Once the Sharks skated off the ice to celebrate Joel Ward’s hat trick and a 5-2 victory over Carolina, they were in first place in the Pacific Division. Four days later, with plenty of practice time, San Jose will take on the Nashville Predators, two points out of the division lead and the last wild card in the West. To say the playoff race doesn’t start until after the All-Star break is saying that Sharks fans kinda like Dustin Brown; it’s bullkapookie.
San Jose snapped it’s 3-game losing skid, and started to show signs of life against a tough and struggling Hurricanes squad. Paul Martin returned and solidified an iffy defensive core that allowed 14 goals in the three losses. Martin’s return was a much needed one. So will the return of Joonas Donskoi and Ben Smith to the lineup. Donskoi was out over two weeks with a lower body injury, while Smith recovered from taking a puck to the ear. Expect them to return to their normal spots in the lineup.
J. Donskoi – J. Thornton – J. Pavelski
P. Marleau – T. Hertl – J. Ward
M. Nieto – C. Tierney – T. Wingels
M. Brown – B. Smith – B. Goodrow
M-E Vlasic – J. Braun
P. Martin – B. Burns
B. Dillon – M. Tennyson
As for the Nashville Predators, they are in a super tight Central Division which changes every night. First place to sixth place is separated by three points. They enter tonight’s match tied for second in the division with 13 points. It’s early but every point matters.
Once again led by a strong start from Pekka Rinne’s goaltending and superb offense from James Neal and Mike Ribiero, and don’t forget defensive mega star, Shea Weber, it’ll be a tight game but get on them strong and the Sharks can have a good night. However, a full, dominating 60 minute game will be necessary.
As for Nashville’s lineup, we’re expecting this:
F. Forsberg – M. Fisher – J. Neal
C. Wilson – M. Ribeiro – C. Smith
G. Bourque – C. Hodgson – C. Jarnkrok
E. Nystrom – P. Gaustad – A. Watson
R. Josi – S. Weber
B. Jackman – S. Jones
M. Ekholm – R. Ellis
So a big game in October. You don’t want to get behind in the standings too early, so a massive effort tonight is needed. LET’S PUCKING DO THIS!!!