Skip to Main Content

Predators start California swing in San Jose

by Mike G. Morreale

PREDATORS (36-25-5) at SHARKS (42-14-9)

Last 10 -- Predators (5-4-1); Sharks (6-4-0)

Season series -- This is the fourth and final meeting between the clubs this season -- San Jose holds a 2-1-0 series edge. Every game has been decided by just one goal. Dany Heatley scored his second power-play goal of the game at 11:57 of the third period to give the Sharks a 4-3 decision in the most recent meeting at Nashville on Feb. 6.

Big story -- The Predators began a four-game road trip on Tuesday without the services of defensemen Denis Grebeshkov (lower-body) and Shea Weber (upper-body). That prompted the organization to recall Alexander Sulzer -- for the seventh time this season -- from the team's AHL affiliate in Milwaukee. The Predators still got it done, hanging on for a 2-1 victory over the Thrashers in Atlanta.

"We have six (defensemen)," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "That means everybody is going to have to step in. Everybody is going to have to bring their 'A' game as a group, and that means forward, (defensemen) and goaltenders."

Team Scope

Predators -- Ryan Suter and Colin Wilson scored goals in the first period and goalie Dan Ellis made 30 saves to lead the Predators to a 2-1 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers on Tuesday. The win was the 400th in the career of coach Barry Trotz -- making him just the seventh coach in League history to amass 400 victories with one team.

"To be with one team and do it, that would be the last thing I ever would have thought of,'' Trotz said. "I know when I got the job in Nashville, I was just trying to be the coach for the year.''

Sharks -- Center Scott Nichol was back on the ice practicing with his team on Monday after suffering a shoulder injury against the Montreal Canadiens last week. Nichol skated on his own and shot the puck but didn't take part in any contact drills with the team. Nichol, one of the NHL's top faceoff men and penalty-killers, is expected to be sidelined another 7-10 days.

"I went out there and tested it a little bit, kind of got my legs under me," Nichol said. "It's coming around. It hasn't been a week yet and my expectations are it's a lot better than I ever thought it would be."

Who's hot -- Sharks forward Patrick Marleau has 14 goals and 25 points in the last 24 games. Marleau won a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2010 Olympics, posting 2 goals and 5 points while unleashing a team-tying 28 shots in seven games in the tournament. … Nashville rookie Colin Wilson has five points in his last nine games (3 goals, 2 assists) since being recalled on Feb. 9. He had the game-winner against the Thrashers.

Injury report -- The Predators are without Grebeshkov (lower body), while Weber (upper body) is questionable. For the Sharks, Nichol (shoulder) is out.

Stat pack -- The Predators have eight players with 30 or more points -- only Washington (10), Chicago (9) and Philadelphia (9) have more.

Puck drop -- The Sharks, who are playing their first game in five days, began the week first in the Western Conference with 93 points -- two ahead of Chicago. Nashville is seventh in the conference with 77 points -- three behind Colorado and two ahead of eighth-seeded Calgary. Following a three-game swing through California, the Predators play seven of their next nine at home to close out March.

View More