By Mary Walsh
AP photo: Nashville’s Flip Forsberg celebrates with teammates after scoring third period goal against San Jose Saturday night
Despite a strong first period, the San Jose Sharks lost by a score of 6-2 to the Nashville Predators on Saturday. Sharks goals came from Joe Thornton, his 200th as a Shark, and Logan Couture. Predators goals came from Viktor Arvidsson, Filip Forsberg, Shea Weber, James Neal and Calle Jarnkrok. Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne made 28 saves on 30 shots. Sharks goaltender Martin Jones made 24 saves on 29 shots.
After the game, Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said:
We established our game early, I think the shots were 10-1 there for a while, and with some good looks. We didn’t find that way early, and stayed with it. We’re right there. They go up 2-0, no one quit and we got the next one. We had a good feeling I think in the room, it’s just it went the other way in a hurry. You have nights like that I guess but we’ve got to get back in the win column next game.
Logan Couture also said that the game did not feel like a 6-2 game:
It felt like we were in it for most of the game, a break here a break there. Their short-handed goal goes off the stanchion and they get a three on one going the other way. They got some of those breaks. It’ unfortunate, I thought we played well for the majority of the game.
The Sharks started the game with a lot of energy and seemed to be running around the Predators at both ends of the ice. San Jose had a power play very early, but failed to score. The first goal went to the Predators, at 13:12 of the first period, when Ryan Johansen made a pass off a spin-o-rama behind the net. His pass found James Neal, who took a quick shot through a screen to beat Martin Jones. Assists went to Johansen and
The Predators extended their lead in the second period when Johansen found Calle Jarnkrok wide open in the middle of the slot. Jarnkrok’s shot bounced up after hitting Jones and went over him to score. Johansen had the lone assist.
The Sharks got one back on the power play at 15:41 of the second. The goal came with just eight seconds left in the power play. Marc-Edouard Vlasic took a shot that went through the crease and bounced off of Nashville defenseman Weber. Thornton was below the goal line and reached his stick forward to catch the puck mid air and guide it in. Assists went to Vlasic and Logan Couture.
Less than two minutes later, Victor Arvidsson scored by way of a three on two. He cross the blue line carrying the puck while skating backwards. He turned by the faceoff circle, tripped and shot in one motion. Assists went to Mike Ribeiro and Filip Forsberg.
The same line extended the Predators lead to three 6:51 into the third period. This time it was Filip Forsberg with a short-handed goal. The Sharks were on a power play with Cody Bass in the penalty box for unsportsmanlike conduct. A clearing attempt by Shea Weber hit a stanchion and bounced across the ice to Forsberg who had more space than he needed to skate up the ice. Two Predators followed quickly, making it a three on two as the reached the firing line. Forsberg opted for the shot over a pass to give his team a 4-1 lead. Weber had the lone assist.
Less than two minutes later, Arvidsson and Forsberg again entered the Sharks zone two on one. Forsberg’s pass went by two Sharks trying to catch up and found Arvidsson on the right wing. He held on to the puck as he skated across in front of the net and then put it in with a backhand. Forsberg and Ribeiro both had assists.
The Sharks’ second goal came in the Sharks sixth power play of the game. In the final two seconds of the penalty, Couture caught a pass from Thornton and took a shot while dropping to his knees above the faceoff circle. Assists to Thornton and Dylan DeMelo.
Shea Weber scored the final goal of the game, into a net that was empty early. Sharks coach Pete DeBoer opted to pull Jones with almost five minutes remaining in the game.
The Sharks road trip continues and they play next in Chicago against the Blackhawks, at 5:30 PT on Tuesday.