Thearon W. Henderson
Two teams looking to get back on track meet tonight at Bridgestone Arena, as the Nashville Predators host the San Jose Sharks in their second meeting of the season.
|San Jose Sharks||Nashville Predators|
|5-on-5 Save %||.929||11th||.940||4th|
|# of PP's/Gm||5.00||4th||3.25||28th|
|# of PK's/Gm||4.33||19th||3.67||8th|
Despite their recent stretch of poor results, the Sharks remain a strong team across the board. With the Predators, it's a familiar song. Very, very few shots on goal are being taken, but defense & goaltending are keeping them competitive.
San Jose Sharks
The Sharks have ridden a rough road since the Predators hung the first loss of the season on them back on February 2nd. Including that night, San Jose is 0-3-2 in their last five, deflating all the early-season buzz that had them among the Stanley Cup-contending elite.
It's the offense which has dried up for the Sharks, as they scored at least 4 goals in their first five games, but haven't done it since. Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, who lit up the scoreboard in the early going, have combined for just one goal and one assist in the last 6 games.
The guy to watch out for tonight? Martin Havlat, who has 15 goals and 23 assists in 32 career games against the Preds, including a goal in that February 2nd contest.
The official Game Notes for tonight bring us further information on Havlat, too: he "thoroughly enjoyed Maroon 5's song "Payphone" when it came out this summer."
These FinFacts are pretty incredible, actually, here are more:
- Antti Niemi "Believes he looks like Matt Damon."
- Jason Demers is an "ardent supporter of the San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) and once had a penalty kicking competition with their goaltender Jon Busch in which each took turns attempting to score on one another." I'm just going to assume that's code for something.
- Joe Pavelski "grows a red beard even though he has brown hair".
- Patrick Marleau? "His favorite Avenger is Iron Man, but he does not own an Iron Man suit. He also has an immense respect for The Hulk"
- James Sheppard "grows a really bad mustache". So do I, pal.
- Dan Boyle is "a proud member of Team Coco, he is an ardent supporter of the Conan O’Brien Show and dreams to one day be a guest".
- Ryan Clowe: "His grandfather drove a semi-truck for a living that had a manual transmission. His grandfather only had one arm."
- Adam Burish "appeared on an episode of The Jerry Springer Show, serving as security".
- Logan Couture "dreams of being able to rap like Drake".
- Justin Braun "is in no way related to Scooter Braun, who is Justin Bieber’s manager".
- Brent Burns "envisions himself as a character in the Game of Thrones series". Again, so do I, pal.
For all your San Jose Sharks coverage, head over to Fear The Fin.
Tonight it's the Preds who are the rested team, having had yesterday off while the Sharks were getting beaten in Columbus, 6-2.
Until Patric Hornqvist returns from his knee injury, Barry Trotz doesn't have many options to get the offense rolling. Can he cobble together a line which gets Craig Smith rolling? Do you load up one line and try to get a goal or two out of them, while spending the rest of the time hunkering down on defense?
What will bear watching will be whether or not Trotz sticks with the 7-man defensive unit he's been running with for several games now. Defeat makes for a convenient time to shake things up, so perhaps we'll see Matt Halischuk get back in there.
Of course, with all this talk of dire times in the offensive zone, tonight we'll probably see some 7-5 barnburner just to amuse the hockey gods.
Make sure to check back later for further game-day updates, and we'll have the Game Thread warmed up & ready for tonight's 7:00 p.m. faceoff...