Sharks Come Back in Third to Beat Predators

By Mary Walsh

AP photo: San Jose Sharks Tomas Hertl celebrates his third period goal against the Nashville Predators on Saturday night

Thanks to two goals from Tomas Hertl and a shootout winner from Logan Couture, the San Jose Sharks came back in the third period to defeat the Nashville Predators 3-2. The win puts the Sharks just three points out of first in the Pacific, but with only three games remaining, the chances are slim that they will catch Los Angeles or Anaheim.

After the game, Sharks goaltender James Reimer talked about how the win bodes well for the playoffs:

It’s good to see. Obviously, sometimes things aren’t going to go your way in the playoffs and so …I’m sure they’ve been doing it all year, but to have the confidence that you can come back from being down two goals in the last twenty, it’s nice to see and another good building block leading up to the playoffs.

With their 27th road win this season, the Sharks tied a franchise record. The last time the Sharks won 27 road games in a season was 2007-08. The Sharks have just one more chance to break the record, on Tuesday against the Minnesota Wild.

The third period comeback featured a 13-4 shot disparity in favor of the Sharks. San Jose also made an impressive showing in the faceoff circle, winning 71% of the draws in the game.

The first goal came 8:07 into the first period, after a neutral zone turnover from Chris Tierney that ended up on Roman Josi’s stick. His pass found Mike Ribeiro near the far boards. He waited for Weber to cross the blue line and set him up for one of his phenomenal slap shots.

Before the first period ended, Ryan Johansen seemed to score a power play goal for the Predators, but officials determined that time had run out before the puck crossed the line. The difference was razor thin.

The second Nashville goal came early in the second period. Johansen took the puck into the zone and held onto it long enough to find James Neal in the slot. Neal took a shot that bounced off of Jarnkrok’s skate and into the net. Brenden Dillon had Jarnkrok tied up but he could not control the puck’s trajectory as it went through their skates.

Just over two minutes into the third period, Joe Thornton gained control of the puck just below the Nashville blue line and made a quick pass to Joe Pavelski as he bore down on the net. Pavelski’s shot came back out in a rebound but Hertl was there to pick it up and put it back in for his 20th of the season.

Just past the ten minute mark of the third, Hertl tipped a slap shot from the blue line courtesy of Brent Burns. The play before that was fairly dazzling, as Thornton and Paul Martin moved the puck up and down the boards before Thornton found Burns with a quick pass.

The Sharks could not end it in overtime despite a power play 50 seconds in. A broken stick for Pavelski certainly had something to do with that. The Sharks managed five shots in overtime, while only allowing one to the Predators.

In the shootout, Logan Couture shot first for San Jose and scored with a quick release that went under Hutton’s pad. Joonas Donskoi shot second for the Sharks but missed. James Reimer stopped shots from Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen and Craig Smith to win it.

Penalty kills were perfect for both teams, as the Sharks power play went 0-3 and the Predators power play went 0-2.

The Sharks next play in Minneapolis against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday at 5:00 PT.

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.