San Jose is 7-0-0, one of their best starts in franchise history. Standing in the way of an 8-0-0 start is the rebounding Nashville Predators, who grabbed an 8-round shootout victory against the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday evening.
Pekka Rinne, who stopped 23 Los Angeles stops in regulation and overtime, grabbed his first win of the season to move the Predators to 2-2-3 on the season. Nashville finally gave Rinne a consistent defensive effort in front of him, however also only recorded 14 shots on goal during the contest.
Nashville, who is averaging a league low and unreal 21.9 shots a game (a full 3.5 shots below the next closest team), will be facing off against a Sharks team averaging nearly 10 shots more a game in 31.6 shots per outing. While San Jose is giving up 28.9 shots a game as well, Nashville is going to have to start putting pucks on the net.
The Sharks are a team who can score and score often, especially with the resurgence of Patrick Marleau, who is tied with Joe Thornton and tied for 2nd in the NHL with 14 points so far after 7 games. Marleau and Thornton have consistently been a thorn in the side of the Predators, with Thornton leading the Sharks in points against Nashville (1g, 6a, 7p) last season with Marleau not far behind (1g, 4a).
Nashville is 9-11-6 all time in San Jose against the Sharks, forcing 66 goals while allowing 76. Last season, the Predators went 2-1-1 against San Jose, splitting the series at HP Pavilion with a loss and an OT win.
Looking at the Predators/Sharks matchup historically…
Last Win in San Jose: 11/5/11 (4-3 OT)
Last Loss in San Jose: 3/15/12 (1-2 SO)
Overtime Record: 4-6-2
Longest Winning Streak: 4 (1/31/04-10/22/05)
Longest Losing Streak: 4 (twice, last 10/20/07-3/11/08)
Most Goals by Nashville: 7 (2/18/04, 7-3)
Most Goals by San Jose: 8 (3/11/10, 5-8)
Most Goals by Both Teams: 13 (3/11/10, 5-8)
Last Five/Ten Games: 2-1-2 / 4-3-3
Series Notes via the Nashville Predators Media Guide (thanks to the Predators PR department)
1/8/11: Sergei Kostitsyn scored the game winner at 6:23 of the third period as Nashville won in regulation at HP Pavilion for the first time since Dec. 7, 2002, 2-1…
12/15/10: Sergei Kostitsyn scored the game-tying goal at 16:44 of the third and Colin Wilson notched the game winner 44 seconds later (17:28) in a 3-2 come-from-behind victory at Bridgestone Arena…
3/26/09: Nashville scored three goals in a span of 2:38 in the second period to defeat San Jose 3-2 at Bridgestone Arena…
11/11/08: Dan Ellis made a franchise-record 54 saves and faced a club-record 57 shots in a 4-3 overtime victory at HP Pavilion…
2/18/04: Steve Sullivan netted a hat trick and four points (3g-1a) in his first game as a Predator in a 7-3 win at Bridgestone Arena. Marek Zidlicky notched a franchise-record five assists/points…
1/31/04: Marek Zidlicky scored the game winner with 16 seconds remaining in overtime in a 3-2 win at Bridgestone Arena…
3/5/02: Mike Dunham made 26 saves in a 2-0 victory at the HP Pavilion. Nashville and San Jose combined for five shots on goal in the first period, establishing a Predators’ franchise record for fewest total shots in a single period.