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Predators hold off Sharks

Wednesday, 01.08.2014 / 12:13 AM

David Legwand had a goal and an assist, Shea Weber had a pair of assists and Marek Mazanec made 26 saves to lead the Nashville Predators to a 3-2 win against the San Jose Sharks at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday.

Mattias Ekholm and Roman Josi also scored for Nashville (19-19-6), which opened a five-game homestand. The Predators host the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday.

"I think we understand how they play and that we have to have an 'A' game against the Sharks," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "We've got some good matchups against them in certain areas."

Joe Pavelski and Patrick Marleau scored for San Jose, which finished 1-1-1 on its three-game road trip. Antti Niemi stopped 25 of 28 shots in the loss. The Sharks return home to face the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday.

San Jose played without forward Logan Couture, who will undergo a surgical procedure Wednesday for an upper-body injury.

"I didn't think we were good enough," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "Over the next little bit, our leadership group has to step up, and that starts with us as coaches. That's where the leadership starts. The four of us are going to have assume a big role and makes sure our team is prepared and ready to play.

"And then there's the next level of leadership, which is your captains and your assistants, and they have to show up and play at an elite level. Everyone's looking at them. They're looking at us as well. They have to be elite, and we weren't at that level tonight."

Legwand broke a scoreless tie 3:35 into the second period after a Sharks turnover. Craig Smith was able to poke the puck away from Joe Thornton near the right circle and quickly chipped it to Legwand, who ripped a wrist shot past Niemi for his seventh goal of the season.

Pavelski tied it via the power play at 6:49. After Ekholm was whistled for shooting the puck over the glass, Dan Boyle fired a slap shot from the right point that Pavelski managed to redirect past Mazanec to make it 1-1. It was Pavelski's 19th goal of the season.

Ekholm quickly redeemed himself and put Nashville ahead to stay at 7:16. With the teams back at even strength, Ekholm retrieved the puck after Legwand won a faceoff deep in the offensive zone, then drove around the net and fought off Sharks defenseman Justin Braun before backhanding a shot from the right circle past Niemi for his first NHL goal.

"It was nice to get that one back," Ekholm told The Sports Xchange. "It was kind of a broken play right after the faceoff. I skated around the net and I got the backhand on net. I thought [left winger Nick Spaling] tipped it first, but it was nice that it went in."

Josi put the Predators up by two at 11:30 on another even-strength goal. Weber sent a wrister from just inside the blue line that was denied by Niemi, but Josi collected the puck along the left-wing boards, skated around the net and out to the slot before firing a wrist shot near the right circle past Niemi to give Nashville a 3-1 lead. It was Josi's fourth goal of the season and ninth point in his past 15 games.

McLellan thought Predators forward Colin Wilson interfered with Niemi on the play, but the goal stood.

"Even if there was a touch of contact there, you're not allowed to jump on top of the goaltender," McLellan said. "We all know that, there's a lot of people that understand that. But, it happened."

San Jose made it a one-goal game with 1:22 left in regulation on Marleau's 20th goal of the season. With Niemi pulled for an extra attacker, Marleau redirected Matthew Nieto's shot past Mazanec.

Material from team media was used in this report

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