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Predators seek California sweep against Sharks

by Dan Rosen /
PREDATORS (21-13-6) at SHARKS (21-15-5)


Last 10 --
Nashville 5-5-0; San Jose 6-4-0

Season series --
Second of four meetings between the Predators and Sharks this season. Nashville beat San Jose 3-2 on Dec. 15 in Tennessee.

Big story -- Nashville is trending up while San Jose has hit a bit of a bump. The Predators have won four in a row since snapping a five-game losing streak on New Year's Eve in Minnesota. The Sharks have lost two straight and four of their last six since a four-game winning streak that started right after they lost in Nashville. San Jose has only four goals in its last three games while the Predators have scored 17 over their four-game winning streak.

Team Scope:

Predators -- They are looking to complete a California sweep with a win at HP Pavilion. The Predators beat the Ducks (4-1) on Wednesday and the Kings (5-2) on Thursday. The win over L.A. put them fourth in the Western Conference on Friday with 48 points. Saturday's game will be their 23rd road game this season and they are already 12-9-1. They've played only 18 games at home, where they're 9-4-5. Thursday's win at Staples Center was impressive because they rallied from a 2-0 deficit with three goals in the second period and two more in the third. Patric Hornqvist scored twice, giving him 5 goals in his last four games. Colin Wilson had his first three-point night in the NHL with a goal and 2 assists.

"It definitely gives us confidence to make a rally like that," Wilson said after Thursday's win. "It puts us in a great mindset coming out of here with a win in the way we did it. It's a big boost of confidence on the road."

Sharks -- They're looking to come away with something out of this short three-game homestand. San Jose lost to Vancouver (4-3) on Monday and three nights later Buffalo came into the Shark Tank and took a 3-0 victory home. The crowd booed at times as the Sharks were shut out on home ice for the second time in their last three games at HP Pavilion. It was the third time they were blanked at home this season, equaling their home shutouts from the past three seasons combined. Alternate captain Ryane Clowe ripped into his team following the loss to Vancouver, saying he guaranteed guys weren't tired after that game, but the message apparently didn't get through.

"I sat in that locker room and listened to a group of players and the coaches talk about their team and how important starts were and how we're going to come prepared -- and we get that?" coach Todd McLellan said in the San Jose Mercury News. "That was pretty disappointing."

Who's hot --
Wilson has three multiple-point games over the last five. Hornqvist has three straight multiple-point games. Predators captain Shea Weber has 2 goals and 8 points over the last four games.

Injury report --
Sharks center Joe Pavelski has missed the last four games with a lower-body injury. He could possibly return for Saturday's game, but it's questionable at best. … Nashville is still without Matthew Lombardi (concussion), Martin Erat (upper body), Steve Sullivan (lower body) and Cal O'Reilly (broken fibula).

Stat pack --
Hornqvist has scored the game-winning goal in three of the last four games and has four game-winning goals this season. Eight of his 13 goals have come in the second period. … The Predators are 7-0-0 when Weber scores a goal. … The good news continues for the Predators as Sergei Kostitsyn is on a career-best four-game goal scoring streak. He has points in five straight games (4-4-8).

Puck drop --
McLellan was clearly steamed after Thursday's 3-0 loss to Buffalo. Here is what he said according to the San Jose Mercury News about the three goals the Sabres scored:

"We work on net play (Wednesday) and we give up the first one because we're soft. The second one, we cheat. And the third one, we must have spent 10 or 15 minutes in practice working on that exact play and it comes back to bite us.

"When you're sloppy defensively, you usually don't execute offensively. If you're not committed at one end, very seldom are you rewarded at the other. And that was the case (Thursday)."

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