It’s game number two in the Sharks’ current home stand, and they’ll be looking for their third win in a row against the Nashville Predators at 7:30 tonight. The Sharks are coming off an emotional win against the Toronto Maple Leafs and Patrick Marleau’s return to SAP Center, as well as yet another game without Paul Martin due to his ongoing ankle injury. Paul Martin was skating yesterday morning, but it’s incredibly unlikely we’ll see him back in the game any time soon.
The Predators are coming off a home loss against the New York Islanders and a few days of rest. On top of that, their roster is healthy. Let’s hope the rest and being healthy don’t make the Preds suddenly start playing well—they haven’t in their last couple of games. Just a short summer removed from their Stanley Cup Final appearance, the Predators are still finding their footing this season.
The teams are somewhat evenly matched, both sitting at number five in their respective divisions. The goal for tonight will be keeping both teams out of the penalty box. While the Sharks’ power play has improved to 11th in the league (20.5%), Nashville’s penalty kill is a hard one to crack at 83%. Their power play is even more deadly, converting at 25%, the seventh best in the league. If the Sharks can’t stay out of the box, their 88.4% penalty kill will have to hold down the fort.
Sharks: we need to look at least half as good in tonight’s game as we did against the Leafs. Preds: please look just as bad as you did against the Islanders, and if you won’t do it for the Sharks, do it for me personally.
After the Predators visit, the Sharks will face the Anaheim Ducks and the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Vancouver Canucks will round out the rest of the home stand. And maybe San Jose will be at seven in a row after that? We’ll see.
First things first, let’s get number three. Puck drops at 7:30pm Pacific. Let’s go Sharks!