Nashville Predators Try To Keep Momentum Soaring Against Sharks

(Photo by Rocky W. Widner/NHL/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rocky W. Widner/NHL/Getty Images) /

An old archrival, the San Jose Sharks, will take on the Nashville Predators in a critical Western Conference clash later tonight.

Even though the Predators are much comfier in the standings, this game is just as important to them as it is to the Sharks. Both teams need wins to keep pace with a competitive cluster of teams with just over 20 games remaining in regular season.

This game has trap written all over it for the Nashville Predators. A slim seven points separate the two teams in the standings, and this is the first time the Predators are seeing the Sharks since a 4-1 drubbing on the first of November. A lot has obviously changed since that early-season meeting out in California.

The Central division is starting to spread out with the Blues continuing to fade, leaving Winnipeg really as the Predators’ only threat to steal the division from them. All the more reason to keep winning, and it starts with a formidable Sharks team.

Their last meeting with San Jose

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Some refreshing is needed to get ready for this showdown with the Sharks. They’re an old nemesis, and the disdain is still strong for them. The Smashville faithful hasn’t seen this squad since March 2017. The Predators have owned the Sharks in recent times at home, winning seven of the last eight.

I can’t blame you for forgetting about the lone meeting between these two teams earlier this season. It was one to forget as the Sharks dominated the Nashville Predators, sending them at the time to their fourth loss in five games. I remember it having me question where this team was truly at, and where it might be able to go. Looking back on it, my paranoia was for nothing.

You can’t give the Sharks eight power-play opportunities again. That will get you beat, just like it did the first time. Granted, the Sharks only connected once on their eight power plays, but it still disrupts the flow of your game when you’re constantly killing off penalties. The Predators are getting better about not taking as many penalties, so expect more discipline in this second meeting against San Jose’s top-five power play. More shots on goal is a must as they’ll likely be up against San Jose goaltender Martin Jones, who is riding a hot streak of wins in four of his last five. In that span, he’s giving up two goals or less.

What to expect

This will be another highly intense and physical game. Both teams have a lot to play for, especially the Sharks. They’re just three points from being on the outside looking in with the race to the postseason. I like the mental makeup of the Predators too much to think they’ll overlook anyone at this point, much less a team that beat them pretty bad already.

I’m still waiting for Filip Forsberg to get back on the scoring track. He hasn’t found the back of the net since that thrilling shootout goal that beat St.Louis over a week ago. His running mate Viktor Arvidsson is ascending in a big way with three goals in two games, putting him in the team lead with 21 goals on the season.

As much as I would like to pick the Predators every game, I think they slip up here. They’re facing a more desperate team that has more talent than people give them credit for. Maybe they’re not a Stanley Cup contender, but they’ll be a tough out if they make the playoffs. I do think the Predators get another point, but fall in overtime thanks to some stellar goaltending. Nashville loses in overtime, 3-2.

Projected lineup

The biggest thing to keep an eye on is Smith’s game probability. He didn’t participate in the morning skate, per the team’s website. Expect Pekka Rinne in net as he’s looking for a milestone achievement, win No.300.


Filip Forsberg-Ryan Johansen-Viktor Arvidsson

Kyle TurrisKevin FialaCraig Smith/Pontus Aberg

Scott HartnellNick BoninoCalle Jarnkrok

Miikka SalomakiColton SissonsAustin Watson


Roman JosiRyan Ellis

Mattias EkholmP.K. Subban

Alexei EmelinYannick Weber


Pekka Rinne

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Where to watch

Puck drops at 7 P.M. Central. Watch it on Fox Sports Tennessee with pregame at 6:30 P.M. Radio broadcast on 102.5 The Game. You can also follow the game on the Fox Sports Go app on your mobile device.