The San Jose Sharks fell behind fairly early in the game and never really caught up to the Nashville Predators Tuesday night. The Sharks were honestly lucky to get out of the first period down only one goal.
They did get better overall as the game progressed, but never got close to taking control. There were maybe 10 total minutes of truly impressive play by the Sharks.
Evander Kane returned from his three-game suspension and sure did have an impact. It wasn’t a good one; he took two penalties and chose to pass rather than shoot on one of the Sharks’ only odd-man rushes of the night. He gets credit for the Sharks’ first power play goal of the season, Brent Burns and Logan Couture really did all the work to make it happen.
Predators captain Roman Josi had his first two-goal game of the season, while Filip Forsberg scored once and could have had another.
The Sharks’ big weakness was turnovers in the neutral and defensive zones. Three of Nashville’s goals wouldn’t have happened if the Sharks had been a bit smarter with the puck. The worst one to me was Erik Karlsson’s attempt to pass through center ice in the third period. I still don’t know which teammate he thought would receive the puck.
Shots were 35-25 Sharks, but all the shots in the world don’t matter if they’re coming from the perimeter. That’s another problem with Kane tonight — he stayed pretty much on the edges of the ice. He and the rest of the Sharks need to establish themselves in the middle; the Sharks looked best when they were using the whole offensive zone and moving through the heart of the ice.
The Sharks’ next chance for a win will come on Thursday against the also-winless Chicago Blackhawks.
Good evening everyone! This is Jay, and it’s nice to be with you all for my first live blog of the season.
18:42: Not even two minutes into the game and the Sharks have already failed to clear the defensive zone twice. The Predators could be up by two already if the puck bounced differently.
13:44: The Predators score first. Colton Sissons got by Kevin Labanc on the right side of the blue line, and nobody picked up Roman Josi coming into the middle.
7:58: How was Sissons allowed to carry all the way to Martin Jones?
7:26: I haven’t been keeping track of the center-ice turnovers the Sharks have given. Is it too late to start counting?
6:38: The Sharks tried a similar play that led to Josi’s goal: carry the puck on the wing, pass to the middle. Erik Karlsson didn’t seem to get the shot off quick enough.
6:00: Trevor Carrick fights Austin Watson after Watson steps into Timo Meier at center ice. Watson led into the hit with his knee a bit and Meier went down fast.
3:58: Evander Kane, in his return to the lineup after a 3-game suspension, is in the penalty box. He led the Sharks by a ridiculous margin in PIMs last season.
END FIRST: Sharks 0, Predators 1
Honestly, ending 1-0 after one isn’t bad. With all the neutral-zone turnovers and failed defensive clears, the Predators could easily have scored three goals. NBC is saying it was an even match, but I don’t agree. The Sharks were bad in the first 10 minutes and only started to even the play at the end.
17:03: The Sharks have been in their offensive zone much more to start this period compared to the first 20. It earns them a power play opportunity.
15:39: What’s worse than neutral-zone turnovers and defensive-zone giveaways? Defensive zone giveaways on the power play.
14:48: Sharks escape their power play without allowing a shorthanded goal. And then go to the box themselves.
12:30: Kane-Thornton-Couture get a 3-on-1 that goes off to the right corner rather than in the net.
10:20: Filip Forsberg drives to Jones’ crease along the goal line. Brenden Dillon got caught slashing him. Sharks to the penalty kill.
9:35: Josi scores. Forsberg’s shot hits the pipe and the Sharks’ clearing attempt goes right to Josi. With Jones out of position, Josi had an easy shot.
4:54: Matt Duchene gives the Sharks a power play after the ad break. He made Kevin Labanc bleed.
4:48: San Jose wins the face-off and promptly gets it on goal. Kane scores with assists from Couture and Brent Burns. It’s the first power-play goal of the Sharks’ season.
1:10: The Sharks are displaying their best forechecking and possession of the game so far. They kept Matt Irwin on the ice for several shifts.
1:00: After all that good offensive zone work, Brent Burns puts the Sharks on the penalty kill.
0:07.4: The Predators were going to start the third period with a minute man advantage. Instead, Ryan Johansen goes to the box and the third period will start four on four.
END SECOND: Sharks 1, Predators 2.
That three-minute sequence at the tail end of the period is great. If the Sharks can replicate that performance, they’re in a good spot. I’m always intrigued when teams start a period four on four, and I think the clean ice and space could be a great help for the Sharks.
17:37: Neither team scores on the 4-on-4 or the Sharks’ short power play.
17:09: The Predators get a 2-on-1. Kyle Turris flings the puck past Jones; Dillon didn’t challenge him at all. That was too easy. 3-1 Nashville.
13:19: The Sharks get a good offensive shift that ends with a Nashville icing call.
12:36: Erik Karlsson tried to backhand the puck through center ice...and also through two Predators. They pick it off easily and the 3-on-1 results in a Filip Forsberg goal. 4-1.
7:51: Evander Kane takes his second penalty of the game, an offensive-zone hook. Hasn’t missed a beat from last season, I see.
4:32: The Sharks’ forecheck finally pays off. Brent Burns gets the puck all alone on the right side of the zone and scores. Lean Bergmann helped keep the Sharks in control, and gets credited with an assist. It’s his first NHL point.
2:52: Martin Jones is already out of the net for the extra skater. Sharks are down 4-2.
1:41: It’s 5-2.
FINAL SCORE: Sharks 2, Predators 5
It’s hard to feel hopeful when so far this season the Sharks have allowed the same number of shorthanded goals as they have scored in all situations. In what seems to be a panic move (always a great idea after three games), Doug Wilson has officially brought back 40-year-old Patrick Marleau, who likely won’t be with the team until they face the Blackhawks in Chicago on Thursday.
The Predators, meanwhile, are coming off a high-scoring loss to the Detroit Red Wings. Their roster went relatively untouched in the off-season, sending out defenseman P.K. Subban to the New Jersey Devils and adding forward Matt Duchene. They’ve also added rookie Dante Fabbro on the blue line, who seems to be a star in the making.
Expected Scratches: Danil Yurtaykin
Injured Reserve: Dalton Prout (upper body), Jacob Middleton (undisclosed), Tim Heed (upper body), Radim Simek (knee), Marcus Sorensen (undisclosed)
Predators (via NHL.com)
Craig Smith — Ryan Johansen — Viktor Arvidsson
Filip Forsberg — Matt Duchene — Mikael Granlund
Rocco Grimaldi — Kyle Turris — Calle Jarnkrok
Colton Sissons — Nick Bonino — Austin Watson
Roman Josi — Ryan Ellis
Mattias Ekholm — Dante Fabbro
Matt Irwin — Yannick Weber
Expected Scratches: Dan Hamhuis, Daniel Carr
Injured Reserve: None
Where to Watch
Puck drop is at 5 p.m. Pacific/8 p.m. Eastern from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. The game will be broadcast live nationally (which means blackout restrictions for NHLtv subscribers) on NBC Sportsnet.