The San Jose Sharks continue their quest for their elusive first win of the season on Saturday night when they visit the Nashville Predators.
The Sharks (0-3-1), the lone NHL team without a victory in 2023-24, find themselves in familiar water. They are winless after four games for the second straight season and third time in the last five campaigns.
Despite his team’s sluggish start to this season, San Jose head coach David Quinn reflected on some positives following a 3-1 setback to the Boston Bruins on Thursday.
“I thought we made a step forward with the things we touched on after our last game. I thought we spent more time in the O-zone. There was definitely more possession and forechecking,” Quinn said. “We’ve got a long way to go to where we want to get to. You’re not going to go from A to Z without going through the alphabet. There was progress today.”
Anthony Duclair recorded his first goal of the season for San Jose, which hopes to alter its fortunes heading into the opener of a five-game road trip.
“I’m just looking for a full effort, to be honest — a full 60-minute effort for myself,” Duclair said. “Everybody’s looking for that in this locker room. It’s always nice to see the puck go in the back of the net. Obviously, it was a lucky one, but it was good for my confidence for myself, especially before the road trip.”
Tomas Hertl set up Duclair’s goal for his third assist in his last two games. Hertl collected a goal and an assist in three meetings with the Predators last season. Nashville, however, won all three encounters.
Quinn told reporters that Mikael Granlund will accompany the team on its road trip but captain Logan Couture will not. Both players are nursing lower-body injuries.
While San Jose is looking to change its narrative when it hits the road, the Predators will be opening a three-game homestand fresh off a comprehensive victory over the New York Rangers.
Cole Smith scored twice in just under a five-minute stretch in the first period Thursday, fueling Nashville to a 4-1 win. Smith entered Thursday’s contest with just four goals in his first 82 NHL games.
“Besides the goal part, just being able to contribute for the guys here and to finally bury one on a breakaway felt good,” Smith said. “Any time you can put one in the back of the net, help the guys out and get a good start like that, it’s good.”
Filip Forsberg scored his first goal since Jan. 26 and added an assist for the Predators. He missed his team’s final 32 games last season due to an upper-body injury.
“It’s been a while,” Forsberg said. “There’s been some chances for sure, but I’ve been playing decent hockey, creating chances and if you keep doing that usually they do come.”
Forsberg and Ryan O’Reilly converted on the power play Thursday. The Predators were just 2-for-17 with the man advantage in their previous four games.