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Nashville Predators host San Jose Sharks
Posted By Clarksville Sports Network.com On February 11, 2013 @ 5:00 PM In Announcements,Featured Story,Hockey,Nashville Predators,NHL,Sports | No Comments
Sunday night’s tilt marked only the third time that the Predators have failed to earn at least a point in the standings this season (5-3-4, 14 pts). All three of Nashville’s regulation losses this season have been shutouts. The Predators and Sharks meet for the second time in 10 days with this being the Sharks only visit to Nashville during the 2012-13 season. On Feb. 2nd, in game No. 6 of a franchise-record tying seven-game road trip, Sergei Kostitsyn notched his first goal of the season, while NHL sophomore Craig Smith recorded the only goal in the shootout in a 2-1 shootout victory. Pekka Rinne stopped 26 of the 27 San Jose shots he faced, and was a perfect three-for-three in the post-overtime breakaway competition to earn the victory. That shootout marked the fifth time in the last seven games these two teams have needed extra time to determine a winner.
Nashville has picked up points in all but one of its last nine games against the Sharks, posting a 4-1-3 record. The Predators are 3-1-1 in the series since the beginning of the 2011-12 campaign. The Predators return to the Bay Area to close out the season series on March 2nd.
The Nashville Predators have garnered points in nine of their first 12 games of 2012-13 primarily through strong defense. The team has the third-lowest goals-against average in the league – and lowest in the Western Conference – at 1.92. The Predators are also tied with San Jose, for the second-fewest even-strength goals allowed at 14.
Despite being dealt his first loss in five games on Sunday vs. Chicago, Pekka Rinne continues to be the backbone of the solid defense. He allowed more than two goals for only the third time this season against the Blackhawks, and Marcus Kruger’s goal at the 6:14 mark of the second period was the first even-strength goal allowed by Rinne in 316:40 (dating back to Jan. 28th at Phoenix).
The Kempele, Finland native is 4-1-0 in his last five outings, stopping 136 of 142 shots for a .958 save percentage and a 1.16 goals-against average . Overall, Rinne is sixth in goals-against average (1.92) and seventh in save percentage (.929) among netminders with more than three starts. Since the start of the 2008-09 season, Rinne is tied with the New York Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist for first in shutouts (26), and is seventh in wins (141).
Shea Weber has the highest point-per-game output against San Jose during his career (.75), with 18 points (5g-13a) in 24 games. He has five points (2g-3a) in his last five games against San Jose. Martin Erat, who missed the Feb. 2nd game with a lower-body injury, produced above a point-per-game average against San Jose last season with four points (1g-3a) in three games. Scott Hannan was selected 23rd overall (first round) by the San Jose Sharks in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft. He played 508 regular season games and 58 playoff games for the club from 1998-2007, amassing 127 points (25g-102a) and 329 penalty minutes in the regular season and 13 points (1g-12a) and 79 penalty minutes in the postseason.
Paul Gaustad remains one of the League’s top face-off men, having won 9-of-14 draws on Sunday, and 57 of his last 88 draws taken (64.8 percent) to move into second in the NHL in face-off efficiency (60.9 percent). The Portland, Ore., native has also gotten the offense going recently, posting three points (1g-2a) in his last four games. On Saturday night at Minnesota, he tallied his first regular-season goal in a Predators sweater – he tallied his first goal for the Predators in Game One of the 2012 Western Conference Quarterfinals against Detroit (April 11, 2012).
Last Tuesday at St. Louis, he tallied his first multi-point effort (2a) of the season last Tuesday against the Blues – it was his first multi-point game since Jan. 31st, 2012 (1g-2a). Gaustad joined the Predators at the 2012 Trade Deadline in a deal with the Buffalo Sabres, and signed a four-year contract with the team last summer.
For more information about the Nashville Predators, visit www.predators.nhl.com/
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