San Jose hosts Nashville at 1 p.m. in game two of a six-game homestand, its longest of the season, with an eye on snagging the season series from the Predators while also trying to make it three wins in a row. The Sharks are coming off their biggest win of the season, a 4-2 victory over the Capitals on Thursday.
The Predators have already lost twice outside of regulation during their California swing. Nashville started slowly this season and lost its only other game against the Sharks 4-1 way back on Oct. 29. While Nashville is still not a fully operational battle station, the Predators are a much better team now than they were way back in October.
It’s taken some time for the pieces to mesh together, and poor goaltending from Pekka Rinne hasn’t helped matters any, but the Predators most resemble a sleeping giant in the Western Conference. Based on the way the conference looks today San Jose is unlikely to face them earlier than the Conference Finals and that’s just fine by me.
Martin Jones will get the start in net for the Sharks and the only change I can foresee coming into the lineup would be Marcus Sorensen getting another shot on the fourth line. Joel Ward wasn’t a great fit with Micheal Haley and Chris Tierney, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him swap spots with Melker Karlsson if no other changes are made.
P.A. Parenteau hasn’t made his debut with the Predators yet as he’s nursing a hand injury. It doesn’t appear he’ll play on Saturday, either. David Schlemko is still nursing an injury and didn’t skate on Friday, so don’t expect him to be back in the lineup on Saturday for the Sharks.