Today the San Jose Sharks welcome into town the Nashville Predators for the first time this season. These two clubs will meet two more times later this season. The last time San Jose squared off against Nashville was last season in which the Sharks edged out the Predators 2-1 in the shootout. Ryane Clowe netted the game winning goal for the Sharks in the shootout competition.
San Jose is ridding a 7-0 hot streak that started at the beginning of their season in Calgary. The Sharks had the pleasure of the playing three straight home openers including their own against the Coyotes. In their home opener against Phoenix, they had to comeback from a two goal deficit in the late stages of the third period. They ended up defeating the Phoenix Coyotes 5-3. Following their victory over Phoenix, the Sharks squared off against a young team the Colorado Avalanche. In that contest, things weren’t going the Sharks way until defenseman Brad Stuart administered a hard body check on Avalanche’s Captain Gabriel Landeskog near center ice that changed the dynamics of the game. Moreover, the Sharks scored three straight power play goals, two by Marleau and one by Pavelski. Defenseman Matt Irwin knotted his first ever NHL goal vs the Avs. In addition, San Jose’s net minder Thomas Griess registered his first NHL shutout.
After their 4-0 win over the Avalanche, San Jose faced off against the very skilled Vancouver Canucks in which the top line scored all 4 goals as they defeated Vancouver 4-1. The lone goal scorer for the Canucks was Alexandre Burrows. The next two contest’s, San Jose had to play the full 60, followed by the overtime frame, and then the shootout competition. San Jose defeated both the Anaheim Ducks and the Edmonton Oilers by identical 3-2 finals. The hero for the Sharks in both shootouts was Michal Handzus who used the same move on Ducks Hiller and Oilers Dubnyk.
For the visiting Nashville Predators, their season so far has been much different ever since they lost star defenseman Ryan Suter who signed the mega deal with the Wild in the offseason and power forward Jordan Tootoo who signed with the Red Wings. They are coming off of a 2-1 shootout victory over the Los Angeles Kings that featured an eight round affair. Sergei Kostitsyn ended up being the hero of the night for the Predators as they won their second game of the season.
As of today the Sharks are 7-0-0 with 14 points and leading the Pacific Division and tied with the Chicago Blackhawks for the top spot in the Western Conference. The Nashville Predators are 2-2-3 with 7 points to their credit and positioned in fourth place of the Central Division and are outside the top eight in ninth place of the West.
Tale of the Tape:
Goals per game: 3.86 (2nd)
Goals-against per game: 1.71 (2nd)
Power play: 30.8 percent (5th)
Penalty kill: 83.3 percent (8th)
Goals per game: 1.57 (30th)
Goals-against per game: 2.29 (6th)
Power play: 18.2 percent (16th)
Penalty kill: 80.0 percent (17th)
Injury report: One reason for the Predators’ sputtering offense is the absence of top goal-scorer Patric Hornqvist, who led the team last year with 27. He’s weeks away from returning with a sprained knee. … Sharks defenseman Brent Burns has no timetable for a return from a lower-body injury, but undrafted 25-year-old rooke Matt Irwin has stepped up admirably, playing more than 19 minutes per game.
**** Tale of the Tape and Injury Report courtesy of Kevin Kurz****
Who’s hot: For the Sharks, everyone. The top line makes the headlines, as Thornton and Patrick Marleau share second place in the NHL with 14 points, one behind leader Thomas Vanek of the Buffalo Sabres. Linemate Joe Pavelski is right behind them with 12 and Logan Couture is on his heels with 10, giving the Sharks four players among the League’s top 10 scorers. Marleau leads the League with nine goals, Thornton leads the League in assists with 11. Only Handzus, known for his contributions when the clock isn’t running, has a negative plus-minus rating. Antti Niemi‘s 1.95 goals-against average is up with the elite, and backup Thomas Greiss shut out the Colorado Avalanche in his only appearance. Even Scott Gomez, rescued from oblivion four games ago, wins 68 percent of his faceoffs, complementing a team that’s second-best in the League overall at 58.5 percent.
***Who’s Hot Report courtesy of NHL.com***
2011-2012 Season Series Statistics: San Jose tied Nashville 2-2
Today’s contest has a 7:30p PST puck drop and can been seen on Comcast Sportsnet California HD and can be heard on 98.5 KFOX
LET’S GO SHARKS!!!!!!!!
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