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game recap

Predators defeat Sharks to end losing streak

Juuse Saros makes 25 saves to give Nashville first win in five games

by Eric Gilmore / NHL.com Correspondent

SAN JOSE -- Juuse Saros made 25 saves to help the Nashville Predators end a four-game losing streak with a 3-1 win against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday at SAP Center.

Ryan Johansen, James Neal and Viktor Arvidsson scored for the Predators (33-24-11), who are third in the Central Division.

"He was great," Neal said of Saros, who started instead of Pekka Rinne. "He made great saves at huge times. He's been great all year."

Paul Martin scored, and Martin Jones made 22 saves for the Sharks (40-20-7), who are seven points ahead of the Anaheim Ducks for first place in the Pacific Division.

 

WATCH: All Predators vs. Sharks highlights

 

"I liked our first period," San Jose coach Peter DeBoer said. "And then we stopped playing, stopped following the formula. We came out in the second and tried to turn it into a track meet. It came back to bite us. These are desperate teams we are playing. We have to get our desperation level to an equivalent spot."

The Predators lost at the Anaheim Ducks 4-3 in a shootout on Tuesday and at the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 in overtime on Thursday.

Video: NSH@SJS: Saros stops Pavelski, deflection off Hansen

"It was huge for us to finish this trip the right way," Johansen said. "We feel like we could have had some better results and played a little better the first two games in Anaheim and L.A. But we came in here today and we executed our game plan for the most part and found a way to get two points."

The Sharks took a 1-0 lead at 6:18 of the first period on Martin's fourth goal of the season. Joe Thornton won a faceoff against Mike Fisher in the left circle, and Martin beat Saros with a slap shot to the far side with Jannik Hansen providing a screen.

Johansen made it 1-1 at 12:10 when he scored from the left circle.

"They did a good job of getting the lead and it was a good response by us to tie it up," he said. "I thought we played a good road game."

Video: NSH@SJS: Martin blasts opening goal through traffic

The Predators took a 2-1 lead at 10:08 of the second period when Neal scored his 19th goal, ending a 10-game drought. Colin Wilson passed from below the goal line to Neal, who beat Jones from close range. The goal was Neal's second in two games at San Jose this season.

"I came in here last time we played and I hadn't scored in a while," Neal said. "I was in a slump. Just trying to stay with it. I always get up for games in the afternoon, especially against San Jose. I needed to have a big one."

Arvidsson scored a shorthanded, empty-net goal with 1:02 left in the third period.

 
Goal of the game

Johansen got to a loose puck in the left circle, skated to his right and scored on a snap shot.

Video: NSH@SJS: Johansen gathers blocked shot to beat Jones

 
Save of the game

Saros made a left-pad save on Patrick Marleau's backhand from the low slot 34 seconds into the third period.

Video: NSH@SJS: Saros kicks away Marleau's backhander

 
Unsung performance of the game

The Predators killed all four penalties against the Sharks after giving up three goals on three opportunities to the Kings.

"It was a great penalty kill," Neal said. "They have a great power play. To hold them off the score sheet gives us a chance to win and that's what happened."

 

Highlight of the game

Wilson stripped the puck from Sharks defenseman Dylan DeMelo then made a quick pass from the end boards in front to Neal, who scored the game-winner.

Video: NSH@SJS: Neal beats Jones on sharp one-timer

 
They said it

"He was excellent. It's difficult playing San Jose. They fire so many pucks at the net, they're so good at redirecting pucks from point shots. He tracked well and put himself in a position to make big saves for us." -- Predators coach Peter Laviolette on Juuse Saros

 

"We had a few breakdowns in the second where we got caught trading chances. It was one of those games where you wonder why you don't get a couple more goals. It felt like we were in their end the whole time." -- Sharks captain Joe Pavelski

 
Need to know

Forward PA Parenteau made his Predators debut, 10 days after being acquired in a trade with the New Jersey Devils. He missed four games with a finger injury. ... Nashville defenseman Ryan Ellis returned to the lineup after missing his second game of three with a lower-body injury. ... Predators forward Vernon Fiddler (lower body) missed his second straight game. ... Sharks defenseman David Schlemko (lower body) missed his fourth straight game and is day to day.

 
What's next

Predators: Host the Winnipeg Jets on Monday (8 p.m. ET; TSN3, FS-TN, NHL.TV)

Sharks: Host the Dallas Stars on Sunday (10 p.m. ET; FS-SW, CSN-CA, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Saros, Predators top Sharks, 3-1

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