Predators aim to stay hot at home vs. slumping Sharks


Following a welcomed offensive breakout, the Nashville Predators could be in for another productive night with the defensively challenged San Jose Sharks in town.

Looking to win consecutive home games for the first time since late October, the Predators try to hand the reeling Sharks a fifth straight defeat on Tuesday night.

After scoring twice in its previous two games combined and failing to score more than three times in five straight contests, Nashville matched a season high for goals with its 6-4 home win over New Jersey on Saturday. Nick Bonino (11 goals), Dante Fabbro and Rocco Grimaldi each had a goal with an assist and Filip Forsberg scored his 11th of the season for the Predators, who are still near the bottom of the Western Conference but are 4-1-2 in the last seven.

Nashville is also 2-0-2 at home since an 0-4-1 slide there, and received a jolt following its latest offensive effort. The Predators last won two straight at home during a four-game winning streak from Oct. 22-29.

“It’s a big confidence boost for our team,” Fabbro told the Predators’ official website. “If we just continue to work hard and pursue offense, it’s going to keep coming. We’ve got a talented group here. We just have to keep working hard.”

Though Nashville still ranks in the bottom half of the league allowing an average of 3.3 goals, it’s facing a San Jose squad that’s even worse in that department. The Sharks are giving up 3.5 goals per game and fell 5-2 at Nashville on Oct. 8. Defenseman Roman Josi scored twice, Fabbro and Forsberg each had a goal and Pekka Rinne made 33 saves for the Predators in that win.

Though the Sharks’ defense was stingier during a 2-1 home shootout victory over Nashville on Nov. 9, they’ve been outscored 20-6 while going 0-3-1 in December. San Jose was roughed up 5-1 at Florida on Sunday — falling to 0-2-1 on its four-game trip. It came one night after a 7-1 loss at Tampa Bay.

“We’ve just got to tighten up our game,” rookie defenseman Mario Ferraro told the Sharks’ official website. “It’s not easy on the road. We’ve had some tough games, but we’ve still got a big one in Nashville that we want to make sure we finish off strong.”

San Jose goaltender Martin Jones has allowed 13 goals on 76 shots (.829 save percentage) while losing his last three starts. He’s 1-1-0 with a 2.45 goals-against average against the Predators this season. Backup Aaron Dell made 39 saves during a 7-1 loss in his lone career start versus Nashville on Feb. 22, 2018.

Rinne has yielded seven goals in his last two starts, but has a 1.42 goals-against average during a seven-game home winning streak against the Sharks. Backup Juuse Saros made 31 saves at San Jose last month.

Forsberg has six goals with seven assists during a seven-game point streak against San Jose.

The Sharks’ Tomas Hertl (10 goals) scored against Nashville last month as part of a five-game goal streak. However, he’s failed to score in the ensuing eight games for San Jose, which lost five in a row from Oct. 25-Nov. 2.

–Field Level Media

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