The rip-roaring, circus like atmosphere of Saturday's Fisher versus Foppa event has come and gone. Forsberg left hockey, leaving 17,113 Predator patrons with the honor of seeing his last game. The honeymoon with Mike Fisher needs to move quickly into a mature stage with a focus on normalcy, and winning.
With that being said, the battle for sixth place in the Western Conference between the Nashville Predators (30-19-7) and the San Jose Sharks (30-21-6) will kick off at 7 p.m. at the Bridgestone Arena.
The Predators and Sharks have played twice this season with the Preds winning both games. On December 15 in Nashville, the Preds were down 2-1 late in the third and I went to the restroom and they scored two goals in 44 seconds to clinch a 3-2 win.
On January 8, in San Jose, the Preds won 2-1 for their first win at the HP Pavillion since 2002 as it capped off the second ever sweep of the three California teams on a road swing.
Tonight's game is the last of seven on a road trip to the East for the Sharks. They won the first four game but have since lost to the Devils and Panthers. The Fish are 7-2-1 in their last ten and are a point behind the Preds in the standings.
The Predators have won two in a row for the first time since a three game winning streak that ended on January 23. They are 5-4-1 in their last ten games and are eight days away from one of their worst showings of the year against Edmonton last Monday.
Barry Trotz indicated that Marcel Goc will return to the lineup and that Marik Svatos is close to a return. Matt Halischuk was sent down to Milwaukee on Sunday morning. There is no indication that Cal O'Reilly, Francis Bouillon, or Matthew Lombardi will return any time soon.
It is expected that Pekka Rinne (20-14-5, 2.11, .928) will be in net for the Predators and that Antti Niemi (17-15-3, 2.56, .916) will start for the Sharks with Carter Hutton (0-0-0, 0.00, .000) as the back-up. Antero Niittymaki (12-6-3, 2.54, .901) is out with a lower body injury.
The Preds will stay home for the rest of the week with games against Vancouver on Thursday and Phoenix on Saturday.
Other game previews cone from Amanda DiPaolo, Chris Burton, Predatorial, The Tennessean, and Predators.com.
Previews from California comes from The Mercury News, Inside Bay Area, SF Gate, Working the Corners, Fear the Fin, Battle of California, Blades of Teal, SharksPage, and Couch Tarts.
In Pred Nation...
Amanda DiPaolo discusses the standing ovation during a TV timeout as a growing tradition at the Bridgestone Arena
David Boclair compares the Steve Sullivan trade to others that the Preds have made at the deadline over the years.
Bryan Mullen discusses the Predators wanting to break out of the pack in the Western Conference.
The Predatorial has his Pred colored glasses on in making his year end predictions. I admit I had the Preds making the West finals with the Kings in the preseason but second in the west may be pushing it.
Predator fans on Twitter and Facebook have a chance to win a suite in a new contest that started yesterday. Check here for more details and add the Preds on to be eligible for a prize.
Here is another promo where you can get $6.00 off a ticket for bringing a Shea Weber can of Mountain Dew page to the game. You can also register to win a suite too.
Wade Belak went to Heritage Middle School to stamp out bullying which is the number one cause of suicide among kids.
Dirk Hoag has a video explaining some new line combinations at yesterday's Preds practice.
Jas Faulkner has her weekly Preds round-up at The Hockey Writers.
Around the NHL...
Here is the video of Peter Forsberg's retirement presser yesterday.
It appears that the Avalanche folks were as surprised as everyone else by the announcement.
Adrian Dater puts a bow on a long day for the Avs' faithful and calls it the Darkest Day in Avalanche history. The 9-1 loss to Calgary was the finale. Dater also gives 21 memories of Peter Forsberg.
Philadelphia paid a high price in sending first and third round picks in this summer's Entry Draft to Toronto in exchange for Kris Versteeg. This make's David Poile's price for Mike Fisher look like something from the sale bin at Big Lots.
Thursday's Preds' opponent, Vancouver, lost 3-2 to St. Louis last night snapping Roberto Luongo's 21 game unbeaten streak (16-0-5) that Dated back to December 5.
Ryan Porth looks back at the moves at last year's trade deadline.
Scott Burnside calls out Mario Lemieux for his remarks about the league's action in the Pens-Isles debacle. Paul McCann agrees and calls on Mario to set an example.
The flip side of that argument is Steve Yzerman encouraging Mario to speak out more often.
Adam Gretz does the math on cap hits for potential free agents.
Aaron Woods has the audio and transcript of the NHL presser yesterday for the upcoming Heritage Classic at AZ Vibe Sports.
I suspected that the $100,000 fine against the Islanders would be tough to raise but I never expected it would come to a celebrity boxing fundraiser. Intent to Blow has the scoop.
Odds and Ends...
Remind me when I get my European Tour card not to spit on the course. This article has a couple of outrageous quotes and the video of the vile incident.
This is silly. Do you want to know how you would look if you were Andy the Android? This app lets you find out.
I'm sorry but a railroad is not a "dry canal."
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass