After missing Thursday's win over Minnesota, Marc-Edouard Vlasic is a good bet to return to the Sharks lineup tonight and just in time as San Jose faces the unexpectedly dominant Nashville Predators who boast one of the most potent even-strength offenses in the league and currently sit just one point behind the Chicago Blackhawks (with a game in hand) for first in the Central Division. This is another difficult test for the Sharks as they try to win their sixth straight game at the Tank.
Tale Of The Tape
|19-7-2, 40 points
||Record||16-11-4, 36 points|
|2nd in Central||Rank||4th in Pacific
Projected Sharks Lineup
Tomas Hertl - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau - Logan Couture - Tommy Wingels
Barclay Goodrow - James Sheppard - Melker Karlsson
Tye McGinn - Chris Tierney - Andrew Desjardins
Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon - Brent Burns
Scott Hannan - Matt Tennyson
Projected Predators Lineup
Filip Forsberg - Mike Ribeiro - James Neal
Matt Cullen - Mike Fisher - Craig Smith
Colin Wilson - Olli Jokinen - Calle Jarnkrok
Gabriel Bourque - Derek Roy - Eric Nystrom
Roman Josi - Shea Weber
Mattias Ekholm - Ryan Ellis
Anton Volchenkov - Seth Jones
In one of their more disappointing performances while chasing the Anaheim Ducks for first place in the Pacific Division down the stretch last season, the Sharks were shut out at home 3-0 by former Worcester goaltender Carter Hutton. Patric Hornqvist, now Sidney Crosby's right wing in Pittsburgh, scored twice for Nashville.
- Antti Niemi also makes his return to the lineup after being unable to start in the prior two games due to an injury. He'll be between the pipes against Pekka Rinne tonight.
- Mirco Mueller will be the odd man out on defense with Vlasic returning, meaning Matt Tennyson will continue to get a look on that third pairing.
- Nashville's top line of Forsberg, Ribeiro and Neal has combined for 17 goals while on the ice together this season, the most of any line combo in the NHL. By comparison Hertl-Thornton-Pavelski has given the Sharks 11 goals while skating together so far.