The Sharks were no strangers to third period comebacks in the regular season. Tonight, it was more of the same in Game 1 of the second round as they erased a 1–0 deficit after two periods to defeat the Predators 5–2 and take a 1–0 series lead. Tomas Hertl, Joel Ward, Logan Couture and Tommy Wingels scored goals and Martin Jones made 29 saves in the win.
Pekka Rinne shut out the Sharks for 42 minutes before they finally broke through with a goal on their second power play of the game. Hertl picked up a blocked shot off the stick of Ward and beat Rinne short side to erase Nashville's 1–0 lead.
With the Sharks buzzing after Hertl's goal, Wingels came within inches of putting San Jose up 2–1 when he fired a shot at the net that hit off the goal post and died in the crease before being cleared away. Seconds later, Ward scored the Sharks' second goal, freezing Rinne with a fake shot then tucking it past him to give San Jose the lead.
A penalty drawn by Joonas Donskoi gave the Sharks an opportunity to extend their lead on the power play. It took Couture only twenty seconds to cash in and put the Sharks up 3–1.
Ryan Johansen briefly made it 3–2 with Rinne on the bench in the final minutes before Couture scored his second goal of the night into the empty net. Wingels added another empty netter with 49 seconds left to make it 5–2.
It was the power play that got the Predators on the board early in the second period after Nashville went 1-for-26 on the man advantage against Anaheim in the first round, Mike Fisher took a pass from Johansen and shot the puck high over Jones' shoulder to open the scoring in the series.
Despite the Fisher goal, the Sharks quickly put to rest any concerns that they might be rusty following a week layoff, playing an even first period and taking the majority of the chances in the second. But as he's been known to do against San Jose, Rinne was up to the task, stopping 25 shots in the first two periods.
Melker Karlsson had a chance to put the Sharks up on a breakaway four and a half minutes into the contest, but his initial shot was stopped by Rinne and his second attempt on the rebound went just wide as the net was knocked off its moorings. Joe Pavelski shot the puck way wide of Rinne on a breakaway of his own later in the first.
Sharks goals (assists): Tomas Hertl (Joel Ward, Marc-Edouard Vlasic), Joel Ward (Joonas Donskoi, Brent Burns), Logan Couture (Joe Pavelski, Brent Burns), Logan Couture (unassisted), Tommy Wingels (unassisted)
Fear the Fin's Three Stars
1) Joel Ward
2) Tomas Hertl
3) Logan Couture