SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - Milan Michalek scored two goals, Evgeni Nabokov made 23 saves and the San Jose Sharks took a commanding lead in their first-round playoff series with a 3-2 victory over the Nashville Predators in Game 4 on Wednesday night.
San Jose went up 3-1 in the series with another exhibition of speed, physical play and stellar goaltending - everything the stunned Predators did best while they spent most of the regular season among the NHL's overall leaders.
Rookie Joe Pavelski also scored his first playoff goal for the Sharks, and Joe Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo had two assists apiece.
Game 5 in the best-of-seven series is Friday night in Nashville, where the Sharks will attempt to close out the Predators in five games for the second straight spring.
Jason Arnott scored an early goal and Tomas Vokoun stopped 20 shots for the Predators, who are winless in the seven road playoff games in franchise history. Scott Hartnell scored with 2:52 left when the Predators pulled Vokoun for a 6-on-4 power play, but the Sharks coolly finished the final minutes without much trouble.
Nashville, one game from elimination after finishing third overall in the regular-season standings, hasn't won in its last 10 trips to the Shark Tank.