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Game Day: Preds at Sharks

Nashville Heads to the Shark Tank Seeking First Win of Road Trip

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Communications & Content Coordinator

The Nashville Predators head up the California coast tonight as they continue their five-game road trip with a stop in San Jose to face the Sharks at SAP Center. It's Nashville's first visit to the city since their postseason matchup with the Sharks last spring, a series that ultimately ended with a Game Seven defeat.

The Preds (2-4-1) are seeking their first win of the trip; they fell on Wednesday night in Anaheim before earning a point against the Kings on Thursday, a 3-2 loss in overtime.

Viktor Arvidsson, who tallied shorthanded against the Kings on Thursday, leads the Preds in goals and points with four and six, respectively. Mike Fisher has scored three times for the Predators; P.K. Subban and Filip Forsberg have five points apiece. Goaltender Pekka Rinne stopped 42 shots on Thursday night, the fourth most of his career and the highest total in the NHL this season.

San Jose improved to 5-3-0 on the season, including a 3-0-0 mark at home, after a 3-1 victory over Columbus on Thursday. The Sharks are led by Brent Burns and Joe Pavelski, who each have identical stat lines (3g-6a-9pts) through eight games. Tomas Hertl leads the team in goals with four; Joe Thornton has six helpers. Martin Jones is 4-3-0 through his seven starts this season with a .908 save percentage.

Video: Brooks Bratten previews the return to the Shark Tank

As the Preds enter the Shark Tank for the first time this season, here are three things to watch for:

Something to Build On:

Thursday's game in Los Angeles didn't produce a win, but the Preds showed a much better effort than the night before in Anaheim. Nashville forced the Kings to overtime and earned a road point for the first time this season. The Predators talked about improving their physical play, and it showed against the Kings, will all but two Preds skaters registering at least one hit, led by Colton Sissons with five.

The effort leaves a better taste leading into tonight's contest, an encouraging sign for Nashville.

"There's always times in the year when everything goes in, you get the bounces, and sometimes you don't," defenseman Roman Josi said after Thursday's game. "It's all going to even itself out. You can't control that, and all we can control is our effort and I liked that tonight."

Shark Bait:

The Preds have fared well during the recent regular-season matches with San Jose, earning at least a point in seven of the last nine outings, posting a 6-2-1 mark. Forward Calle Jarnkrok is on a three-game goal streak against the Sharks and Ryan Johansen has recorded at least a point in nine of his last 10 regular season games against San Jose (7g-6a).

Familiar Foes:

Nashville and San Jose went the distance in their Round Two series in the postseason last spring, with the Sharks ultimately prevailing in Game Seven. There is certainly no lack of familiarity between the two clubs, and both rosters remain largely unchanged from the previous season. Martin Jones is expected to start in goal for the Sharks against the Preds, a netminder the Preds scored on 17 times in the playoffs. With a small chance at redemption from last season's results, perhaps a game in San Jose is exactly what the Preds could use to get back in the win column.

Projected Lineups: 

Predators Projected Lineup
Filip Forsberg Ryan Johansen Kevin Fiala
Colin Wilson Mike Fisher James Neal
Craig Smith Mike Ribeiro Viktor Arvidsson
Calle Jarnkrok Colton Sissons Austin Watson
Roman Josi Ryan Ellis  
Mattias Ekholm P.K. Subban  
Matt Irwin Yannick Weber Matt Carle
Pekka Rinne Marek Mazanec  
San Jose Projected Lineup
Mikkel Boedker Joe Thornton Joe Pavelski
Joonas Donskoi Logan Couture Joel Ward
Patrick Marleau Tomas Hertl Melker Karlsson
Micheal Haley Chris Tierney Tommy Wingels
Paul Martin Brent Burns  
Marc-Edouard Vlasic Justin Braun  
Brenden Dillon David Schlemko  
Martin Jones Aaron Dell  

Take It In:

Tonight's 9:30 p.m. (CT) start can be seen on Fox Sports Tennessee, with the Predators Live pregame show presented by Nissan beginning at 9 p.m. with Willy Daunic, Stu Grimson and Lyndsay Rowley. On the radio dial, Pete Weber and Brent Peterson have the call on 102.5 The Game and the Predators Radio Network.

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