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Predators-Sharks Preview @NHLdotcom

GAME: Nashville Predators (37-19-7) at San Jose Sharks (29-23-9).

TIME: Saturday, 4 p.m. EST.

The Nashville Predators go for a third straight win to close their road trip when they take on the San Jose Sharks.

Nashville lost 3-2 to the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday in the opener of this trip, but has won its last two games by the same score.

Two nights after beating the Calgary Flames, the Predators defeated the Vancouver Canucks on David Legwand's goal 6 seconds into overtime on Thursday.

Legwand, who has played in just five games after missing 32 because of knee surgery, also scored two goals Tuesday against Calgary.

"It's starting to come around now and feel better and stronger," he said.

The Predators, whose 81 points are third-most in the Western Conference, have climbed within eight points of Detroit for the Central Division lead. Following this contest, Nashville begins a four-game homestand on Tuesday against Vancouver.

The Sharks played the first of six straight home games on Thursday, ending a three-game losing streak with a 5-2 victory over the Oilers.

The win moved San Jose within six points of Edmonton for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

"We've got a great homestand," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. "If we win our games, we'll be right in the middle of (the playoff race)."

The Sharks got a boost from new acquisition Ville Nieminen, acquired from the New York Rangers on Wednesday for a third-round draft pick. He earned a loud ovation from the crowd with a second-period display in which he flattened Edmonton's Ryan Smyth and Shawn Horcoff before blocking a shot.

Rookies Steve Bernier and Milan Michalek also provided a big lift. Bernier scored two third-period goals and Michalek had a goal and two assists.

"The young guys with the way they're competing, they're really hungry," Wilson said. "That's what you need at this point in the season. Not guys who are afraid to fail, but guys that go out there and compete really hard."

STANDINGS: Predators - 81 points, 2nd place, 8 PB, Central Division. Sharks - 67 points, 4th place, 18 PB, Pacific Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Predators - Steve Sullivan, 28 goals; Paul Kariya, 41 assists and 61 points; Darcy Hordichuk, 113 PIM. Sharks - Jonathan Cheechoo, 36 goals; Joe Thornton, 65 assists and 90 points; Mark Smith, 81 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Predators - Power play: 18.3 percent (72 for 394), 10th in NHL. Penalty killing: 85.1 percent (343 for 403), 5th. Sharks - Power play: 17.8 percent (66 for 371), 16th (tied). Penalty killing: 81.2 percent (246 for 303), 20th (tied).

GOALTENDERS: Predators - Tomas Vokoun (31-14-6, 2 SO, 2.58 GAA); Chris Mason (5-4-1, 3.23). Sharks - Evgeni Nabokov (14-16-7, 1, 2.98); Vesa Toskala (10-6-2, 2.94).

SEASON SERIES: Predators, 2-1.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 2, 2005; Sharks, 3-2 (OT). At San Jose, Calif., Marleau's third-period goal forced overtime and Alyn McCauley scored the game-winner for the Sharks.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Predators - 14-13-6 on the road; Sharks - 18-7-5 at home.

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