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Post-Game Musings: at San Jose

Friday, 03.16.2012 / 12:38 AM CT / Features
By Jay Levin  - Nashville Predators
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Post-Game Musings: at San Jose
The Preds continued to add points on their West Coast Road Trip, picking up a shootout point in a difficult road building on Tuesday night in San Jose.

The Sharks, entering the contest three points outside the playoff picture in the West, brought their "A-Game" tonight, playing a "desperate" physical game; to their credit, the Preds survived the first two periods and then had the better of the play in the third period. Both teams took advantage of power-plays to net goals during regulation and both goaltenders were strong enough to prevent any additional goals, forcing a shootout after a 1-1 draw through 65 minutes of action.

Ryane Clowe converted the only shootout attempt to give the Sharks the win, but the Preds still earned a point -- giving Nashville three of a possible four points to open the road trip -- and moved just one point behind the Detroit Red Wings in the race for the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference (and home ice advantage in the first round). Nashville also extended its lead to six points over No. 6 seed Chicago and 10 points over the playoff cut line. The Preds have a game at hand against both the Red Wings and Blackhawks.

Nashville will fly to Southern California for a weekend back-to-back at Los Angeles and at Anaheim to close out the road trip.

Now on to the musings...

THREE MUSINGS:
Peks-tacular Goaltending: Pekka Rinne was the difference for the Preds tonight. San Jose controlled the majority of the play through the first two periods, but Rinne kept the Sharks off the board. The Preds evened up the play during the third period, but the Sharks held a 24-12 advantage in shots attempted over the first period and added another 30 attempted shots in the second period. The second period was one of Rinne’s most impressive performances this season. The Sharks broke through with a couple very dangerous sequences in the middle frame – a strong push in the opening minute of the second period created a pair of good chances and then he robbed Martin Havlat on the original and rebound attempt with 5:43 remaining in Period 2 and then had a difficult sequence with under a minute in the period, turning aside a Dan Boyle shot that pinballed through traffic and then shuffled to his left to deny Dominic Moore on the rebound attempt.

Playoff Intensity: The Sharks decided to play an edgy, physical game tonight -- the type of nastiness that usually reserved for divisional rivalries and playoff series -- and the Preds didn’t back down. Most noteably, centers Paul Gaustad and Mike Fisher stepped up when challenged. Gaustad matched the Sharks physical level all night, regularly winning one-on-one battles, throwing his weight around along the boards, and stepping into a couple post-whistle scrums. Fisher did quite a bit of jawing with various Sharks players, including going chest-to-chest with pesky Dominic Moore early in the third period. Even Martin Erat, who normally ignores the post-whistle bravado, went shoulder to shoulder with different Sharks during pre-faceoff chippiness and was one of the first Preds to come to his goaltender's aid when Martin Havlat took some liberties during the second period.

Sharks Dodge A Bullet: Sharks forward Daniel Winnik took an offensive zone tripping call with 4:17 left in the second period. Simultaneously, Martin Havlat used his stick to “can opener” Pekka Rinne’s right pad leg, leading to a scrum in the Preds crease – including a physical response from the normally mild-mannered Rinne. Instead of awarding the Preds a two-man advantage for the simultaneous minor infractions, the officials called Havlat and Paul Gaustad for matching roughing calls giving the Preds just the original five-on-four power-play for Winnik’s trip. With Nashville’s power-play potency, the full 2:00 two-man advantage would have been very difficult for the Sharks; instead San Jose killed off the power-play and drew a man-advantage of its own in the final minute of the period, which the Sharks used to even the score, 1-1.


THREE STARS:
1) NSH G Pekka Rinne - 34 saves, plus 2-of-3 in the shootout
2) SJ G Antti Niemi - 32 saves, plus 3-of-3 in the shootout
3) SJ D Dan Boyle - 1 assist, 26:58 ice time, game-high 5 shots on goal, several quality scoring chances

SMASHVILLE CENTRAL

SCHEDULE
 

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - DAL 82 50 23 9 267 230 109
2 x - STL 82 49 24 9 224 201 107
3 x - CHI 82 47 26 9 235 209 103
4 y - ANA 82 46 25 11 218 192 103
5 x - LAK 82 48 28 6 225 195 102
6 x - SJS 82 46 30 6 241 210 98
7 x - NSH 82 41 27 14 228 215 96
8 x - MIN 82 38 33 11 216 206 87
9 COL 82 39 39 4 216 240 82
10 ARI 82 35 39 8 209 245 78
11 WPG 82 35 39 8 215 239 78
12 CGY 82 35 40 7 231 260 77
13 VAN 82 31 38 13 191 243 75
14 EDM 82 31 43 8 203 245 70

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
F. Forsberg 82 33 31 1 64
R. Josi 81 14 47 -3 61
J. Neal 82 31 27 27 58
S. Weber 78 20 31 -7 51
M. Ribeiro 81 7 43 11 50
C. Smith 82 21 16 4 37
M. Ekholm 82 8 27 14 35
R. Johansen 42 8 26 10 34
R. Ellis 79 10 22 13 32
C. Jarnkrok 81 16 14 1 30
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 34 21 10 .908 2.48
C. Hutton 7 5 4 .918 2.33