Sharks vs. Predators Game 5: Pavelski, Sharks retake series lead

San Jose is one win away from the Western Conference Final.

After dropping two games in Nashville to even their second round series at 2–2, the Sharks rebounded with a big win at home in Game 5 to take a 3–2 series lead and push the Predators to the brink of elimination. They'll have a chance to win the series on Monday night and avoid a Game 7 in San Jose on Thursday.

Patrick Marleau opened the scoring for San Jose, then Joe Pavelski put the Sharks ahead for good just 101 seconds after Mike Fisher tied the game at 1–1. Joe Thornton sent a beautiful pass straight to the stick of Pavelski, and the captain beat Pekka Rinne from the edge of the faceoff circle to put his team up 2–1.

The Sharks extended their lead with goals in both the opening and closing minutes of the second period. Logan Couture scored the first on a breakaway just 35 seconds in, taking advantage of a poor line change by Nashville. A pass from Joonas Donskoi sprung Couture all alone into the Predators zone, and Couture switched from the forehand to the backhand to put the puck behind Rinne and give San Jose a two goal lead.

Pavelski added a goal on the power play to make it 4–1 with less than a minute left in the period. Thornton won the draw to start the man advantage and passed the puck to Marleau, who carried it around the back of the net and gave it to Pavelski at the point before Pavelski fired it over Rinne's blocker.

Melker Karlsson made it 5–1 in the final minute, putting a puck past former Worcester Shark Carter Hutton after he replaced Rinne in net.

Coming off Game 4's triple overtime loss, the Sharks jumped all over the Predators out of the gate in Game 5, taking seven of the game's first eight shots and 17 of the first 20 shot attempts. The pressure paid off when Marleau, skating on the second line with Couture and Donskoi, put the Sharks up 1–0 halfway through the first period. Donskoi set up the goal with a slick pass from behind the red line before Marleau banged the puck home.

Sharks goals (assists): Patrick Marleau (Joonas Donskoi), Joe Pavelski (Joe Thornton, Marc-Edouard Vlasic), Logan Couture (Joonas Donskoi, Justin Braun), Joe Pavelski (Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton), Melker Karlsson (Chris Tierney, Justin Braun)

[Fancy Stats] - [Predators Reaction] - [TOI Log] - [Event Summary] - [Faceoff Report] - [PBP Log]

Fear the Fin's Three Stars

1) Joe Pavelski

2) Patrick Marleau

3) Joonas Donskoi