Predators vs. Sharks Preview
San Jose, CA (AP) - The San Jose Sharks will try to start a new winning streak against the team they beat to begin their last one.
The Pacific Division-leading Sharks will host the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night, finishing a season series that has already featured three one-goal games.
According to NHL odds and oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Sharks -181 money line favorites for Tuesday's game against the Predators. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 98% of more than 172 bets for this game have been placed on the Sharks -181.
San Jose (38-22-6) saw its season-high eight-game win streak snapped with Saturday's 3-2 home loss to Dallas. The Sharks led 2-1 heading into the final period.
"I don't think it was our best effort compared to the way we've been winning lately," said top goal-scorer Patrick Marleau, who has six points in his last five games.
The Sharks took Sunday off after playing three games in five days. Their 17-3-1 surge has moved them ahead of the tightly bunched pack in the Pacific, and coach Todd McLellan wants his team to regroup for a stretch of seven games in 12 days.
"They've earned the right to have some days off," McLellan told the Sharks' official website. "We all get that in our work world where we have to get away from our profession, where we have to spend some time with our families."
San Jose should face a challenge Tuesday based on its recent history with Nashville. The Predators won 3-2 on Dec. 15 and 2-1 on Jan. 8 before the Sharks started their eight-game run with a 2-1 victory Feb. 15.
Nashville (33-24-9) has outshot San Jose in the first period twice and scored first twice in those games.
"Nashville is a team that is going to come out hard early," McLellan said. "You have to find a way to weather the storm."
San Jose has one of the league's best power plays at 22.1 percent, and Nashville one of the top penalty-kill units at 85.3 percent. The Predators have limited the Sharks to one goal in 10 chances this season.
Antti Niemi has started all three meetings for San Jose, posting a 1.99 goals-against average against the team he shut out twice in the postseason last year for Chicago. Niemi had a 1.57 GAA during the Sharks' eight-game run.
Nashville's Pekka Rinne is 1-0-1 with a 1.45 GAA in two games against the Sharks this season. He's eager to get back on the ice after allowing the final two goals in Sunday's 3-2 loss at Calgary.
"This was for sure our biggest game of the year, so right now we're disappointed," Rinne said. "But at least we have a chance to bounce back right away in San Jose."
The Predators remain outside the top eight in the Western Conference after falling to 2-5-1 in their last eight.
Martin Erat had a goal and an assist and David Legwand assisted on both goals Sunday, but Nashville was 0 for 3 on the power play, dropping to 0 for 13 in its last five road games.
"We keep making the same mistakes over and over again and that's why we're on the outside looking in right now," defenseman Shane O'Brien said.Sergei Kostitsyn scored once in each victory against San Jose this season, but he's produced no points in his last six games.
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