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Predators-Sharks Preview

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The Nashville Predators already made their big trade. The San Jose Sharks are hoping a couple of deadline deals can spur them closer to the top.

Two of the Western Conference's best teams try to improve their positioning when the Predators visit the Sharks on Wednesday.

Nashville (42-18-4), owner of the conference's best record, made perhaps the biggest acquisition of the season Feb. 15, acquiring center Peter Forsberg from Philadelphia for two players and two draft picks. A former Hart Trophy winner, Forsberg has been hampered by injuries the last two years but is renowned for his playoff performances, having recorded 162 points in 139 postseason games.

The Sharks (38-24-1) are in the middle of the conference with 77 points, 11 behind the Predators. Seeking to gain on Pacific Division leader Anaheim, which has 84 points, San Jose made two trades in the last couple of days, acquiring forward Bill Guerin from St. Louis and defenseman Craig Rivet from Montreal.

After a lackluster 2005-06 season with Dallas, Guerin rejuvenated his career with the Blues, leading the team with 28 goals and 47 points before waiving his no-trade clause to come to the Sharks. He was acquired just before Tuesday's deadline for winger Ville Nieminen, prospect Jay Barriball and a draft pick.

Two days earlier, San Jose acquired Rivet and a fifth-round pick for defenseman Josh Gorges and a first-round pick.

"I'm thrilled," Guerin said. "This is one of those teams that was on my radar. I am very happy to be going there. You have certain expectations and places that you want to go, so it was easy (to agree to the trade). When it was presented to me, it was a no-brainer."

The Sharks lost 3-2 to Anaheim on Monday night, their second straight defeat and fifth in seven games. San Jose outshot Anaheim 42-19 but couldn't win despite its numerous scoring chances, one reason it made the trade for Guerin.

San Jose has scored only 13 goals in its last seven games, and four of those came in a loss to Calgary.

Forsberg has yet to make much of an impact offensively for the Predators, but the team has started winning again after a slump. After losing six of nine, Nashville has won three of four, including its last two over Detroit and Columbus.

Forsberg had the winning goal and an assist in a 4-3 overtime victory over the Red Wings on Saturday, but he was held pointless in a 4-3 shootout win over the Blue Jackets on Sunday - the fourth time he's failed to record a point in five games with the Predators.

Still, the Predators got a goal from Paul Kariya with and a shootout tally from Alexander Radulov to earn points for the fourth consecutive game.

"I wasn't really happy about the third period," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said after his team was outshot 16-7 in the third and 5-0 in overtime. "I knew this would be a really mentally tough game, because (Saturday) was quite emotional against Detroit, and it was a hard game."

Sunday was the opener of a five-game trip for Nashville, which snapped a four-game road losing streak with the victory.

The Predators have taken two of three from the Sharks this season and six of the last nine, but all of those wins came at home. Nashville has lost five in a row in San Jose since a 4-2 victory on Dec. 7, 2002.

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