Logan Couture has been on a force on the offensive end and the San Jose Sharks have benefited as a result. With 11 points (seven goals, four assists) in his last seven contests, Couture aims to keep his foot on the gas Wednesday when the Sharks play the second contest of their five-game homestand against the Nashville Predators.
Couture notched an assist on Monday as San Jose collected its fifth win in seven outings with a 3-2 victory over Toronto. While the Sharks are treading water in the top-heavy Pacific Division, the Predators have dropped three of four overall and seen their offense stuck in neutral with just nine goals in their last five. “We’ve had a lot of good games where we haven’t gotten points, and a couple of bad ones that we just have to forget about,” said Nashville forward Filip Forsberg, who has three tallies in his last four games overall and resides one goal shy of 100 for a career that is only 275 games old. The 23-year-old Swede was held off the scoresheet in all three contests versus San Jose last season and has just three points (one goal, two assists) in nine career encounters.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN
ABOUT THE PREDATORS (5-4-2): Nashville has had plenty of time to stew after John Tavares netted a hat trick in the New York Islanders’ 6-2 romp on Saturday, perhaps reason enough for coach Peter Laviolette to welcome the challenge of the team’s upcoming road trip. “Going on the road and getting some wins and building something on the road, there’s always something to be said for that,” Laviolette told reporters. “I think if you’ve been around long enough, you’ve come back from road trips and (you’ve been successful) and then I’ve been on road trips that go the other way, too. But our group is ready to go on the road.” The Predators will play three games in four nights against the California contingent, with a rematch of the Western Conference final slated for Friday against Anaheim.
ABOUT THE SHARKS (6-5-0): Rookie defenseman Tim Heed has made the most of his opportunity to step into the lineup in place of veteran Paul Martin, who sustained an ankle injury three weeks ago. The 26-year-old Heed logged a career-high 21:06 of ice time and collected a goal and an assist for his first career multi-point performance on Monday to increase his point total to six (two goals, four assists) in the past seven games overall. “When I look at his game (Monday), I thought it was excellent. There isn’t a whole lot I would change,” Sharks coach Pete DeBoer told the San Jose Mercury News of Heed, who was signed as a free agent out of Sweden in 2016.
1. Nashville G Pekka Rinne owns an 11-6-4 mark with one shutout and a 1.87 goals-against average and .942 save percentage in 22 career encounters with San Jose.
2. Sharks F Joe Thornton notched an assist on Monday to move into sole possession of 20th place on the NHL’s all-time scoring list with 1,399 career points.
3. Predators F Craig Smith has scored in back-to-back contests after mustering just two points (one goal, one assist) in his previous nine contests.
PREDICTION: Sharks 3, Predators 1