Nashville Predators @ San Jose Sharks Preview: Goals Wanted

USA TODAY Sports

Two teams aiming to get back on track meet up tonight in San Jose (9:30 p.m. Central on FS-TN). With both the Sharks and Predators searching for goal scoring, are we in for a pitcher's duel?

The Stats

Nashville Predators San Jose Sharks
Record 9-7-5 12th 9-6-4 14th
GF/Game 2.05 30th 2.21 26th
GA/Game 2.29 7th 2.10 5th
5-on-5 SF/60 23.20 29th 27.5 22nd
5-on-5 SA/60 26.0 6th 29.0 18th
Fenwick Close 46.27 24th 52.23 9th
5-on-5 Save % .924 8th .937 3rd
5-on-4 GF/60 4.8 21st 5.5 15th
# of PP's/Gm 3.29 27th 4.79 1st
4-on-5 GA/60 6.4 18th 4.4 6th
# of PK's/Gm 3.38 4th 3.89 17th

While they're wondering where the goals have gone in San Jose, the saving grace of that team has been strong goaltending and defense, along with a propensity to draw calls and get more power play opportunities than their foes. The Preds have been relatively well-disciplined, giving up the 4th-fewest PP's in the league, so one major factor to follow tonight will be how the special teams battle plays out.

The Preds return home Friday to face the Edmonton Oilers. Find the best ticket deals on the market at TiqIQ!

San Jose Sharks

After charging out of the gate with seven straight wins, San Jose has been in a tailspin since the Predators beat them in a shootout back on February 2nd, going 2-6-4 in their last twelve games. To get a sense of the mood out west, head over to Fear The Fin.

In goal, Antti Niemi is off to a good start for San Jose. Of his eight total losses, four have come in games which he gave up one goal or less during regulation & overtime:


Antti Niemi

#31 / Goalie / San Jose Sharks

6-2

210

Aug 29, 1983



GP MIN W L OTL GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2012 - Antti Niemi 16 988 8 4 4 31 1.88 464 433 .933 1

Against Nashville all-time, Niemi is 5-3-3 with a 2.18 GAA and .918 save percentage. Just as before, the San Jose media relations staff brings us this fascinating Fin Fact:

"Joe Thornton made up the nickname "Rico" for him, no one, not even Joe, knows why. "He just looks like a Rico," says Joe."

Nashville Predators

After an embarrassing effort Wednesday night at Anaheim, the Predators have held a team meeting, tried to lighten the mood with shootout competitions in practice, and are apparently shuffling the lines for tonight's game:

Colin Wilson Mike Fisher Martin Erat
Sergei Kostitsyn David Legwand Gabriel Bourque
Nick Spaling Craig Smith Patric Hornqvist
Brandon Yip Paul Gaustad Rich Clune

Will it make a difference? That Legwand line will get some close scrutiny tonight. Kostitsyn was called out in the paper this morning by Barry Trotz, and Leggy gets my nod as the most underperforming player on the team this season:


David Legwand

#11 / Center / Nashville Predators

6-2

204

Aug 17, 1980



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG
SOG PCT
2012 - David Legwand 21 3 4 7 +1 8 1 0 0 31 9.7

It's just too bad the Preds will wear their road whites tonight. Make sure to come back later for the Game Thread, which will take us into the wee hours of the morn!

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