(29-21-8) San Jose Sharks vs. Nashville Predators (38-12-6)
7 P.M. | Bridgestone Arena
TV: FS-TN | Radio: 102.5 The Game | Nissan Pregame 6:30 P.M. Tickets
The Nashville Predators are set to play in their final contest of a four-game home stand tonight at Bridgestone Arena as the San Jose Sharks come to town. The Preds are 3-0-0 on the current stretch of home matchups, continuing to own the best home record in the League at 24-3-1.
Tonight marks the second of three meetings between the Preds and Sharks this season; Nashville fell 2-0 in San Jose back in December.
General Manager David Poile had a busy weekend, making a trade with Toronto on Sunday morning to acquire defenseman Cody Franson and forward Mike Santorelli from the Maple Leafs in exchange for forward Olli Jokinen, prospect Brendan Leipsic and Nashville's first-round pick in 2015. Both originally drafted by Nashville, Franson and Santorelli are set to begin their second stints with the Predators. It's still unclear as to whether or not the two will be available tonight however, as there are still immigration issues to be worked out.
Franson has 32 points on the season (6g,26a), giving the Preds three blueliners within the League's Top 20 defensemen in scoring. With the addition of Franson and Santorelli (11g-18a-29pts), the Preds now have 10 players who have scored 10 or more goals this season.
Pekka Rinne, who stopped 21 of 22 Devils shots on Saturday night, was named the NHL's Third Star of the Week by the NHL for the week ending Feb. 15. Rinne went 3-0-0 last week and is 14-1-1 in his last 16 games. The Finnish netminder leads the League in goals-against average (1.97) and is second in save percentage (.931). His 33 wins this season tops the NHL.
Filip Forsberg, who has 11 points (4g-7a) in his last 12 games, is tied for the team lead in goals (19) and leads the team in points with 50 this season. Among League rookies, Forsberg maintains the top spot in goals, assists and points, just to name a few.
James Neal tallied his 19th goal of the season on Thursday against Winnipeg, tying him for first on the team in goals and putting him one shy of recording his seventh-straight, 20-goal season.
Joe Pavelski leads the Sharks in points this season with 52, just one point ahead of Joe Thornton and Logan Couture, who each have 51 points to their credit. Pavelski's 31 goals lead the team in that category, while Thornton's 39 helpers are a team-high.
Antti Niemi has appeared in 44 games this season for San Jose, posting a 23-14-7 record to go along with a 2.63 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage. The Sharks are 15-10-3 away from home this season, but are just 1-3-1 in their last five outings.
The Predators have picked up points in 12 of their last 15 contests with the Sharks, posting a 9-3-3 record in those games. Nashville is 7-3-1 in the series since the beginning of the 2011-12 campaign.
Predators Game Day Video:What to Watch for: Stu and Willy's Breakdown
Coach Presser: Head Coach Peter Laviolette
Morning Skate Update:
The Predators did not hold a morning skate prior to tonight's contest against San Jose. Head Coach Peter Laviolette addressed the media and says it's "unlikely" that the Preds new acquisitions, defenseman Cody Franson and forward Mike Santorelli, will be available for tonight's game, as the two are still dealing with immigration-related issues.
Nashville Projected Lines:
Wilson - Ribeiro - Neal
Cullen - Fisher - Smith
Forsberg - Jarnkrok - Beck
Nystrom - Gaustad - Bourque
Josi - Weber
Volchenkov - Jones
Ekholm - Bartley
San Jose Projected Lines:
Karlsson - Thornton - Pavelski
Marleau - Couture - Nieto
Hertl - Tierney - Wingels
Desjardins - Sheppard - Goodrow
Vlasic - Burns
Irwin - Tennyson
Dillon - Hannan