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Lindback leads surging Predators against Sharks

by Eric Goodman /
SHARKS (15-10-5) at PREDATORS (15-8-6)

Last 10 --
San Jose 5-4-1; Nashville 6-3-1

Season series --
This is the first of four regular-season meetings between these two teams. The Sharks managed a 3-1-0 record over the Predators for the 2009-10 season and are 8-3-1 against Nashville over the past three seasons. Nashville's last win over San Jose was back on Nov. 17, 2009.

Big Story -- Nashville has been hitting its stride recently, while San Jose is a bit on the cold side as of late. The Preds have two streaks on the line Wednesday as they have won their last three games overall as well as grabbing victories in three consecutive home games. Wednesday will also be the finale of a three-game homestand for the Predators. San Jose is 1-1-1 over its last three contests and Wednesday marks the first of a three-game road trip with stops at Dallas and St. Louis later in the week. 

Team Scope:
Sharks -- While San Jose hasn't been spectacular lately, it still has managed a 4-2-1 record so far this month. But the Sharks have dropped two of their last three games.

San Jose fought hard for only spurts of Monday's 3-2 shootout loss against Dallas in which defenseman Derek Joslin notched the first goal of his three-year NHL career. Despite the defeat, the Sharks appeared satisfied to squeeze out a point against a divisional opponent.

"It was a good divisional game," captain Joe Thornton said. "There was a lot of passion on the ice. It's the kind of game you wish you could play forever."

Predators --
Nashville has been steadily improving this season, although San Jose has historically been a tough draw for the Predators, who are only 3-6-1 against the Sharks in their last 10 meetings -- but eight out of those 10 results were decided by only one goal.

There is no doubt that the Predators have been playing better hockey than the Sharks recently as Nashville has totaled an 11-2 margin of victory over its three-game winning streak, including back-to-back shutouts by rookie goaltender Anders Lindback.

"In the first period I thought we really left him out to dry – especially early," Predators coach Barry Trotz said Monday about his team's lack of support for Lindback against the New York Islanders. "He played really well; I thought it was a difficult night for him."

Who's Hot -- Forward Ryane Clowe is riding a five-game points streak for the Sharks in which he has totaled four goals and five assists. … Lindback's back-to-back shutouts for Nashville are the first in the NHL by a rookie goaltender since the Blue Jackets' Steve Mason did it from Dec. 27-31, 2008.

Injury Report --
For the Sharks, forward Devin Setoguchi and defenseman Kent Huskins are out with upper-body injuries. … Goalie Pekka Rinne (knee) and forwards David Legwand (lower body) and Matthew Lombardi (concussion) are still out for Nashville.

Stat Pack -- The Preds' five total shutouts this season has them tied with the New York Rangers for second most in the NHL.

Puck Drop --
Most NHL rookies are typically reserved and even more so if you are a rookie goalie. However, Lindback had to sing the praises of his teammates in his own quiet way after Monday's victory.

"I feel like the whole team is really stable. We go out every night and all work hard so it's very fun to play," Lindback said.

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