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Sharks vs. Predators preview: Homestand continues with visit from West's top team

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The top-ranked Preds visit the Bay Area for the final time this season.

Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

Without much in the way of help from the out-of-town scoreboard, the Sharks' playoff hopes are still on life support but they'll have a chance to raise their odds back up over the 25% threshold with a win tonight at home against the Western Conference's top-ranked team. Boasting the conference's best goalie and arguably the entire NHL's best blueline, the Predators are a legitimate Stanley Cup contender and a team that routed the Sharks in the clubs' last meeting, albeit largely thanks to a magnificent showing by Pekka Rinne. The Sharks will try to beat the talented Finn tonight to further put themselves in optimal position prior to Monday's big showdown in Winnipeg.

Tale Of The Tape
Nashville Predators

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San Jose Sharks
42-19-7, 91 points
Record 33-26-8, 74 points
1st in Central Rank 5th in Pacific
52.8%
Score-Adj. Fenwick 50.6%
81.6
PDO 79.9
16.1
PP% 21.5
101.7
PK% 99.4

7:30PM PST | SAP Center | San Jose, California
TV: CSNCA-HD | Radio: SJSharks.com, 98.5 KFOX
Know Your Enemy: On The Forecheck

Projected Sharks Lineup

Joe Pavelski - Joe Thornton - Melker Karlsson
Patrick Marleau - Logan Couture - Matt Nieto
Tomas Hertl - Chris Tierney - Tommy Wingels
John Scott - Ben Smith - Barclay Goodrow

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun
Scott Hannan - Brent Burns
Mirco Mueller - Brenden Dillon

Antti Niemi
Alex Stalock

Projected Predators Lineup

Filip Forsberg - Mike Ribeiro - Craig Smith
Colin Wilson - Mike Fisher - James Neal
Matt Cullen - Mike Santorelli - Viktor Stalberg
Gabriel Bourque - Paul Gaustad - Taylor Beck

Roman Josi - Shea Weber
Seth Jones - Cody Franson
Mattias Ekholm - Ryan Ellis

Pekka Rinne
Carter Hutton

Last Meeting

Pekka Rinne stood on his head, stopping 42 of 43 Sharks shots including four in quick succession during a furious scramble in the crease on a second period power play, while Alex Stalock faltered for San Jose as the Sharks dropped a 5-1 decision in Nashville that was a lot closer than the final score would indicate.

Storylines

  • After tonight the Sharks will have just four games remaining on home ice as ten of their final thirteen contests come on the road.
  • Surprisingly, or perhaps unsurprisingly given their penchant for beating the toughest opponents this season, the Sharks are 10-4-1 against the powerhouse Central Division.
  • Matt Irwin is getting closer to returning to the lineup, and could be on the blueline Saturday afternoon when the Sharks host Chicago, but Scott Hannan remains in his place tonight.