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At the Rink: Sharks at Predators

by Robby Stanley

NASHVILLE – Nashville Predators coach Peter Laviolette said it is unlikely that defenseman Cody Franson and forward Mike Santorelli will be in the lineup against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.

Franson and Santorelli were traded from the Toronto Maple Leafs to the Predators on Sunday but have not been able to reach Nashville because of immigration issues.

Nashville defensemen Anton Volchenkov and Ryan Ellis are listed as day-to-day with lower-body injuries. It's possible that one of them would play if Franson isn't able to get to Nashville.

The Predators changed their forward lines in a 3-1 win against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday to add more balance to the lineup. They spent a lot of time in the offensive zone and will likely go with the same lines against the Sharks.

"I thought the game was really good for us," Laviolette said. "Our best game in a while. We were fast and we were on the attack for most of the night. It was certainly worth looking at again and the way we played the game that night, I was real happy with."

San Jose defenseman Justin Braun will return against Nashville after missing 11 games with an injury to his left hand. Braun was paired with Brenden Dillon at the morning skate and is excited to get back on the ice.

"I'm looking forward to it," Braun said. "It's been a long time off. I just want to kind of get back to playing well and getting back with [Dillon], and getting the tandem going again."

San Jose defeated Nashville 2-0 at SAP Center in the previous game this season. Forwards Tomas Hertl and Joe Thornton scored for San Jose, and goaltender Antti Niemi made 29 saves for the shutout.

"I thought for the first two periods we were aggressive and controlled some of the play," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "I thought in the third we saw more of what Nashville regularly is with their real strong pinch coming down on pucks and the ability to cover for each other because they skate so well. I would expect from them more of that type of game tonight."

Goaltender Alex Stalock will start for San Jose. He has a 2.68 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage this season. Stalock's save percentage is .838 in his past six appearances.

"[Stalock] has been put in a couple of situations that haven't been ideal in his last six appearances," McLellan said. "I think he came in relief in St. Louis and our team was just red rotten that night, but his numbers should be better than that."

Here are the projected lineups:


Melker KarlssonJoe ThorntonJoe Pavelski

Patrick MarleauLogan CoutureMatthew Nieto

Tomas HertlChris TierneyTommy Wingels

Tyler KennedyJames SheppardBarclay Goodrow

Marc-Edouard VlasicBrent Burns

Brenden DillonJustin Braun

Matt IrwinScott Hannan

Alex Stalock

Antti Niemi

Scratched: Andrew Desjardins, John Scott, Mirco Mueller

Injured: Raffi Torres (knee), Mike Brown (right leg), Tye McGinn (upper body), Daniil Tarasov (undisclosed)


Colin WilsonMike RibeiroJames Neal

Matt CullenMike FisherCraig Smith

Filip ForsbergCalle JarnkrokTaylor Beck

Eric NystromPaul GaustadGabriel Bourque

Roman JosiShea Weber

Mattias EkholmSeth Jones

Victor Bartley

Pekka Rinne

Carter Hutton

Scratched: Viktor Stalberg, Cody Franson, Mike Santorelli

Injured: Anton Volchenkov (lower body), Ryan Ellis (lower body)

Status report: Kennedy was on the fourth line at the morning skate in place of Desjardins. … Stalock was the first goaltender off the ice. … Defenseman Matt Tennyson was assigned to the Worcester Sharks of the American Hockey League. … The Predators did not hold a morning skate.

Who's hot: Pavelski has three goals and two assists in his past four games and leads the Sharks with 52 points. … Weber has four points in his past two games.

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