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Game 13: Nashville @ San Jose – Late Night Sushi


Coming off a great 29th birthday, Pekka Rinne and the Nashville Predators (6-4-2) will be looking to continue his stellar play against a San Jose Sharks (7-4-0) team that is trying to hold position in an extremely tough Pacific Division. With a 3-0 win for the Predators on Thursday, Rinne grabbed his 3rd shutout of the season and brought his stats up to a 2.28 GAA and .929 Sv%.

This Year’s Series: 0-1-0 (0-1-0 Home, 0-0-0 Away)

This Season’s Video Recaps:
Game 1 – October 25th, 2011:

Looking at the Sharks: Only incurring one regulation loss in their past 6 games, the Sharks are definitely on a roll. Yet, is there a goalie controversy in the making? After allowing 2 goals extremely early in the first period against the Penguins, Niemi was pulled in favor of Greiss, who led the Sharks to a shoot-out win that night.

Greiss has been in for the last 2 Sharks wins, the only game Niemi played in the last 3 for regulation was a 5-2 loss against the New York Rangers. Based on his play as of late, Greiss could get the start for San Jose tonight against Pekka Rinne and the Predators.

San Jose is getting timely offense from their usual producers as Pavelski/Marleau/Thornton/Clowe lead the way. However, they’ll have to protect their defensive end a little better as they’ve been outshot by their opponents 4 out of the last 6 games.

Looking at the Predators: Thursday was just an all around great day for the Predators: Re-signing Pekka Rinne to a 7 year deal and knocking off the Phoenix Coyotes 3-0. However it’s a “one game at a time” mentality for Nashville as they prepare themselves for the Sharks late this evening for the Central Timezone viewers.

With the mood in the locker room changing for the positive after the Rinne deal, the play on the ice against Phoenix definitely reflected their attitude. Playing an absolutely dominant game on both ends of the ice including getting stellar goaltending, Nashville exacted their revenge for their home-opener loss to the Coyotes.

Yet, what was most interesting was that with all of the forwards back in the line up (still minus Nick Spaling), where would Craig Smith end up? Oddly enough, he ended up centering Smithson and Tootoo (which he later named the line “The Two Smitties”) and still contributed on the scoresheet assisting on the second Predators goal, which was reminiscent of the same play he made to assist on Kostitsyn’s goal against Calgary.

Craig Smith seems to be able to succeed on any line he is put on, which can only help a Predators team that is finally starting to get healthy.

For the Sharks to win: Backcheck, and backcheck early. Nashville has found early first period success in 2 of the past 3 games, while continuing to get heavy pressure throughout the first period as well.

If San Jose can weather the storm, get the first goal against the Predators, and jam their foot on the collective throats of Nashville, then they should be able to get their second win of the season against the boys from Music City.

For the Predators to win: More and more stellar goaltending from Pekka Rinne. After a 3-0 win against a very good Coyotes team, Nashville will have to continue to get the same level of goaltending from their $7 million dollar man.

With their lineup finally getting healthy, the Predators have been able to become a bit more offensive as well, scoring on average a little over 3 goals a game in their past 4 (3-0-1). Nashville’s usual key to victory is to score 3 goals a game. If they keep it up, they could be seeing more wins in their future


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Stay frosty, friends