Sharks try to make Predators see double
Few teams have been able to beat the league-leading Nashville Predators once this season but San Jose has a chance to do it for the second time.
The Sharks will also try to hand the Predators back-to-back defeats for the first time Tuesday night in Northern California.
San Jose dealt Nashville (13-3-1) a rare setback after scoring three goals in the final 8:20 en route to a 5-4 victory Oct. 23 in Tennessee. However, the Sharks’ goals were scored against backup Juuse Saros, who started while Pekka Rinne was sidelined with an injury.
Rinne made 28 saves through overtime in the Predators’ 2-1 shootout loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night. Even with the defeat, Rinne’s recent play has shown why he is the reigning Vezina Trophy winner.
Since returning to the lineup Nov. 1, the 13-year veteran is 3-0-1 with a 0.74 goals-against average and one shutout. He’s turned away 121 of 124 shots over that span.
Rinne has also been solid at the Shark Tank, but hasn’t enjoyed much success there. Despite a 1.87 GAA, Rinne is 4-5-3 over his career in San Jose, where he’s lost five of his last six starts.
Meanwhile, Saros is 5-0-0 with a 2.31 GAA and one shutout on the road in 2018-19, and the backup won in his only career start in San Jose in March 2017.
“We’re finding ways to get points, but we want two every game,” Nashville defenseman Ryan Ellis told the team’s official website after Monday’s loss. “We’ve been fortunate in getting points and timely goals, but we have a difficult back-to-back, and hopefully we’re a better version tomorrow.”
Either Rinne or Saros will face a re-energized Sharks team. After a pair of dismal losses on consecutive nights last week, San Jose (9-6-3) kicked off a six-game homestand with a 3-1 win over the Calgary Flames on Sunday night.
“There’s definitely something there that we can build off of,” Pavelski said of the recently reformed line that enjoyed success late last season.
The Sharks captain has three goals and an assist in his last four home games against the Predators.
Martin Jones, who made 14 of his 29 saves in the third period for San Jose on Sunday, is 5-1-1 with a 2.28 GAA at home this season.
“A lot of guys aren’t making those (third-period) saves. He was dialed in all night,” Sharks defenseman Justin Braun said.
Facing Nashville in Silicon Valley, Jones has split four decisions while stopping 90 of 96 shots.
Defenseman Roman Josi is the Predators’ leading scorer at SAP Center with five points (two goals, three assists) in nine career games.
Viktor Arvidsson, who is on back on injured reserve (upper-body injury), had two goals and an assist in the loss to San Jose last month.
Center Joe Thornton is one goal short of 400 in his career and needs one assist to tie Mario Lemieux for 11th all-time with 1,033. “Jumbo Joe” has nine points (two goals, seven assists) in a six-game point streak against Nashville.
Predators defenseman P.K. Subban, who is set to play his 600th NHL game, needs two assists to reach 300.