Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks
By Mary Walsh
The San Jose Sharks lost 5-2 to the Nashville Predators Thursday, their second loss in a row on the current road trip. Nashville goals came from Kyle Turris, Viktor Arvidsson, Craig Smith, Ryan Ellis and Nick Bonino. Sharks goals came from Logan Couture, Brenden Dillon and Mikkel Boedker. In goal, Nashville’s Juuse Saros made 39 saves for the win, while Martin Jones made 27 saves for the Sharks. The game was whistle-riddled, including a high-pressure penalty shot for the Sharks in the final two minutes of the game. Despite eleven penalties called, neither team scored on the power play.
Thursday’s loss ended the Sharks’ nine-game point streak, but Sharks forward Logan Couture still said: “It was a good game, it was a fun game to be a part of. It was back and forth, I thought it had a lot of grade A looks against a very good defensive team. Their goaltender made some big time saves down the stretch there. But yeah, it was a fun game.”
This was the Sharks’ second loss in a row to Nashville. On February 22, Nashville won 7-1 in San Jose. Of Thursday’s road game, Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon said:
They’re the top team in the West and I think we came in and pretty much proved to ourselves that we can hang with them, and not just hang with but play well. I think we deserved better tonight, we had a lot of chances. Their goalie played well, credit to him. But I think we really took a step in our game, coming back in here after the last time.
The first period was thick with scoring. Early in the first period, Kyle Turris gave Nashville their first lead of the game. P.K Subban’s hard shot from the point rebounded off Jones and went right to Turris’ stick. Assists went to Subban and Craig Smith.
Less than two minutes later, Logan Couture tied it. As the puck came to him along the blue line, Brent Burns saw Couture skating through the high slot and hit him with a one-touch pass. Couture carried the puck briefly before taking a wrist shot that beat Saros on the short side. Assists went to Burns and Mikkle Boedker.
Just past the midpoint of the period, Nashville took another lead when Viktor Arvidsson and Filip Forsberg turned a blue line giveaway into a two-on-none against Martin Jones. Assists went to Forsberg and Ryan Johansen.
The Sharks tied the game, again less than two minutes later, with a goal from Brenden Dillon. Dillon’s shot found its way through a line of moving traffic, including a couple of Sharks, but touched no one and gave Dillon his fifth of the season. The lone assists went to Jannik Hansen.
The second period saw six penalties and just one goal. Craig Smith scored at 10:38. Kyle Turris carried the puck across both blue lines before dropping it to Ryan Ellis. Ellis took the shot, creating a rebound that Smith picked up as he arrived behind the traffic. Assists went to Turris and Ellis.
Mikkel Boedker tied it up next, at 5:54 of the third period. Just as a Sharks power play ended, several Sharks took shots from in fairly close before the Boedker moved the puck away from the net. He skated across the slot and took a shot from the top of the faceoff crcle. His shot seemed to hit one of the Nashville players in front of the net, then dropped and bounced across the line. Assists went to Chris Tierney and Timo Meier.
Ryan Ellis gave the Predators their final lead at 10:06. Ryan Johansen carried the puck through the neutral zone and handed it off to Viktor Arvidsson. Arvidsson tried to center it but it bounced off a skate and then pinballed off the boards to Ellis high in the slot. His shot caught Jones trying to move across. Assists went to Filip Forsberg and Arvidsson.
The final few minutes to the third period were frenetic. The Sharks had a power play at 16:50 after P.K Subban put the puck over the glass, and before that ended, Ryan Ellis was called for displacing the net. Logan Couture was awarded a penalty shot for the Ellis penalty but he could not beat Saros. The Predators killed off the Subban penalty and got a goal from Nick Bonino in the empty net with 17 seconds left in regulation.
The Sharks are still in second place in the Pacific Division, five points behind the Las Vegas Golden Knights and five points ahead of the Los Angeles Kings. The Sharks next play in Las Vegas on Saturday at 7:30 pm PT.