Fresh off a sweep through the province of Alberta, the Nashville Predators return home tonight with a five-game win streak intact as they host the San Jose Sharks. It's the first of three meetings between the two clubs this season; the Preds will head to the Bay Area two times before the campaign is out.
The Predators are off to one of their best starts in franchise history with a 7-1-0 record. The lone blemish came during their home opener two weeks ago, but since then, they've rattled off five consecutive victories, outscoring their opponents by a combined tally of 20-7 in the process.
With Erik Karlsson and the Sharks in town, the Preds believe tonight's contest may be their toughest test of the young season.
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"For me, right now, they're one of the top teams in the League," Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette said of the Sharks. "Their record is probably not where it should be based on how they've played. They're just a really high-powered team, they have the puck a lot, they're in your end a lot and they're capable of exploding… Looking at the opponent coming in here, it's going to be tough."
It's expected Nashville goaltender Juuse Saros will make consecutive starts for the first time in his NHL career with netminder Pekka Rinne on Injured Reserve and slated to miss at least the next two games. Saros owns a 4-0-0 record already, including a shutout over the Oilers on Saturday.
Video: Saros, Predators shut out Oilers, 3-0
Last Time Out:
Nashville defeated Edmonton for the 13th consecutive time as they earned a 3-0 win over the Oilers. P.K. Subban scored the first shorthanded goal of his career, while Viktor Arvidsson and Roman Josi also tallied in the win.
Filip Forsberg continues to lead the Preds with five goals and eight points, followed by Ryan Johansen and Mattias Ekholm with identical stat lines (2g-5a). Arvidsson has found the back of the net on four occasions, while Craig Smith has three goals.
San Jose is 4-3-1 through eight contests this season and has won two straight, including a 4-1 triumph over the Islanders on Saturday. Logan Couture leads the club with five goals and eight points, followed by Evander Kane, Tomas Hertl and Brent Burns, who all have seven points apiece. Martin Jones has gone 3-3-0 in net for the Sharks with a .907 save percentage.
The Predators are 34-27-(2)-7 all-time against the Sharks, including a 21-11-(1)-2 record at Bridgestone Arena. At home, Nashville has won nine of 10 over San Jose and has points in 10 straight (9-0-1). In the last 10 meetings between the Preds and Sharks at Bridgestone Arena, Nashville has limited San Jose to two or fewer goals eight times and scored at least five goals six times.
Notables vs. San Jose:
Ryan Johansen has produced nearly a point per game against the Sharks in his career, tallying 19 points (9g-10a) in 20 games. He has six points (2g-4a) in his last five meetings with San Jose. Nick Bonino is on a three-game point streak (3g-1a) against the Sharks and has 15 points (5g-10a) in 22 career games against them.
When You Go:
Bridgestone Arena doors open at 5:30 p.m. CT ahead of tonight's contest, but Fifth Third Bank cardholders are permitted early access through the Nissan SoBro entrance of the arena at 5 p.m.
All fans in attendance will receive an LED bracelet.
Watch & Listen:
Tonight's game in Nashville comes with a 7 p.m. start and is being broadcast nationally on NBCSN. Fans may listen to the contest on 102.5 The Game and the Predators Radio Network with Pete Weber and Hal Gill on the call.
Listen to a Live Radio Feed (on active during the game broadcast window).
Watch a Live Stream of the game with NBCSports.com or through NHL.TV.