Two second period goals seventeen seconds apart sealed the San Jose Sharks’ third straight win, as they beat the Nashville Predators 4-1.
Nashville controlled play for the game’s first 12 minutes and change, but Martin Jones’ left post prevented Filip Forsberg from giving the Predators the lead. Shortly after, Pekka Rinne poked the puck away from Patrick Marleau sitting alone in front of the Nashville net, and prevented a scoring chance.
San Jose opened the scoring thanks to some sloppy play by Rinne. As the Sharks entered the zone, Rinne charged out of his net. San Jose held possession, and nearly scored twice with Rinne scrambling back to his crease. After sustaining extended pressure, the Sharks finally scored when Joonas Donskoi whacked a loose puck through Rinne’s five hole, off of the left post, and in.
Just 2:47 in to the second, Joe Pavelski gave the Sharks a two-goal advantage on the power play. Brent Burns fired a shot wide off of the face-off, and Pavelski banked the puck in off of Rinne as the Finnish goaltender failed to cover the puck with his glove.
17 seconds later, the Sharks scored again. David Schlemko carried the puck into the offensive zone, and passed to Micheal Haley in front of the net. Predators defenseman P.K. Subban tied him up, but the puck bounced directly off of Haley to Tommy Wingels, who flicked a backhander past a diving Rinne to increase San Jose’s lead to three goals.
Mike Fisher nearly cut the deficit to two on a power play with just over five minutes left in the second, but failed to provide the “toe” to Ryan Johansen and Roman Josi’s “tic” and “tac” and flubbed his shot off of the post. Nearly two minutes later, Logan Couture also found iron on the Sharks’ own power play, as Rinne got enough
Eight seconds after Ryan Johansen hit another post (the crossbar this time), James Neal redirected Ryan Ellis’ point shot past Martin Jones, and cut the Sharks’ lead to two goals with a little over 41 seconds left in the second period.
The Predators pushed to tie the game in the third period, but Martin Jones shut the door. He stopped every third period shot that he faced, including a flurry of opportunities with Pekka Rinne pulled late in the third period.
Filip Forsberg tripped Joe Thornton with an empty net behind him, and Thornton was awarded an automatic goal in lieu of a penalty shot, even though he was probably looking to pass. The Sharks led 4-1, and that would hold as the final, as San Jose finished its homestand undefeated.
- Joel Ward left the game briefly in the third period after catching an elbow to the head. Mike Ribeiro should have been booked for interference after lunging into Ward following his drop pass to Subban, but he didn’t. Luckily, Ward returned before the conclusion of the game, but any time head contact is involved, you have to keep a watchful eye.
- The third line had another strong game tonight. Marleau was held off of the scoresheet, but looked dangerous again. The trio of Marleau, Tomas Hertl, and Melker Karlsson were among the Sharks’ best possession players at even strength, even as Nashville made a push backed by score effects. If they keep playing like this, they’ll score soon.
- Martin Jones has stopped all but two shots he’s faced over the last two games. San Jose’s been among the league’s best at suppressing shots, but Jones has bounced back well from his slow start to the season. Hopefully the Sharks can get him some rest and see no drop-off with Aaron Dell in net soon.
- Pekka Rinne really struggled this game. He misplayed the puck a few times, and was directly responsible for at least two of the Sharks’ goals. He’s improved from last year at even strength, and the Sharks largely controlled play, but Rinne didn’t do the Predators any favors.
- Randy Hahn had two chances to refer to the Coyotes, the Sharks’ next opponent, as the “desert dogs” on tonight’s broadcast and took advantage of both opportunities. If he gets called up to call the game on NBCSN on Tuesday, please drink plenty of water.
Fear the Fin’s Three Stars
- Martin Jones
- Joonas Donskoi
- Brent Burns