The San Jose Sharks checked in at No. 24 in the NHL odds to win the Stanley Cup. The Sharks defied those predictions by opening the season with four consecutive wins and look to stay continue the fast start when they visit the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night.
It is hard to make too many declarations after five games but it is interesting that San Jose is 3-1 on the road while Nashville is just 1-3 at home. San Jose has not fared well in recent trips to Music City, dropping eight of its last nine games at Nashville
Tuesday’s game is at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+/Hulu.
San Jose Sharks at Nashville Predators
Couture, Meier off to Sizzling Starts
Logan Couture has accomplished a great many things since being taken by the San Jose Sharks with ninth overall pick in the 2007 NHL draft. However, it’s been a while since he started a season like this one. Couture has a point in all five games. He is looking for points in his first six games for the first time since the 2013-14 campaign.
Timo Meier didn’t have a point in seven of his last 10 games a season ago but, like his lineman, he has a point each game. Couture and Meier have combined for six goals and 14 points in four road games this season.
The veterans haven’t been having all the fun, as rookies Jonathan Dahlen, William Eklund and Jasper Weatherby have five goals and five assists between them. The Sharks’ roster has an interesting mix with seven players over the age of 30 and six others under the age of 25.
San Jose had a chance to take an unbeaten record into the game as the Sharks scored twice in the third period to pull within a goal of host Boston on Sunday before falling a goal short of their fifth win of the season.
The Sharks are second in the NHL in penalty killing with just one power-play goal allowed in 13 chances.
Those who bet sports online have been loving the Sharks as San Jose is 5-0 against the spread.
Nashville Offense Showing Signs of Life
Goals were hard to come by when the season started as the Nashville Predators scored eight times in the first four games, with three of those coming against the expansion Seattle Kraken. Nashville posted nine goals in the last two games.
Defenseman Roman Josi, the 2019-20 Norris Trophy winner, had a hand in all three first-period goals in Sunday’s win at Minnesota. He finished with a goal and three assists for his first four-point game since a 4-0 win over against Dallas on March 12, 2013.
Nashville has some huge holes to fill with the retirement of goalie Pekka Rinne and the departure of veteran defensemen Seth Jones and Ryan Ellis, now members of the Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers, respectively.
Alexandre Carrier and Dante Fabbro both got quality ice time last season and are key cogs to a revamped defensive unit. They aren’t the only youngsters playing pivotal roles for the Predators.
Heading into Monday’s night slate of games, there were six rookies who had scored at least two points and six of them could be playing in this game. In addition to the aforementioned trio of Sharks, Thomas Novak, Philip Tomasino and Tanner Jeannot have combined for four goals and five assists.
The story of goalie Connor Ingram is one for the ages. Ingram has played for three different AHL franchises and overcame some personal struggles before winning in his NHL debut.
“I still don’t think it’s hit me,” Ingram told reporters after making 33 saves in a 5-2 win over Minnesota. “Ignorance is bliss at this point. I don’t know what’s going on yet.”
On to the Pick
Nashville is usually one of the best home teams in the NHL so the early losses in front of its passionate home fans is a bit of a surprise.
This will be a good test for San Jose to follow up a tough game in Boston by playing at Nashville.
The total has gone over in seven of the last nine home games that Nashville has played against teams from the Pacific Division. The scores and odds list the total as six.