(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
By Pearl Allison Lo
The Nashville Predators’ goalie was a rockstar, stopping 42 shots, including three straight, in a 5-1 win over San Jose Tuesday.
Nashville pushed their win streak to a season-high six games and have scored at least three goals in each.
The Sharks have given up at least four goals in five of its last six games, all of those losses.
Craig Smith scored twice, which included the game-winner. Teammate Mike Ribeiro pressured San Jose’s Matt Nieto into shooting the puck off the boards, and then got to the puck before Marc-Edouard Vlasic could. Smith then put in Mattias Ekholm’s rebound, which went off Alex Stalock’s glove at 16:02 of the first.
Ribeiro also had another assist and teammate Shea Weber had a goal and an assist.
The Sharks got on the board first. Matt Irwin started the play behind the net and then raced to the other end. Meanwhile, Melker Karlsson made a cross ice pass to Joe Pavelski, who fed Irwin as Irwin put the puck under Rinne’s stick arm at 5:26.
It stayed 1-0 until Weber received the puck off a faceoff win by Mike Fisher and shot it into the net through traffic to tie the game at 13:42.
Thing started to get out of hand when Nashville scored two goals less than a minute apart in the second.
Smith struck again first, 53 seconds into the period on a power play leftover from the first. Smith tipped Colin Wilson’s shot and then got the rebound. Seth Jones also aided.
Paul Gaustad scored at 1:43, helped by Gabriel Borque and Weber.
Not too long after, was Rinne’s highlight reel during San Jose’s second power play. He went to the ground for three saves with his left pad then reached over to his right to rob Joe Pavelski.
James Neal made it 5-1 at 10:31 with Ribeiro.
The Sharks had their third scoreless power play opportunity in the third. They also had another push with about five minutes left in the third, but could not break through.
Game notes: San Jose’s Alex Stalock had his first start since February 4. Fellow goalie Antti Niemi is reported as being on the trading block. The Sharks’ Justin Braun returned from an 11-game hand injury hiatus in exchange for Matt Tennyson. Braun got knocked to the ice during the second but was able to return in the third. San Jose faces the Dallas Stars Thursday at 5:30pm.