Preview: Predators at Sharks (3/11)

Location: HP Pavilion at San Jose

Game Time: 9:30 pm Central

TV: FSN

Radio: 104.5 FM

Records:

Nashville: 36-25-5 (77)

San Jose: 42-14-9 (93)

Season Series:

11/10/09 – NSH 3 – SJ 4

11/17/o9 – SJ 3 – NSH 4

2/6/10 – SJ 4 – NSH 3

The World’s Most Dangerous Line: The Sharks’ top line played together in the Olympics. The “Shark Line” of Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton and Dany Heatley worked together in Vancouver to pick up 7 goals and 7 assists over 7 games. Oh yeah, they also picked up a little hardware, too. This success, of course, was not remotely new to them. Over the course of the 2009-10 season, Marleau, Thornton and Heatley have a combined 89 goals, 125 assists and 214 points through 65 games. Clearly the key to beating the Sharks would require any team to minimalize this line. Of course, no one has really been able to do that this year.

A Man Named Jed: In his 230 NHL games before this season, former Predator Jed Ortmeyer had scored 13 goals and assisted on 19 others for a career total of 32 points. In his 53 games in a Predators uniform, Ortmeyer garnered a grand total of 8 points (4 goals-4 assists). However, in his 64 games in San Jose, Jed has excelled, racking up 7 goals and 10 assists for a career high 17 points.

Fins to the Left: Thursday will be the fourth and final game of the season series. So far, every single game has been a 4-3 contest, with the Sharks winning the first and the third matchups, while the Predators won the second. The fact that the Sharks won the last game bodes well for the Predators. Neither team has won two games in a row since the Sharks swept the series in 2007-08.

Lack of Scoring: With Martin Erat leading the Predators in scoring with 41 points, the Predators risk not having a 50 point scorer for only the third time in franchise history. On the bright side, with 77 points, this year’s team has already surpassed the last two teams that failed to hit the mark. David Legwand led the team in scoring in 2002-03 with 48 points. That team managed just 74 points over the course of the season. That was still better than the 2001-02 season, when Cliff Ronning led the team in scoring with 49 points…despite leaving at the trade deadline. That team finished with just 69 points – the worst nonexpansion season in franchise history.

Le_wand: A consistent 40 point scorer for the majority of his career (and he still has a decent chance of hitting that this year), David Legwand started the year on pace for his second career 50-point season. In the first 42 games of the season, he picked up 10 goals and 16 assists.  In the 24 games since, Legwand has only managed 7 assists. He has not scored a goal since January 2 against Anaheim…again, a span of 24 games. This drought is the longest of his career, surpassing a 22 game drought in the 2001-02 season and a 20 game drought in the 2000-01 season.

400! On Tuesday, Barry Trotz became just the seventh coach in NHL history to record 400 wins with one team. More notably, it puts him just 13 games behind legendary Red Wings coach Jack Adams for 20th all time. Adams, of course, had the coaching trophy named in his honor.

Speaking of Streaks: Ryan Suter’s goal on Tuesday marked his first goal since October 22nd, ending a 57 game drought.