The San Jose Sharks (7-3-2) take on the Nashville Predators (5-3-4) for the second time this season, this time at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
The Predators lost their last game on February 10th to the Chicago Blackhawks by getting shutting with the final score being 3-0. It was their second loss in a row after they had gone on a four-game winning streak. The Nashville Predators have already lost four games in overtime this season and have needed extra time in two other games to decide a winner.
The Sharks are coming off of a pretty bad loss last night in Columbus where they were outplayed in all facets of the game. Thomas Greiss had his worst start of the season for the Sharks as well and tonight Anti Niemi will be back in net.
They will be looking to get back on the right track this evening against a Predators team that they lost to earlier on in the season. They ran into Pekka Rinne who made 26 saves and was definitely the difference in that game, especially in the shootout. Round two between the two goalies promises to be just as good and I expect another low scoring affair.
Nashville is led by Colin Wilson and Martin Erat who both have three goals and four assists on the season. Right behind them is winger Brandon Yip who has two goals and three assists for a total of five points. Defenseman Kevin Klein also has five points this season (one goal, four assists) and leads the team with a +5.
And of course there is the always good Pekka Rinne who is 4-3-3 with a 1.92 goals against average and a .929 save percentage, which are sixth and eigth in the league respectively. His conterpart on the Sharks, Antti Niemi, has even better numbers this season with his 1.82 goals against and .933 save percentage both ranking fifth best in the league in their categories. Like I said, expect another low scoring game.
San Jose brings a sputtering offense to the game that has only scored eight goals in it’s last five games. The good news is that Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton were able to break their five game pointless streaks against Columbus so hopefully they are headed in the right direction, but those two cannot be relied on for points every game.
Couture and Pavelski has been there sometimes, but San Jose will need points from all four lines the way things are going on offense. At least for now Niemi should be able to keep the Sharks good on the back end while the offense figures it out.