Nashville Predators 3, San Jose Sharks 2
The Nashville Predators used a three-goal second period to drown the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena.
Nashville started Tuesday night’s game off quickly with a power play just 10 seconds into the contest, and by registering the game’s first seven shots, but the pace of the game slowed as both teams played to a scoreless tie after 20 minutes.
The Preds came out charged again in the second period, as David Legwand capitalized on a chance a little more than three minutes into the frame.
After winning the face-off, Legwand moved to the low slot just as a Shea Weber slap-pass bounced off the boards to Craig Smith. Smith quickly found Legwand and the veteran center fired the puck over Antti Niemi’s right pad. It was Legwand’s first goal since Dec. 12 against Dallas.
The Sharks would respond just three minutes later with Mattias Ekholm in the box for delay of game. After a Nashville clearing attempt was cut off near center ice, San Jose defenseman Dan Boyle carried the puck into the Preds zone and fired a shot that Joe Pavelski tipped past Marek Mazanec for the goal.
Ekholm would make up for the penalty a little more than 30 seconds. Legwand again won a face-off back to the rookie defenseman, who quickly carried the puck in behind Niemi and emerged with a backhand shot through the goaltender’s legs. The goal was the first of Ekholm’s 32-game career.
Roman Josi continued the defensive scoring trend when he picked up a rebound off a Weber shot, circled the net and snapped a wrist shot past Niemi from between the circles. Colin Wilson was pushed into Niemi on the play, and it looked like the goal might be reversed, but the marker stood as the Preds third goal of the period.
The third frame mimicked the last game between these two teams, as the Sharks more than doubled the Preds shots total for the period (11-5).
The Preds clung to the two-goal lead late, before Patrick Marleau posted his second extra-attacker goal in as many games between these two teams at 18:38. Mazanec and the Preds stood tall for the final minute to secure the victory for Nashville.
Two Big Things and Notes:
Legwand’s two-point performance was his ninth of the season and first since Dec. 12. He ranks second on the team in scoring with 28 points (7g-21a).
Weber has been dominant for the Preds over his last 15 games. Nashville’s captain has seven points (1g-6a) in his last four games, and 17 points (3g-14a) in his last 15 outings. His multi-point outing was the third in his last four games and the 60th of his career. Weber leads the team with 29 points (10g-19a).
Josi’s goal was his fourth of the season, and his ninth point (4g-5a) in his last 15 games. Smith has been nearly a point-per-game player for the Preds over his last 10 games, posting nine points (6g-3a) during that span.
Sixteen (6g-10a) of Smith’s 25 points this season have come on home ice, while he’s post a team-high +9 rating at Bridgestone Arena.
Not to be outdone, Wilson has been a point-per-game player of the last seven games (2g-5a-7pts). Six (2g-4a) of Wilson’s 22 points have come on game-winning goals for the Preds.
Winning Trends: Nashville hit some key targets on Tuesday – by posting the game’s first goal, the 21st time the team has scored first this season, the Preds improved to 16-1-4 when scoring first this season. Nashville has still not lost in regulation (17-0-3) when tallying at least three goals in a game. Nine of Nashville’s 19 wins this season have come by one goal – the team is 9-1-6 in those games. The Preds have notched points in five of the last six games (3-1-2).
From the Point: Defensemen accounted for 17 of Nashville’s 28 shots.
On the Dots: Nashville’s centermen held a significant edge over their opposition tonight as the Predators won 62 percent of the draws. The Predators lead the NHL, having won 54.2 percent of their face-offs.