Sharks Beat Predators 2-1 in Shoot-out

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks defeated the Nashville Predators 2-1 in a shootout at SAP Center Saturday. Timo Meier scored to win in the seventh round of the shootout, and Tomas Hertl scored during regulation for the Sharks. Filip Forsberg scored for Nashville. Martin Jones made 24 saves for the win, and Juuse Saros made 31 saves for the Predators.

After the game, Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson said: “This is a good start. I think this was the first game where we felt right from the start no matter what the score was we felt like we were playing our game and we weren’t too worried about what they were doing. We were focused on the things that we needed to do well and I think we did that.”

Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer said: “I think 60 minute effort for sure. You know, I thought we handled the adversity of not scoring first even though we were playing well better than we have in the past. Stuck with it, and yeah I think it was our best 60-minute effort.”

Coming into Saturday’s game, Nashville had won 2 of their last 5, with their last game being a 9-4 loss in Colorado. The Sharks had also won 2 of their last five, and had just come off a high-scoring game that they prevailed in 6-5. Tightening defense was clearly a goal for both teams, so it should be no surprise that the game was scoreless through the first period and much of the second. In shots, the teams stayed within three or four, each leading for one period they each had two power plays and no power play goals. The Sharks had the lead in blocked shots and the Predators were doing better in the face-off circle.

Filip Forsberg broke the deadlock at 14:44 of the second. He scored his eighth goal of the season carrying the puck in from the blue line while fending off Erik Karlsson on his right. Despite Karlsson getting a stick in his way, Forsberg put the puck up and over Jones on the short side. Dante Fabbro got the assist for his pass from the Predators’ blue line.

With a little over a minute left in the second period, Dante Fabbro took an Evander Kane shot in the face and had to leave the game. He returned during the third period wearing a face cage.

Tomas Hertl tied it at 5:22 of the third period. He had a shot knocked off his stick during the zone entry but the Sharks retained control of the puck and eventually Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s point shot got to the net and Hertl was there to knock it in. Assists went to Vlasic and Erik Karlsson.

The score remained unchanged through the rest of the period and overtime, including an overtime power play for Nashville.

Before Timo Meier scored to win the shootout for the Sharks, Saros stopped shots from Kevin Labanc, Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl, Erik Karlsson, Evander Kane and Brent Burns.

Martin Jones stopped Matt Duchene, Ryan Ellis, Filip Forsberg, Kyle Turris, Ryan Johansen, Nick Bonino and Rocco Grimaldi.

The Sharks next play on Tuesday against the Edmonton Oilers in San Jose at 7:30 PM PT.

Sharks Fall to Predators 5-2 in Nashville

mercurynews.com photo

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks lost 5-2 to the Nashville Predators Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena. Nashville goals came from Roman Josi (2), Kyle Turris, Filip Forsberg and Dante Fabbro. Pekka Rinne made 33 saves for the win. Evander Kane and Brent Burns scored for San Jose, while Martin Jones made 20 saves in the loss. The Sharks are still looking for a win this season after four losses.

The only first period goal went to Nashville, at 6:16. Roman Josi scored after making a neutral zone pass to Colton Sissons, who carried the puck into the zone and then passed it back and into the slot. Josi was there to put it away. Assists went to Sissons and Ryan Ellis.

There was just one power play in the first period, a penalty to the Sharks’ Evander Kane for interference. The Predators outshot the Sharks 9-7 in the first.

In the second period, Josi scored again on a mid-period power play. Brenden Dillon was in the box for slashing Filip Forsberg at 9:40. A pass from the corner found Forsberg wide open in the faceoff circle, but his shot went off the post and bounced into the blue paint, where Marc-Edouard Vlasic swept it away, into the slot. Josi was there to shoot it back in for the goal.

The Sharks got their own power play goal at 15:12. Matt Duchene was called for interference on Kevin Labanc. A quick play off the faceoff moved the puck to Burns at the point. He moved along the blue line as if to pass ahead, then moved the puck back to Logan Couture, who took a shot from the point. Evander Kane tipped it in for his first of the year. Assists went to Couture and Burns.

The Sharks killed two of three penalties in the second period, and Nashville did the same. The Sharks outshot the Predators 18-7 in the period.

The Sharks started the third period with some good chances, but it was Nashville who scored at 2:51. A neutral zone breakdown allowed Kyle Turris and Calle Jarnkrok to go in two on one. Turris took the shot to give Nashvillea 3-1 lead. Rocco Grimaldi got the assist.

Nashville made it 4-1 at 7:24. Matt Duchene followed the puck down the slot and made a quick backhand pass across to Forsberg on the wing. Forsberg took the shot and beat Jones on the stick side as he came across. Assists went to Duchene and Mikael Granlund.

Brent Burns got one back for the Sharks at 15:37. The Sharks drew all of the Nashville defense off to one side with their forecheck. The puck slipped out across the ice, where Burns picked it up and shot it in with a hard wrist shot. Assists went to Lean Bergmann and Dylan Gambrell.

Dante Fabbro made it 5-2 with a shot all the way down the ice, in an empty net at 18:19. An assist went to Ryan Johansen.

The Sharks outshot the Predators 10-9 in the third, 35-25 in the game.

The Sharks next play against the Blackhawks in Chicago on Thursday at 5:30 PM PT.

Sharks Pulled Down By Predators 4-2

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks lost 4-2 to the Nashville Predators at SAP Center Saturday. The loss was the second home game in a row in which the Sharks failed to clinch their 2019 playoff spot. The Predators got goals from Viktor Arvidsson (2), Filip Forsberg and Colton Sissons. Juuse Saros made 24 saves in the win, while Martin Jones made 26 saves in the Sharks loss. Sharks goals came from Joe Thornton and Timo Meier.

Nashville scored first and early, just 1:07 into the game. Craig Smith, Colton Sissons and Calle Jarnkrok went into the Sharks zone 3-on-2, with Smith was well away on the right wing and the Sharks defense focussed on Sissons and Jarnkrok. Jarnkrok pulled up at the blue line and made a pass to Smith. Smith carried the puck in and took a shot but it came back out and Sissons had to clean it up.

No one reviewed or challenged the goal, but after his shot Smith did skate into the blue paint and fall backwards over Martin Jones. Jones was certainly prevented from doing anything to stop the Sissons shot.

Micheal Haley and Wayne Simmonds fought at 5:59. The cause of the dispute was unclear, though the invitation came from Haley. Barclay Goodrow took a roughing penalty at the same time, putting the Predators on a power play. That power play did not last long as Ryan Johansen was called for slashing Joe Pavelski less than 20 seconds into it. No goals came from any of that.

The Sharks spent the last couple of minutes of the first evicting the Predators from their territory, but Team Teal did not muster much in the way of offense. An exception was a shift from Logan Couture and Timo Meier that did lead to some shots on Saros.

By the end of the period, the Predators were outshooting the Sharks 14-11. In the face-off circle, the Sharks had improved through the period from winning just 25% early to winning 53% by the first intermission.

The Sharks tied it briefly at 4:09 of the second. Logan Couture made a short backhand pass to Joakim Ryan on the blue line. With Couture slightly screening the shot, Ryan sent it in. Saros stopped it but kicked a rebound out for Joe Pavelski. Pavelski took the shot, which Saros stopped as well, but Meier was there on the other side of the goal mouth to put that rebound away. Assists went ot Pavelski and Ryan.

That tie lasted all of 24 seconds, before Viktor Arvidsson gave Nashville the lead again. Filip Forsberg got an assist.

The Sharks had a power play at 7:09 after Sissons went for slashing Hertl. That power play generated a couple of good chances but no goal for San Jose.

The teams played 4-on-4 after Colton Sissons and Joe Thornton exchanged cross-checks at 12:59 of the second. they played 4-on-4 against at 16:36 after Roman Josi was called for interference against Timo Meier and Meier was called for unsportsmanlike conduct (embellishment?).

During that 4-on-4, Brent Burns joined the rush and received a subtle little pass from Thornton. Burns bulled his way into the zone, but instead of shooting, he veered off at the last and dropped a pass to Thornton, who was in front of the blue paint. Thornton touched the pass just enough to put the puck over Saro’s pad and in the net. The assists went to Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

At the end of the second, with the score tied, the Sharks had taken a small lead in shots 21-20. They slipped a little on the face-off dot, down to 49% after two periods.

7:04 into the third, Filip Forsberg gave the lead back to the Predators. His wrap-around shot went off of Tim Heed’s stick as Heed tried to stop the shot. Martin Jones was a slow getting back across the net after losing his balance on a stop moments before. Assists went to Matt Irwin and Ryan Johansen.

Shortly after the 10-minute mark, Logan Couture and Timo Meier collided and hit each other up high. Couture went to the bench but neither player left the game. Kevin Labanc cross-checked Roman Josi at 11:00, giving the Predators a power play. The Sharks killed that off.

The Sharks pulled Jones for the extra skater with a little more than one minute left in regulation. Nick Bonino quickly intercepted a pass and sent it out. Viktor Arvidsson skated after it to score into that empty net.

The Sharks will next play on Monday, in San Jose, against the Vegas Golden Knights at 7:30 PM PT.

Sharks v. Predators: NHL Playoffs 2nd Round Preview

By Mary Walsh

SB Nation photo: Nashville Predators come calling at SAP Center in San Jose against hosts the Sharks in game one of second round

“Sharks versus Predators” sounds a little bit like a made for tv monster movie, but the San Jose Sharks will face the Nashville Predators to start the second round of the NHL Playoffs on Friday.

The Predators came out of the Central Division as a wild card, so the Sharks did not see as much of them in the regular season as they saw of their first round Pacific Division opponent, the Los Angeles Kings. Nashville’s wild card status also gives San Jose home ice. The Sharks will have to do without their road advantage to win this series.

Probably the most important information to glean from the first round is the most obvious: the Predators played seven games, while the Sharks played only five. The Predators spent more travel time going between Nashville and Anaheim, while the Sharks traveled back and forth to Los Angeles. Round One put more mileage on the Predators than the Sharks by a big margin.

Another question would be about goaltending. Pekka Rinne has long been considered one of the league’s top goaltenders, despite his team’s conspicuous lack of playoff success. Martin Jones has performed admirably so far, despite this being his first time as a playoff starter. Neither goalie has been perfect but they have both been crucial to their team’s success.

Pekka Rinne gave up 17 goals through seven games, with a save percentage of .915. Martin Jones gave up 11 goals through five games, with a save percentage of .912. Martin Jones’ 2.18 GAA ranks fifth among playoff goalies, while Rinne’s 2.85 ranks ninth. Their save percentages are seventh and eighth in the same field.

Noteworthy in the rankings of 2016 playoff goaltenders is that two of the top three goalies in save statistics played for teams that have been eliminated. Maybe goaltending statistics do not tell you much about how a series will go.

Both Rinne and Jones finished all of their first round games, so the quality of their backups has not been an issue. If it were, I would give the edge to the Sharks’ James Reimer over the Predators’ Carter Hutton.

On paper, the Sharks have a better record in most categories than the Predators, in both the regular season and the first round. The Sharks scored more against a Pacific Division team than the Predators. But the Predators have not been and still are not an offense-first team. Much of their success comes from stingy defense. The Predators are a completely different kind of opponent than the Kings were.

In the few meetings between San Jose and Nashville this season, the Sharks lost the series 2-1. Their one win was in a shootout, and they lost one game 6-2. The Sharks have not fared well against the Predators. There is a glimmer of hope in that record, that the shootout win was the most recent game, played just 26 days ago. It caught the Sharks on the upswing, which is where they started these playoffs. It is reasonable to put more stock in the April 4th game than in the February 6th game, but those six goals have to be in the back of the Sharks’ minds. While the Kings are generally considered a more offensively loaded team than the Predators, the Kings that the Sharks played were not as they were a couple of seasons ago.

Colin Wilson and Shea Weber led the Preds in the first round with five points each. Goal scoring was pretty spread out, with Wilson, Weber, James Neal and Mattias Ekholm each scoring two goals. Six other skaters, including Filip Forsberg and Ryan Johansen scored goals against the Ducks. Forsberg and Johansen were both scoring at a good clip during the regular season so they bear watching. Defenseman Roman Josi was second in points during the regular season and he had three against the Ducks.

Craig Smith also scored a goal for the Predators, but missed two games and most of a third with an injury. The Predators did not win the games he missed. He was third on the team in goals scored with 21 in the regular season. He played the last two games in the Ducks series without much of a drop in minutes, so the Sharks can probably expect to see him on Friday.

The Sharks had more points as a group, though they played two fewer games than Nashville did. Brent Burns had eight points in the first round, with Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture collecting six apiece. Patrick Marleau and Joel Ward each had four and Joonas Donskoi and Joe Thornton each had three. That last one is a surprise, and Nashville will probably pay as much attention to Thornton as the Kings did to keep his numbers low.

Donskoi could also be considered a surprise, but a happy one for Sharks fans. His playoff performance might be attributed to a couple of things.Donskoi was a consistent points producer all season, and his time in the Finnish league cannot be overlooked. It could not have been assumed that his MVP performance in the Finnish playoffs would translate to success in the NHL playoffs, but it was a strong possibility.

Another factor that benefitted Donskoi is the fact that the Kings did not have the depth to match the Sharks. Do the Predators? Can they keep Joe Thornton in check and also stay on top of Donskoi, and for that matter, the likes of Chris Tierney, Melker Karlsson and Matt Nieto? Those three scored goals against the Kings. I don’t believe the Predators will have an easy time of it keeping all of the Sharks shooters off the board.

How successful will they be against the Sharks defense? The Sharks gave up almost as many goals as they scored in the first round. In total, they scored 16 and gave up 11, which does not seem that close unless you look at it in goals per game, where there is a difference of just one: 3.2 goals for and 2.2 goals against. One goal is enough to win the game but it leaves little margin for error.

The Sharks’ power play was pretty good against the Kings, at 23.8%. Their penalty kill was nothing special, with a 78.6% success rate. Nashville’s power play success was tiny, at 3.8%, but their penalty kill chugged along at 84% against the Ducks’ formidable power play.

The Predators scored a miniscule 0.13 more goals than they gave up in the regular season. In the first round, their numbers dipped into the negative as they scored 14 goals but gave up 18.

This is the challenge for the Sharks, to ignore what happened in the first round. The team with the most goals wins, but somehow the Predators turned that rule on its head. Obviously, the numbers are explained by a couple of bad losses that skewed the averages. That would be the second and third games where they lost by three goals both times. They also won one by 3-0, and then, like the Sharks, usually won by a single goal.

I think the Sharks’ offensive depth will again be their best asset. That is always a safe bet, but with a stifling defensive opponent like the Predators, nothing is certain.

Sharks Fall Prey to Nashville in 6-2 Road Loss

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.