Sharks-Predators at a glance

Sharks-Predators at a glance
February 2, 2013, 9:45 am
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Joe Thornton leads the league with 11 assists. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

INSIDE THE MATCHUP

- San Jose is 16-1-3 at home versus the Predators going back to the start of the 2003-04 season (including postseason). The lone regulation loss among that group came in January 2011.

- The Sharks are the first Western Conference team to open the season with seven wins in seven games since Nashville did so in 2005-06 (started 8-0-0).

- The Predators earned a 2-1 shootout victory Thursday night at Los Angeles. They have scored just three goals in their last four games, and average 1.57 goals per game for the season.

- Shea Weber remains without a point this season. Over the previous four seasons, Weber led all NHL defensemen with 74 goals while ranking fourth with 193 points.

- Patrick Marleau had his season-opening six-game point streak come to an end Thursday, one game after his goal streak ended. He leads the NHL with nine goals entering Friday.

- Joe Thornton has 39 assists in 36 career games against Nashville. That's tied with Pavel Datsyuk for the most all-time against the Predators.

 

Programming note
Sharks-Predators coverage gets underway tonight at 7 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live, only on Comcast SportsNet California

Where they stand
Sharks: 7-0-0, 14 pts.,1st Pacific Division, 1st Western Conference
Predators: 2-2-3, 7 pts., 4th Central Division, 9th Western Conference

Vitals

Sharks
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)

Predators
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)

Probable lines

Sharks
Marleau – Thornton – Pavelski
Clowe – Couture – Sheppard
Gomez – Handzus – Havlat
Galiardi – Desjardins – Burish

Stuart – Boyle
Vlasic – Demers
Murray – Braun

Niemi
Greiss

Predators
Wilson – Fisher – Erat
Bourque – Legwand – Kostitsyn
Spaling – Gaustad – Yip
Clune – Smith – Halischuk

Josi – Weber
Hannan – Klein
Gill – Ellis

Rinne
Mason

Keep an eye on…

Sharks: Joe Pavelski. The Sharks winger has four goals in the last three games, and is the only player to record at least a point in each of the team’s wins. After a career-high 31 goals last season, Pavelski has picked up right where he left off on San Jose’s top line.

Predators: Shea Weber. The Predators were forced to re-sign Weber to a huge, 14-year deal this summer, and the defenseman is fourth in the league with more than 27 minutes of ice time per game. Nashville may have lost Ryan Suter in the offseason, but Weber is still among the league’s best blueliners.

Last game

Sharks: The Sharks surrendered a 2-0 lead in regulation but won in a shootout over Edmonton on Thursday, 3-2. Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture tallied in regulation, while Michal Handzus and Dan Boyle converted their shootout opportunities as San Jose improved to a perfect 7-0-0. Antti Niemi recorded his league-leading sixth win in net. It was the Sharks' second straight shootout victory.

Predators: Brandon Yip scored the only goal in regulation for Nashville, which downed the LA Kings at Staples Center on Thursday in a shootout, 2-1. Sergei Kostitsyn scored in the eighth round and Pekka Rinne made 23 saves through three periods and overtime. The Predators had just 11 shots on goal in regulation, and 14 for the game.

Injuries

Sharks: Brent Burns (lower body) is on injured reserve.

Predators: Patric Hornqvist (sprained knee) is on injured reserve. Martin Erat (lower body) is questionable.

Season series

The Sharks visit the Music City for the only time this season on Feb. 12. Nashville returns to the Shark Tank on March 2.

Quoteable

“We’re in the grind now, and these are the real games, and they’re going to be like this from now until the end of the year. We have to keep working on getting better.” – Todd McLellan

Sound off

Which defenseman should sit in order for Jason Demers to return?