Sharks-Predators Preview

Coach Todd McLellan doesn’t believe the San Jose Sharks are

fully out of the woods after ending their losing streak, but he’ll

likely be much more pleased if his club continues getting

much-needed production from its previously lackluster power-play

unit.

San Jose looks to avoid a fourth straight road loss when it

faces the Nashville Predators on Saturday night.

The Sharks (20-6-6) snapped an 0-3-1 skid with Thursday’s 3-1

win over Minnesota, scoring each goal with the man advantage while

drawing seven penalties. Joe Pavelski scored twice, while Tomas

Hertl added his 15th goal.

San Jose went 4 for 39 on the power play over its previous 11,

including 1 for 13 during its losing streak.

”We went through a stretch where we were losing some games, and

the power play was the reason we weren’t winning,” center Logan

Couture said. ”Now we’re starting to score some goals, and it’s

good to see.”

McLellan clearly was upset during the Sharks’ skid, often

questioning their effort.

“The one thing they got back was their work ethic, for the most

part,” McLellan said. “You start there and you can certainly build

off of it. Three for a night is a good night. A night that we’ll

take, and it obviously won us the game.

“Confidence is a strange thing. It can come and go quickly. You

have to work hard to maintain it.”

The Predators (15-14-3) seem to be gaining more confidence as

well after beating Dallas 3-1 on Thursday for their second straight

victory. Their power-play unit also had been struggling before

going 2 for 3 against the Stars.

Patric Hornqvist converted a two-man advantage, while David

Legwand’s goal came on the power play. Nashville went 0 for 16 on

the power play over its previous six.

“You look at our record when we score a power-play goal, it’s

pretty good,” said coach Barry Trotz, whose team is 12-0-1 when

scoring with the man advantage. “The last six or seven games, it’s

been a little bit dry in terms of the goal production. We sort of

called the power play out. They had to make a difference We had a

little special meeting with them and they did.”

The Predators have won back-to-back games after an 0-4-1

stretch. Captain Shea Weber assisted on both power-play goals, and

10 of his 15 points this season have come on that unit.

“We’ve done some good things over the last few games, we just

haven’t gotten good results,” Weber said. “We were trying to get

more pucks to the net and we were fortunate we got a couple of

goals.”

Paul Gaustad also scored and has two goals and two assists over

the last two games.

“You never think of him as a goal-scorer but he’s got five,

which is getting up there,” Trotz said of Gaustad, whose career

high is 12 goals.

Carter Hutton made 33 saves Thursday, though Marek Mazanec could

get the nod in this contest despite going 0-4-1 with a 3.42

goals-against average over his last five starts.

Antti Niemi should be in net for San Jose after stopping 29

shots against Minnesota. He’s 2-0-2 with a 0.95 GAA in his last

four versus Nashville.