Joonas Donskoi and Ben Smith returned to the Sharks lineup tonight, along with Paul Martin, who had played in one prior game before. It was the closest the Sharks have been to healthy in a while, with Logan Couture the only player missing due to injury from opening night.
Despite those returns, the Sharks still lost 2-1 to the Nashville Predators, but they looked okay doing it. Nashville is a very good team, 7-1-1 now, and the Sharks took them right down to the wire. Shots finished 24-21 in Nashville's favor, with a slight edge in shot attempts as well: 61-57.
Eric Nystrom scored the only goal of the first period, burying a one-timer on the rush from Roman Josi behind him. This was the first time this season that the Paul Martin - Brent Burns paring was scored on this season at 5 on 5.
Joe Pavelski tied the game early in the third. He was crosschecked by Shea Weber down to the ice, but got back up and buried a shot from the slot to even the game 1:28 into the final frame.
Nashville controlled play after that goal however, and Calle Jarnkrok would convert on a 2-on-1 against Matt Tennyson to take the lead.
The Sharks had two very strong chances in the final minute with the extra attacker, but Burns had a shot blocked, and Vlasic hit the crossbar.
This game really came down to the wire. Nashville is just a very good team. The Predators blocked a ton of shots, and got in passing lanes as well. Pekka Rinne was almost unbeatable - which is honestly par for the course for Rinne. If the Sharks put out this effort every time, they'll win a lot more than they'll lose. The Sharks fall to 5-4-0 on the season.
Sharks goals (assists): Joe Pavelski (Matt Nieto, Matt Tennyson)
Fear the Fin's Three Stars
1) Pekka Rinne
2) Joe Pavelski
3) Shea Weber