Everyone tuning in to watch the San Jose Sharks take on the Nashville Predators last night was in for a wild ride. Through a series of ups and downs, the Sharks eventually won the 5-4 thriller against the top team in the league
The Sharks took advantage of the Predators being on the end of a back-to-back in the first period, controlling the puck with a 72 percent corsi for (CF%) in all situations through the first. With the puck on their sticks for the majority of the period, the Sharks generated 18 shots along with 23 scoring chances.
It resulted in three unanswered goals from Marcus Sorensen, Joe Pavelski and Antti Suomela. The Sharks were looking to run the Predators out of SAP Center ftom the jump and it seemed as though the Predators had no answer for stopping the Shark attack through the first 20 minutes.
Although Juuse Saros was in net for all three goals in the opening period, he prevented the game from getting out of hand, as the Sharks were relentless on offense. The Predators' defense didn’t show up in the first, but to make matters worse, they couldn’t rely on their offense to close the gap, either. As a team, the Predators could only register five shots and one scoring chance, struggling on both ends of the ice.
Whether it was Peter Laviolette kicking trash cans in the locker room or the team remembering that they’re among the elite of the league, the Predators woke up and were ready to play in the second period.
After conceding possession of the puck in the first, it was the Predators who maintained control with a 67 CF% in all situations in the second. The Predators also saw a much better performance offensively, generating 15 shots for and 15 scoring chances. Filip Forsberg led the charge in the second period with two goals, allowing the Predators to claw back and tie the game.
Giving up three straight unanswered goals is a combination of the opponent having their say offensively and a shaky defense to accompany it. The Sharks had a rough second period defensively with Justin Braun and Marc-Édouard Vlasic having nights to forget overall.
With this pairing on the ice, the Sharks were left chasing the puck, as the pair possessed a CF% of 39 and 37 respectively. It’s a pairing that Head Coach Peter DeBoer gets criticized for sending out to the ice, because of the positive numbers Vlasic and Erik Karlsson put together when on the ice together. However, he remained firm in his stance to send out Braun and Vlasic together for more than 20 minutes against the Predators.
In the third period, it looked as though the match was all falling apart for the Sharks when Rocco Grimaldi made it four unanswered goals for the Predators. The Preds were still in control of the puck quite often, but Martin Jones was there to make vital saves when the Sharks needed him to keep the deficit at one.
Jones was able to make three high-danger saves, and none were more prominent than the odd man scoring chance the Roman Josi had that could’ve extended their lead to two.
Despite giving away a 3-0 lead, the Sharks didn’t panic as they had Jones making saves and were controling the puck during 5-on-5 play. With a 57 CF%, the Sharks generated 13 shots for and 13 scoring chances which resulted in them not only tying the game, but Joe Thornton's 400th career goal to give them the lead with under seven minutes to go.
The 400th goal of Jumbo Joe's illustrious career!— NHL (@NHL) November 14, 2018
AND it was the game winner. pic.twitter.com/ThvRdGRR2B
The Predators were not going to go quietly, but the Sharks were able to hold on to the lead this time and win a rollercoaster of a game. After a two-game losing streak, the Sharks are now riding a winning streak, and will look to make it three in a row against Toronto on Thursday.