The NHL picks up on Tuesday night with a total of nine games on the schedule. One of these games includes an exciting matchup between the Nashville Predators and the San Jose Sharks. These two teams are near the top of the Western Conference. I expect an exciting matchup as both teams have had strong starts to the season.
Nashville is on top of the NHL with a 13-3-1 record. The Predators were on a five-game winning streak, before losing to the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night. Nashville is currently in the middle of a five-game road trip. The Predators will finish up their road trip on Thursday night against the Arizona Coyotes.
San Jose has gone 9-6-3 to start out the new season. The Sharks are tied with the Calgary Flames for second place in the Pacific Division. San Jose won their last game, but have lost two of their last three games. The Sharks have a really solid roster and they will look to prove it on Tuesday night.
The Predators and the Sharks have met once already this season. These two teams will meet one more time on March 16. Nashville took the loss in the first matchup and will look to get some revenge against the Sharks on Tuesday night. The Predators had a game in Anaheim on Monday night, so they may be a little tired for Tuesday night’s game.
San Jose and Nashville met up three times last season. The first game was held in San Jose, where the Sharks were able to dominate 4-1. The last two games shifted back to Nashville, where the Predators won both games by a total of 12-4. Nashville took the season series 2-1 by winning both of their home games. The Predators lost their first game at home against San Jose, which means they will need to win twice in San Jose if they want to take the season series this season.
The first game between these two teams this season was in Nashville on October 23. The Predators jumped out to a 4-2 lead after two periods. Viktor Arvidsson scored twice and had an assist, while Filip Forsberg had a goal and assists for Nashville. The Sharks were able to rally back though, scoring three unanswered goals in the third period. Brent Burns scored the game-winner with less than three minutes left to give San Jose the 5-4 win on the road.
I expect these two teams to put up another exciting game on Tuesday night. Both Nashville and San Jose are potential Stanley Cup Contenders, which means that this could be a nice win for both teams. The Predators have already lost once to the Sharks this season, which means they will be out to bite back on Tuesday night.
The Predators special teams in near the bottom of the league. Nashville’s power play has been scoring at a rate of 12 percent. The Predators penalty kill is closer to league average, stopping their opponent’s 78 percent of the time. While Nashville’s lack of special teams is concerning, it should also show how dominant this team is on five on five play.
San Jose’s power play has not been great to start out this season. The Sharks have scored on 17.5 percent of their power play chances. San Jose’s penalty kill is sitting towards the top of the NHL. The Sharks are stopping their opponent’s power play chances 88 percent of the time.
The Predators lack of a power play and the Sharks strong penalty kill does not bode well for Nashville. Luckily for the Predators, San Jose’s power play is not great either. This evens them out in my opinion, which means the most pivotal part of this game is five on five. Nashville has earned the edge on five on five play.
Juuse Saros will likely be in net for the Predators on Tuesday night, since Rinne played the night before. Saros has gone 7-2 in his starts so far this season. He has a save percentage of .909 and a 2.67 GAA. While Saros does not have as stellar numbers as Rinne, he has still done really well in net to begin this season. He will put up a tough fight against the Sharks on Tuesday night.
I expect Martin Jones to start in net for the Sharks. Jones has posted a .900 save percentage and a GAA of 2.69 to begin the new season. He has an 8-4-1 record in his 13 starts this season. Jones has been a little up and down to begin the season, but could gain a lot of confidence by shutting down the Predators attack on Tuesday night.
The Predators are entering the night after a loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night. Nashville has yet to lose two games in a row and I believe that trend continues on Tuesday night. The Predators have the better goalie in my opinion and are playing much better overall. San Jose will need to put up a near-perfect game if they are going to slow down Nashville.
BetOnline has the Sharks listed at a money line of -138. This implies that San Jose wins this game 58 percent of the time. I do not believe that any team deserves a money line this high against Nashville. The Predators are the best team in the NHL right now, so picking them as an underdog carries a lot of value. I am taking Nashville to bounce back on the road.