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Quick Bites: Sharks hold off physical Predators in 4-1 win

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San Jose continues to roll, picks up their fourth win in five games.

NHL: Nashville Predators at San Jose Sharks
Joe Pavelski was one assist away from a Gordie Howe hat trick, scoring a goal and racking up a fighting major.
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The Sharks continued their strong play at SAP Center Wednesday night, beating the defending Western Conference Champions, the Nashville Predators, by a score of 4-1.

Early in the game, both teams traded power play opportunities, but neither team converted on the man advantage. In the middle of the period, Mikkel Boedker made a slick pass to Tomas Hertl’s tape in front of the net, but Pekka Rinne turned away the dangerous deflection. A few minutes later, Boedker again made a great play, this time finding a streaking Tim Heed at the far side of the cage. A patient Heed made a beautiful pass across the crease to a waiting Joonas Donskoi, where he easily tapped home his fourth goal of the year. Sharks fans should be pleased to see their Finnish forward continue to score like he did in his rookie campaign with the team.

Halfway through the second period, Joe Thornton fed Brendan Dillion at the point for what seemed like an innocent shot from the blue line. But when Joe Pavelski is front of the net, every shot from the point has potential to go in. Pavelski tipped it past Rinne, who was partially screened by former Sharks defenseman, Matt Irwin. The assist for Thornton on the Sharks’ second goal of the game was his 1,400th point of his career, a milestone only 19 other players have achieved. Of course, Joe Thornton would get it in typical Joe Thornton fashion: by way of a secondary assist that happened by making the simple play.

Just a few moments later, Roman Josi missed a point-blank opportunity in front of Martin Jones that deflected up and out of play. On the pursuing faceoff, Calle Jarnkrok won the draw back to Josi and made a move to screen Jones in front of the net. Josi then made a move around Tim Heed towards the slot, and put a seeing-eye backhander top shelf to cut the Sharks’ lead in half.

Later in the second, the fourth power play opportunity turned out to be the charm for the Sharks, as P.K. Subban accidentally deflected Marc-Édouard Vlasic’s slap shot past his own goalie to make the score 3-1. After three unsuccessful power play bids for the Sharks, it was great to see their second unit convert for the insurance goal.

Nashville picked up another penalty after the Sharks third goal, but the Predators got the two best chances during the man advantage. Jones stood tall both times, and made a huge save by turning away Ryan Johansen on a breakaway.

The Predators tried to chip at the San Jose lead in the third period by picking up the physicality, which eventually lead to a fight between Ryan Johansen and…Captain Joe Pavelski? Yep, Johansen pestered the captain until he gave in, and both guys went at it for a short period of time before Pavelski body-slammed Johansen to the ice. According to hockeyfights.com, this was only Joe’s fifth fight in his 12 years with the Sharks.

The continuing physical play led to two very crowded penalty boxes late in the third, and opened up the ice a little bit for Mikkel Boedker, who was able to put one by Pekka Rinne to make the score 4-1 and seal the game for the Sharks.

Notes:

  • The Sharks were a perfect four for four on the penalty kill, shutting down the seventh-best power play in the league.
  • Joakim Ryan picked up his first career NHL point with a secondary assist on Mikkel Boedker’s goal. He also set a Sharks record by blocking nine shots.
  • The Sharks will continue their home stand on Saturday night when they play host to the 6-5-1 Anaheim Ducks.