SAN JOSE -- The Nashville Predators did the Sharks a big favor Friday night with a 5-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. That tightened up the Pacific Division title race, but San Jose isn't in any position to show its gratitude.

Not with a game against the same Predators on Saturday night.

"It's only good if we take advantage of it and get the points that we're playing for tonight," Patrick Marleau said of the Friday night outcome. "But it's one of those things that you need a little help."

The Sharks trail Anaheim by one point, but the Ducks now only have one game in hand, not two.

Does Todd McLellan think his team can get a boost against the Predators -- a team that won't be in the playoffs -- because of the chance to jump ahead of Anaheim?

"That's the million dollar question," the Sharks coach said after his team's morning skate. "We've been in this situation a couple times against non-playoff teams and we haven't taken advantage of it. I'd like to think that our team can come out and play and do everything we can to get the win. If we can get a leg up on Anaheim it forces them to win. Right now they don't have to. That will be a goal of ours tonight."

Goalie Antti Niemi will get the start for the Sharks. Nashville is expected to start backup Carter Hutton, a onetime San Jose prospect, who beat San Jose 3-2 when the teams met at Bridgestone Arena on Dec. 14. That was the first of two defeats by the same score in earlier meetings between the teams, both in Nashville.

For more on the Sharks, see David Pollak's Working the Corners blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/sharks. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/PollakOnSharks.