NHL trade deadline acquisitions make immediate impact on new teams

The arms race in the NHL concluded on Monday, with some of the big winners at the trade deadline including the Predators, Jets, Bruins, Sharks and Lightning. The Lightning weren't in action Tuesday night, but early returns were promising on the new acquisitions for the teams that were playing. J.T. Miller and Ryan McDonagh. Ryan Hartman, Paul Stastny, Rick Nash and Evander Kane all made immediate impacts on their new teams, and the final stretch of the season is shaking up to be an interesting one.

Two of the best teams in the Western Conference's Central division stocked up to compete against each other, and they played each other on Tuesday. The Nashville Predators traded for Hartman, while the Winnipeg Jets acquired Stastny. While the Predators ended up winning 6-5 in an offensive shootout, Stastny scored two points in his Jets debut -- a goal and an assist -- while Hartman scored the game-winner for the Predators late in the third period.

In San Jose, Evander Kane became an immediate contributor as well, picking up two assists in a 5-2 win over the Oilers during a four-goal second period. Kane cited the change of scenery for his inspired play after the game.

"I kind of come from not playing so much meaningful hockey to playing some meaningful hockey," he said, via ESPN. "Obviously, you get a little ramped up and I just tried to change the game in any way I can. It's good to get on the board and contribute offensively and also with some other elements."

Those "other elements" include a few big hits for the Sharks. San Jose has needed to inject a bit more physicality into its game this year, with Brent Burns seeming a bit slower on the ice, but Kane is here to provide offense. He did just that in his debut.

Finally, it wasn't Rick Nash's debut with the Bruins, but his performance was congruent with the excellent performance of the other new acquisitions. Nash scored a goal in the Bruins' 4-3 overtime win over the Hurricanes, as the Bruins got their first look at life without Patrice Bergeron. Center Riley Nash, who was supposed to be on the second line, scored a goal of his own on an assist from Tommy Wingels, another trade deadline acquisition.

It was a night of new faces around the league, and a lot of teams showed that they were serious about gearing up for a Stanley Cup run. The Predators, Bruins and Sharks all won their respective games, while the Jets played well enough to beat most teams but were just outshot by the Predators. It's shaping up to be an exciting postseason in the NHL, and teams made a concerted effort to just go for it.

After the Lightning play the Sabres tonight, we'll see how the acquisition of McDonagh and Miller bolsters that team. But if last night was any indication, the Bruins have no plans to fold in the East while they wait for Bergeron to heal up, and the Lightning will need all of the support they can get.

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