The Nashville Predators (9-7-5) will face the San Jose Sharks (9-6-4) for the third time this season, the second time as the home team, with Nashville having won the first two matchups.
Since their last matchup between each other the Predators are 3-4-1 while San Jose is 2-3-1, so both teams have been struggling as of late. On the plus side for the Sharks they have earned three points out of a possible four in the past two games so things might finally be taking a turn for they better.
San Jose will face a goaltender that they have had trouble with this season in Pekka Rinne. How much have the Sharks struggled against him? Well, in two games this season he has stopped .981% of all shots (only one goal allowed) and has an incredible 0.47 goals against average, not to mention his shutout against them. Yup, he has been THAT good.
On the offensive side of things the Predators are led by American-born centerman Colin Wilson who leads the team in goals with five, assists with 10, and points with 15. Winger Martin Erat has three goals and eight assists for 11 total points. Other than them it has been rough going on the offensive side of the puck, although defensemen Mike Fisher and Shea Weber have eight total points. Fisher is second on the team with four goals.
Joe Thornton is currently on a five-game points streak with one goal and four assists in that span. Overall this season he leads the team in points with with 16 and points with 20 on the season. He is also second on the team in +/- rating with a +5, which is one behind team leader Brad Stuart.
Logan Couture, who scored his eighth goal of the season in San Jose’s last game against Detroit, is second on the team in that category behind team leader Patrick Marleau who has 12. Marleau is also second on the team in points with 18.
What To Watch For
In order for San Jose to come out on top in this one, they will have to be patient, but at the same time persistent. They will have to be patient because Nashville is very good at forchecking and in the neutral zone by well bottling you up to take away time and space. Patience is the key here because if you force that pass through the middle of the ice, or up the boards to a forchecker, it could turn into a turnover and a scoring chance at your own net.
At the same time persistence will be key when in the offensive zone, especially with Rinne in net. They will want to get as many pucks and bodies to the net as possible to maximize their chances for scoring chances, and in the end, goals. If they can do that, hopefully they score more than one on him tonight.