Sharks at Predators preview: Animals of Aggression
These are two teams that are scratching and clawing to be a part of the playoffs. Coincidence that both teams are beasts of prey? I THINK NOT!
As the Sharks continue to solidify their playoff spot night after night with win after win, it is a comforting feeling knowing that only slight tweaks should be made to the team in the coming weeks. The Predators on the other hand made a sweeping change when they acquired Ryan Johansen for Seth Jones; it was a trade that sent shock-waves throughout the NHL.
The team knew they needed a number one center, they went out and grabbed one, but it came at a price. Unfortunately for the Predators it has been an up and down campaign since he was acquired. Could this be a cautionary tale for the Sharks to not mix up the chemistry the team has at the moment?
Of course, the Predators have plenty of games to right the ship and make sure the team is ready come playoff time, so their worries should be small. The defense which has been a hallmark of the Predators for a while has been fairly stout with high possession numbers across the board, but the goaltending has been lackluster.
All-Star Pekka Rinne gets paid an awful lot of money but doesn't have the results to show for it. On any given night he can put on a stellar performance but he is showing signs of a steep decline. The Preds have a lot of question marks but very few answers, a scary time for a team looking to make the playoffs.
Tale Of The Tape
|2nd in Pacific||Rank||5th in Central|
|52.7% ||Score-Adj. Fenwick||54.8% |
5PM PDT | Bridgestone Arena | Nashville, Tennesee
TV: CSN-CA, FSN-TN, NHL.TV | Radio: SJSharks.com, 98.5 KFOX
Know Your Enemy: On the Forecheck
Projected Sharks Lineup
Tomas Hertl - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski
Matt Nieto - Patrick Marleau - Joel Ward
Joonas Donskoi - Logan Couture - Tommy Wingels
Melker Karlsson - Chris Tierney - Dainius Zubrus
Marc Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun
Paul Martin - Brent Burns
Projected Predators Lineup
Mike Fisher - Ryan Johansen - James Neal
Filip Forsberg - Mike Ribeiro - Craig Smith
Viktor Arvidsson - Calle Jarnkrok - Austin Watson
Mikka Salomaki - Paul Gaustad - Cody Bass
Barrett Jackmen - Ryan Ellis
Mattias Ekholm - Anthony Bitetto
Pekka Rinne dominated the evening as the Sharks couldn't get anything going offensively. Martin Jones was quoted as saying: "I thought we played a good game, I give up a couple of soft goals and that's the difference in the game. Early on in the game, you need a save. It's hard to come back against a tough defensive team with a good goalie." It looks like they will be facing a different Rinne this time around, is this the time to pounce?
- Ryan Johansen has been on a roll since being traded from the Blue Jackets. Do the Sharks have what it takes to shut him down?
- Pekka Rinne has been close to a .900 goalie this season and hasn't shown signs of stopping. Will the Sharks get at him early and often?/
- After two points against the Blues will the white hot Pavelski keep it going for another night?