Quick Bite: Hertl leads Sharks comeback in Nashville
San Jose picks up two points in its second-to-last road game of the season.
A pair of third period goals by Tomas Hertl erased a 2–0 deficit and sent the Sharks to overtime and then a shootout in Nashville. Logan Couture scored and James Reimer stopped every shot he saw in the skills competition as San Jose tied its franchise record for road wins in a season (27, set in 2007–08). The Sharks can set a new record with a win in Minnesota on Tuesday.
The score was 2–0 Predators when Hertl got the Sharks on the board early in the third. Joe Thornton forced a turnover in the offensive zone and sent the puck to Joe Pavelski, whose rebound went to Hertl for San Jose's first goal of the night and Hertl's 20th of the season.
He shoots, he scores, he celebrates. pic.twitter.com/rOA81cUWbA— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) April 3, 2016
Eight minutes later Hertl knotted things up at 2–2 with his second goal of the period, redirecting a shot from Brent Burns past one-time Worcester Shark Carter Hutton. Burns took a pass from Thornton and sent it towards the net, and Hertl was right there with the Pavelskian™ tip to tie the game.
Hertl X2 pic.twitter.com/PctnIrYoiM— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) April 3, 2016
Despite the best efforts of Hertl, who nearly got a hat trick late in the third, and Burns, who played an unreal shift to end regulation, the game went to overtime tied at two. A slashing penalty to James Neal 50 seconds into the extra period gave the Sharks a 4-on-3 power play that they couldn't convert on before the game went to a shootout, despite numerous chances against Hutton both on the man advantage and at even strength when the penalty expired.
While San Jose came out of the gate stronger than in some of its recent games, it was Nashville that got the game's first goal. After Chris Tierney turned a puck over in the neutral zone, Shea Weber showed off his famous slap shot with a blast from the blue line that beat Reimer.
The Sharks controlled play following Weber's goal until Tommy Wingels was sent off for tripping Neal in the final minutes of the period, then narrowly avoided going down 2–0 when Ryan Johansen stuffed a puck behind Reimer just as time expired. The situation room determined that the puck crossed the line milliseconds after the clock reached zero in as close a goal call as you'll ever see. The decision could easily have gone either way and it would have been difficult to argue.
The assist by the game clock kept the deficit at one goal until Nashville picked up its second for real less than two minutes into the second period. Neal fired a shot that ricocheted off Calle Jarnkrok's skate and between the legs of both Brenden Dillon and Reimer.
With only three games remaining in the regular season, San Jose trails Los Angeles by three points and Anaheim by two. Starting the first round in Southern California has been a foregone conclusion for a while now, but tonight's result keeps the Sharks' home ice hopes alive.
Sharks goals (assists): Tomas Hertl (Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton), Tomas Hertl (Brent Burns, Joe Thornton)
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Fear the Fin's Three Stars
1) Tomas Hertl
2) Brent Burns
3) Joe Thornton