Friday also scored, and Artem Anisimov added an empty-netter with 30.5 seconds left.Anthony Duclair had two assists for the Blackhawks. They won their second straight and third in four games following an eight-game losing streak that dropped them to last place in the Central Division.Berube lost a bid for this first NHL shutout when Timo Meier scored his 15th goal on a screened shot with 7:51 left in the third period.Chicago has sunk since No. 1 goalie Crawford went out with an upper-body injury on Dec. 23. Although the Blackhawks are all but eliminated from the playoffs, Berube’s performance provided a lift.”In this game it’s tough to win without your goalie being good,” coach Joel Quenneville said. ”Berubs did a really good job in the net, looked really patient, square.”Signed by the Blackhawks as a free agent in July, Berube played his 23rd game in the NHL. He appeared in 21 games with the Islanders over the two previous seasons.Martin Jones stopped 33 shots for the Sharks, coming off a 7-1 loss at Nashville on Thursday night.The Sharks and Blackhawks, long-time Western Conference rivals, met for the first of three games this season.”You know Conor Sheary Jersey Womens , we had the shots, the looks,” said San Jose forward Joe Pavelski, who hit the post twice with shots. ”I think at times we didn’t get enough bodies to the net, which is something we’re addressing a little bit here and there.”Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said his team got what it deserved, regardless of who was in net for Chicago.”If you’re insinuation is that this is a gimme for us because they’ve got an inexperienced goalie in net, that’s ridiculous,” DeBoer said. ”Every team you play has a chance to beat anyone on any given night.”San Jose outshot Chicago 15-11 in the scoreless first. Pavelski fired a shot off the right post 6:20 in, and Mikkel Boedker was stopped by Berube from the slot with just over 5 minutes left in the period.Rutta opened the scoring at 5:46 of the period with his sixth goal. After taking Duclair’s feed from the goal line, Rutta shot from the right circle. San Jose’s Melker Karlsson blocked that attempt, but Rutta jumped on the loose puck and fired it in.Jones made a couple of nifty saves – on Duclair and Patrick Kane – later in the second to keep it close.Schmaltz made it 2-0 at 2:01 of the third with his 17th goal as Chicago pounced on a San Jose turnover.After Boedker couldn’t handle Justin Braun’s pass in the San Jose slot, Duclair whipped the puck to Schmaltz who fired in a one-timer from the left circle.Berube made close-in saves on Logan Couture and Jannik Hansen – and Pavelski hit the post again – before Meier cut it to 2-1 at 12:09 of the third.Meier connected on a drive from the high slot with Pavelski and Chicago defenseman Jordan Oesterle screening Berube.NOTES: The Sharks had only one brief power play Friday and have gone eight games and 19 chances without converting a man advantage. … Rutta hadn’t played since Feb. 6. He missed seven games with an undisclosed injury and sat out a game before being hurt. … Linesman Steve Miller was hit in the mid-section by a puck 4:51 into the third and crumpled to the ice. After being tended to by Blackhawks trainer Mike Gapski, Miller remained in the game.UP NEXTSharks: At Minnesota on Sunday night in final of four-game trip.Blackhawks: At Columbus on Saturday night.