San Jose Sharks (20-6-6) at Nashville Predators (15-14-3)
|Date & Time||Saturday December 14, 2013, 8:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Nashville Predators +148 / San Jose Sharks -163 --- Over/Under: 5.5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The San Jose Sharks head into Nashville on Saturday night looking to catch the division leading Ducks with w win against the Predators.
The Sharks are stuck in a logjam in the Pacific division as first place to fifth place is separated by just eight points as the Ducks, Sharks, Kings, Canucks, and Coyotes are all off to spectacular starts this season. San Jose is probably the most veteran laden of the bunch as they’re led by Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, and Joe Pavelski as they have for what seems like the better part of a decade and they’ll try to use that leadership and experience against an inexperienced Predators team. The Sharks will turn to Antii Niemi who has been their saving grace (pun intended) for the past few seasons since he made his way over from Chicago and while he hasn’t been able to win the Cup with his new squad he is more than capable of doing so as we saw during his days in the Windy City. Niemi will go up against Marek Mazenec who continues to fill in for Pekka Rinne and lately he has done a great job.
The Predators have won two straight and are starting to make some noise in the Central division but unfortunately for them they dug themselves a huge hole at the beginning of the season and now must overcome Everest proportions if they want to catch the Blackhawks, Blues, Avalanche, and Wild. Nashville is still a team that builds from the crease outward and while they may not have all the compnents that once made them one of the most feared teams in the league they still have some guys who can contribute and play their roles effectively. Unfortunately I don’t see that playing too much of a factor here as the Sharks are just a class above the Predators and I don’t imagine San Jose will have too much difficulty escaping with a victory.