Predators-Sharks Preview

The San Jose Sharks have shown they can win different ways in putting together an impressive two-week roll.

Continuing it won't be easy Saturday night against a Nashville Predators team that's dominated them in recent years.

San Jose (16-11-4) has totaled 26 goals during its 6-1-0 surge, though 18 have come in three of the victories - all by multigoal margins. The Sharks came out on top by one goal in the other three low-scoring wins.

San Jose defeated Minnesota 2-1 on Thursday, as Brent Burns gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead and Joe Pavelski scored less than a minute after Minnesota tied the game early in the third period.

The Sharks have outscored opponents 22-12 during a five-game winning streak on home ice after dropping six of the first eight there.

"We're finding ways. It's not pretty night in and night out," center Logan Couture told the league's official website. "If you look back a couple years ago maybe we were able to do that every night and beat teams, but we know what we've got in this room. We're going to have to find different ways to win every single night."

The Sharks were forced to recall Matt Tennyson and Chris Tierney from Worcester before the game, giving them five rookies in Thursday's lineup. Top defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic didn't play due to an upper-body injury, and forwards Mike Brown (lower body), Matt Nieto (ankle) and Tyler Kennedy were also out.

"I'd like to say we're getting healthy but we're not," coach Todd McLellan said. "We seem to be going the other way but we're finding players. As the young players from Worcester come up they're able to contribute. That's a tremendous thing for our team moving forward. It's going to put pressure on everyone to perform and play and their confidence level should be going up.

"As we move forward we feel good about the group and we've got to keep going."

The Predators, though, are 7-1-1 in the last nine games in the series. Nashville held San Jose to four goals in taking all three matchups last season, including a 3-0 road victory in the most recent one April 5.

The Predators (19-7-2) are looking to sweep a three-game road trip after beating Arizona 5-1 on Thursday. Pekka Rinne made 31 saves for his NHL-leading 19th win, two days after stopping 26 shots to win 3-0 over Colorado.

Rinne owns a 1.65 goals-against average on the road. He's gone 4-1-1 with a 1.44 GAA during a six-game stretch against the Sharks.

"Goaltending has to be your best player, night in and night out," center Mike Ribeiro said. "And we have a chance to have one that can help us every night."

Mike Fisher and James Neal combined for four points and Shea Weber and Filip Forsberg each had two assists for Nashville, which went 1 for 5 with the man advantage to snap an 0-for-27 drought. The Predators' 11.2 power-play percentage ranks near the bottom of the league.

"It's a big relief, and it's important for us to have a power play that's generating offense and making a difference," forward Matt Cullen said. "Tonight was a good step forward."

Alex Stalock has started the last three games for San Jose, going 2-1-0 with a 1.68 GAA. He could make his first appearance against Nashville with Antti Niemi's status uncertain after he was hit by a puck during Tuesday's morning skate.

Niemi started all three matchups with Predators last season, giving up three goals each time. Couture, Pavelski, Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton were limited to a combined 10 points in those games.

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