Programming note: Sharks-Predators coverage gets underway at 4:30 p.m. on CSN California with Sharks Pregame Live
Where they stand
Sharks: 29-21-8, 66 points, 4th Pacific Division
Predators: 38-12-6, 82 points, 1st Central Division
Sharks: The Sharks lost their fifth straight home game on Sunday against Tampa Bay, 5-2. Logan Couture and Brent Burns were the goal scorers for San Jose, which begins a brief two-game road trip tonight that continues in Dallas on Thursday. The Sharks, 2-4-2 in their last eight, host the Kings at Levi’s Stadium on Saturday as part of the NHL’s Stadium Series.
Predators: Nashville will be attempting to close out a perfect homestand tonight after winning the first three – all in regulation/overtime – including a 3-1 win over the Devils on Saturday. Nashville has allowed just eight goals-against during a five-game winning streak, and is 8-2-1 since the All-Star break.
Keep an eye on…
Sharks: Marc-Edouard Vlasic. The defenseman returned from a four-game absence with an upper body injury, and was a -2 with partner Brent Burns in the defeat to the Lightning. That pair, should it stay together, will continue to get big minutes, and they’ll both have to be better in their own end against Nashville than they were vs. Tampa Bay. Vlasic has four points (1g, 3a) and a +3 rating in 29 career games vs. the Predators.
Predators: James Neal. The forward is tied with Filip Forsberg for the team lead in goals with 19, and is primed to hit the 20-goal plateau for the seventh straight season. An offseason addition from Pittsburgh, Neal was fined for diving after the last Predators-Sharks match after a soft slash by Barclay Goodrow late in regulation. Nashville is 10-2-2 when Neal scores a goal.
Goals per game: 2.79 (13th)
Goals-against per game: 2.76 (21st)
Power play: 21.4 percent (7th)
Penalty kill: 80.8 percent (17th)
Goals per game: 2.95 (6th)
Goals-against per game: 2.27 (3rd)
Power play: 17.8 percent (18th)
Penalty kill: 81.3 percent (14th)
Melker Karlsson – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Matt Nieto
Tomas Hertl – Chris Tierney – Tommy Wingels
Barclay Goodrow – James Sheppard – Tyler Kennedy
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon - Justin Braun
Matt Irwin – Scott Hannan
Alex Stalock (confirmed starter)
Colin Wilson – Mike Ribeiro – James Neal
Matt Cullen – Mike Fisher – Craig Smith
Filip Forsberg – Calle Jarnkrok – Taylor Beck
Eric Nystrom – Paul Gaustad – Gabriel Bourque
Roman Josi – Shea Weber
Anton Volchenkov – Seth Jones
Mattias Ekholm – Victor Bartley
Sharks: Tye McGinn (upper body), Raffi Torres (right knee), Mike Brown (broken right fibula) and Daniil Tarasov (undisclosed) are out.
Predators: Ryan Ellis (undisclosed) is out. Anton Volchenkov (lower body) is day-to-day.
Antti Niemi notched a 29-save shutout against the Predators at SAP Center on Dec. 13, beating fellow Finn Pekka Rinne. Tomas Hertl and Joe Thornton (empty net) were the goal scorers for San Jose.
The Sharks are 30-21-8 all-time against the Predators, who return to San Jose on March 12 to close out the season series.
Nashville is 7-3-1 against San Jose in the last 11 meetings.
Odds and ends
*Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli were both acquired by Nashville from Toronto on Sunday. They were drafted by and played for the Predators earlier in their careers.
*Logan Couture has a six-game point streak (3g, 5a).
*Brent Burns has four goals in the last four games. His 44 points places him tied for first in the NHL among defensemen.
*The Predators have won 16 times when giving up the first goal of the game (16-11-2), tied for first in the NHL.
*Nashville is 24-3-1 at home, while the Sharks are 15-10-3 on the road.
*Vezina Trophy candidate Pekka Rinne is 14-1-1 in his last 16 games, leads the NHL with a 1.97 goals-against average, and is second with a .931 save percentage.
“We’re doing some good things. We did a lot of good things against Arizona and did some good things tonight. We’re playing the best team in the league on Tuesday, so hopefully we’ll bounce back from this one.” – Marc-Edouard Vlasic, after the loss to Tampa Bay