Programming note: Sharks-Predators coverage gets under way today at 7 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live, only Comcast SportsNet California. Stick around after the game for Sharks Postgame Live.
Where they stand
Sharks: 9-6-4, 22 points, 3rd Pacific Division, 8th Western Conference
Predators: 9-7-5, 23 points, 4th Central Division, 6th Western Conference
Goals per game: 2.21 (26th)
Goals-against per game: 2.10 (5th)
Power play: 16.5 percent (17th)
Penalty kill: 86.5 percent (5th)
Goals per game: 2.05 (30th)
Goals-against per game: 2.29 (7th)
Power play: 14.5 percent (24th)
Penalty kill: 80.3 percent (18th)
Logan Couture - Joe Thornton - Marty Havlat
Tim Kennedy - Patrick Marleau - Joe Pavelski
Ryane Clowe - Scott Gomez - James Sheppard
Andrew Desjardins - Adam Burish - TJ Galiardi
Matt Irwin – Dan Boyle
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Brad Stuart
Douglas Murray – Justin Braun
Gabriel Bourque – Mike Fisher – Patric Hornqvist
Colin Wilson – David Legwand – Martin Erat
Sergei Kostitsyn – Craig Smith – Rich Clune
Matt Halischuk – Nick Spaling – Brandon Yip
Roman Josi – Shea Weber
Scott Hannan – Kevin Klein
Jonathon Blum – Ryan Ellis
Keep an eye on…
Sharks: Joe Thornton. It’s clear that the coaching staff – and general manager Doug Wilson – wants the team to start shooting the puck more. Thornton, in particular, seemed to draw the ire of his head coach after Thursday’s game when he misplayed a two-on-one rush that didn’t generate a shot on net. Thornton wound up for a big slap shot in the third period, so look for him to do more of that tonight against the defensively stingy Predators.
Predators: Sergei Kostitsyn. The forward has six points in his last seven games, after having a recent sit down with head coach Barry Trotz, according to The Tennessean. One of the leading scorers for the Predators in 2010-11 with 43 points in 75 games, Nashville needs him to continue to pick up his scoring pace. Kostitsyn’s line with Rich Clune and Craig Smith has been the team’s most productive unit of late.
Sharks: The Sharks opened the scoring with a Logan Couture one-timer in the third period, but Patrick Eaves tied it on a deflected puck and the Red Wings went on to a shootout win on Thursday at HP Pavilion, 2-1. Damien Brunner scored the only goal in the skills competition for Detroit, in what was the first of three meetings between the two teams. The Sharks lost for the 10th time in 12 games.
Predators: Nashville has been off since Wednesday, when it got blitzed by the surging Anaheim Ducks, who were led by a Kyle Palmieri hat trick in a 5-1 win. Pekka Rinne took the loss in net, allowing all five goals on 21 shots, and was pulled after the second period. He’s allowed four or more in three straight games. Craig Smith scored Nashville’s lone goal.
Sharks: Brent Burns (left leg) and Tommy Wingels (undisclosed) are out. Michal Handzus (maintenance day) is doubtful.
Predators: Hal Gill (lower body) is out.
Nashville has pocketed four points against the Sharks, with a 2-1 shootout win at HP Pavilion on Feb. 2, and a 1-0 overtime victory at Bridgestone Arena on Feb. 12. This is the third and final game between the two clubs.
“[Niemi] was great, once again. Same story every single night. He’s been unbelievable this year for us, and a lot of games he’s made some really big saves for us. It’s one of the reasons we got a point tonight, but we’ve got to score more goals for him.”
-– Logan Couture, after 2-1 shootout loss to Detroit