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liny195
03.09.2018, 10:19
Thursday night is about chasing history for the Nashville Predators.

When it hosts the San Jose Sharks in Bridgestone Arena Jabaal Sheard Jersey (http://www.coltscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-jabaal-sheard-jersey) , Nashville can break the franchise’s single-season record for points with a victory. Currently sitting at 109 points with a 49-16-11 mark, the Predators can also move a step closer to home-ice advantage for the Stanley Cup playoffs by picking up two points.

Probably of more importance to the players and coach Peter Laviolette, however, is maintaining the level of play they displayed Tuesday night in a 2-1 shootout win over Minnesota. After allowing 13 goals in the previous three games — all losses — Nashville limited the Wild to 23 shots and controlled most of the game.

“It was a good step in the right direction to getting back to the way we need to play as we approach the playoffs,” Laviolette said. “I thought our guys just did a really good job of locking down tonight, especially early on in the game.”

Three points ahead of Tampa Bay for the NHL’s best record, the Predators also lead surging Winnipeg by five points in the Central Division with six games remaining. While they reached the Stanley Cup Finals last spring, the franchise has never captured a division title in its 20-year history.

Laviolette and his team identified their last 12 division games as being particularly critical to achieving a division title. The victory over Minnesota enabled Nashville to go 9-2-1 in that stretch Mark Sanchez Jersey (http://www.bearscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-mark-sanchez-jersey) , no small feat since there’s a decent chance the division will send five teams to the Western Conference playoffs.

“We always mark these games against Central Division opponents,” captain Roman Josi said. “They’re always big games in our division. It’s such a tough division and there are so many good teams, so we always make sure we’re ready for those games. It’s obviously good for us to have that record.”

While the Predators are running down history, San Jose (44-23-10) is still trying to catch Vegas in the Pacific Division. Tuesday night’s 3-2 overtime loss in St. Louis gave the Sharks a point, but a second one would have helped that long-shot bid.

Despite the outcome, San Jose coach Peter DeBoer wasn’t entirely upset with his team’s performance.

“It was our fifth game in eight days,” he said. “I thought we had a lot of factors going, but I thought the guys dug deep and got a valuable point.”

The Sharks trail the Golden Knights by five points with five games left Joe Mixon Jersey (http://www.bengalscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-joe-mixon-jersey) , and must try for a win in perhaps their biggest jinx building in the league. Dating to the strike-shortened 2013 season, they have won just once in their last 11 visits to Bridgestone.

That includes a 7-1 blowout on Feb. 22, when Nashville scored four third-period goals and presented Pekka Rinne with his 300th career win in goal. San Jose gave up a whopping 46 shots on net that night, and goalie Martin Jones was pulled after allowing six markers.

Jones (29-18-6, 2.45 goals-against average, .918 save percentage) should be back in net Thursday night after Aaron Dell played in St. Louis. Rinne (41-11-4, 2.25, .929) figures to get the call for the Predators.

SALT LAKE CITY — Being a playoff novice isn’t preventing Utah Jazz point guard Ricky Rubio from making a major impact on the court.

Rubio turned in one of the finest performances of his career while sparking the Jazz to a 115-102 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday. He tallied 26 points on 9-for-18 shooting Adam Shaheen Jersey (http://www.bearscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-adam-shaheen-jersey) , 10 assists, 11 rebounds and two steals to help Utah claim a 2-1 series lead over Oklahoma City. The Thunder will look to even the series again when the two teams square off again on Monday night.

Rubio became the first Jazz player to earn a triple-double in the postseason since John Stockton did it in 2001. Being in the same company as an NBA Hall of Famer meant a great deal to Rubio.

“Having my name next to his name is an honor,” Rubio said. “I don’t know what else to say. It’s huge. I have huge respect for him.”

Rubio’s efforts rescued Utah when the Jazz dug a hole late in the first quarter and early in the second quarter. Oklahoma City took a 45-33 lead on a driving layup from Russell Westbrook about five minutes into the quarter. Rubio suddenly took over and imposed his will on both ends of the court.

Over the final 7:13 of the first half, Rubio ripped off 15 points on 4 of 8 shooting, collected six rebounds, dished out a pair of assists and had a steal. It turned a 12-point deficit into 58-53 halftime lead for the Jazz.

“Ricky attacked,” Utah coach Quin Snyder said. “He attacked, but with poise and he was making some shots. I thought he took good shots and it really stabilized our group during that time.”

Utah never trailed in the second half and the team’s latest win has put Oklahoma City in a desperate position going into Game 4. The Thunder need a victory to avoid going back to Oklahoma facing an elimination game on Wednesday.

“Game 4 is going to be a test of what type of team we are and who we are as a team Dennis Smith Jersey (http://www.broncoscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-dennis-smith-jersey) ,” forward Carmelo Anthony said. “We look forward to these type of challenges.”

The Thunder put tons of defensive pressure on the Jazz at times. Oklahoma City forced 19 turnovers and turned those turnovers into 33 points. But the Thunder could not take care of the ball when it mattered as the game progressed.

Oklahoma City coughed up 17 turnovers, leading to 15 points for the Jazz. Six of them came in the third quarter and led to 10 points for Utah. It allowed the Jazz to build an 89-75 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

“We did a nice job midway through that second quarter and then I thought our turnovers came back and really caused a problem for us,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “I felt like our guys were working hard to get back, but it’s hard to recover when you turn the ball over like that.”

For Oklahoma City, snapping a two-game skid might come down to figuring out how to gain an edge around the basket. The Jazz have imposed their will in the post during the series.

In three games, Utah has outscored the Thunder 140-108 in the paint. The Jazz also have a 37-25 advantage in offensive rebounds and a 49-36 edge in second-chance points.

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