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Game Day: Preds vs. Sharks

by Thomas Willis & Brooks Bratten / Nashville Predators

(6-1-1) Nashville Predators vs. San Jose Sharks (5-3-0)
  9:30 P.M. (CT) | SAP Center | #NSHvsSJS
TV: NBCSN | Radio: 102.5 The Game


The Nashville Predators are back on the road tonight, stopping in San Jose to take on the Sharks for the first time this season. The visit to Silicon Valley is the first of four outings on Nashville's road trip, with dates against Los Angeles, Anaheim and Minnesota yet to come.

The extended road trip for the Preds is required to accommodate the Country Music Association Awards, which are held at Bridgestone Arena. The Preds went 4-2-0 during last season's CMA Trip.
 
The Predators fell 2-1 in overtime to Pittsburgh in their most recent contest, giving them a 6-1-1 record; they have earned points in seven out of their eight games on the season thus far. San Jose defeated Carolina 5-2 on Saturday night after dropping their previous three. The Sharks sit at 5-3-0 entering tonight's game.

“We’ll go slow with it; it’s important to make sure that we’re just ready one game at a time," Head Coach Peter Laviolette said of the road trip. "Last time we went into San Jose, they had a whole lot of speed that we had a hard time handling early in the game. We played a heck of a third period but it was too little too late, so we've got to be ready to play right off the bat.”

The Preds carry a 6-0 goal differential in first periods this season and have scored the game's first goal in seven of eight, including three goals within the first 10 minutes. Entering Tuesday's action, Nashville is one of only two NHL clubs who are yet to surrender a goal in the opening frame, along with the Montreal Canadiens.

Forward James Neal is currently on a five-game point streak, having posted six goals, three assists and 24 shots over that span. This is the first time Neal has posted a point streak of at least five games as a member of the Predators. Neal's longest point streak of his career is eight games, which he accomplished from Dec. 8-27, 2011 (7g-4a).

Forward Mike Ribeiro is also on a streak of his own, having recorded points in his last four games (1g-4a). Through the first eight games of the season, 17 different Preds have registered at least one point. Neal's nine points lead the team, followed by Ribeiro (1g-5a) and Filip Forsberg (2g-4a) with six each.

Pekka Rinne has started seven games for the Preds this season, allowing two goals or fewer in five of those outings. Rinne is 5-1-1 with a 1.84 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage.

Former Preds forward Joel Ward leads the Sharks in points with eight (5g-3a), including a hat trick against the Hurricanes on Saturday. Joe Pavelski (3g-4a), Joe Thornton (2g-4a) and Patrick Marleau (3g-2a) are also familiar names helping to lead the offensive charge in San Jose. Martin Jones has seen a bulk of the action in net for the Sharks, going 5-2-0 with a 1.69 goals-against average and a .940 save percentage.

The Predators posted a 1-2-0 record against the Sharks last season, dropping both games at SAP Center (both 2-0 shutout losses). All time, Nashville has a 28-25-8 record against the Sharks.


Predators Game Day Video:

Preds Player Interview: Mike Fisher


What to Watch for: Pete and Brent Preview


Projected Lineups:

Nashville Predators*:

Forwards
Filip Forsberg Mike Fisher James Neal
Colin Wilson Mike Ribeiro Craig Smith
Gabriel Bourque Cody Hodgson Calle Jarnkrok
Eric Nystrom Paul Gaustad Austin Watson
Defense
Roman Josi Shea Weber
Barret Jackman Seth Jones
Mattias Ekholm Ryan Ellis

i

Goaltenders: Pekka Rinne is the expected starter in net with Carter Hutton serving as the backup.

Extra: (D) Victor Bartley, (F) Miikka Salomaki

*Forward lines via The Tennessean's Adam Vingan


San Jose Sharks*:

Forwards
Joonas Donskoi Joe Thornton Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau Tomas Hertl Joel Ward
Matt Nieto Chris Tierney Tommy Wingels
Barclay Goodrow Ben Smith Mike Brown
Defense
Marc-Edouard Vlasic Justin Bruan
Paul Martin Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon Matt Tennyson

i

Goaltenders: Martin Jones is the expected starter in net with Alex Stalock serving as the backup.

*Lines via SanJoseSharks.com

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