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Pavelski scores twice to help carry Sharks to 3-1 win over Predators

NHL.com @NHL

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Joe Pavelski scored twice to lead the San Jose Sharks to a 3-1 victory over the Nashville Predators Tuesday night.

Logan Couture also scored for the Sharks. Rookie Craig Smith had the lone Nashville goal.

The Sharks started the season with just one victory in their first four games but have now won two in a row. Nashville has lost five of their last six.

Just 57 seconds after Smith tied the game at one, Pavelski grabbed a loose puck behind the Nashville goal and stuffed it just inside the right post of Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne.

Couture scored the game?s first goal at 14:22 of the opening period.

Pavelski added an empty net goal at 18:48 of the third to account for the final scoring margin.

With the Predators on a power play, Martin Havlat carried the puck down the right side and cut to the middle. His shot from the high slot was turned aside by Rinne, but Couture collected the rebound and flipped it high over Rinne's stick for his second goal of the season.

After being held without a goal in his first five games this season, last season's runner-up for the Calder Trophy has goals in back-to-back contests.

Havlat missed San Jose's first four games of the season with an upper-body injury, but has posted one assist in each of his first three games as a Shark.

The Sharks held that lead until Smith tied the game at 13:12 of the third with a power-play goal.

In the right faceoff circle, Smith corralled the rebound of Shea Weber's shot from the slot and slipped a backhand low to the stick side of screened San Jose goaltender Antti Niemi.

San Jose had an 36-20 shot advantage in the game. Nashville has been outshot by their opponent in each of their eight games this season.

Despite the loss, Nashville did welcome back two injured players to the lineup Tuesday. Centre Mike Fisher returned from off-season shoulder surgery to play his first game of the 2011-12 campaign. Defenceman Francis Bouillon played his first game since sustaining a concussion Jan. 16.

Notes: Rinne has started each of Nashville's eight games this season. ... Fisher collected an assist on Nashville's lone goal Couture has points in three straight games. ... Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton assisted on Pavelski's goal. Thornton has points in four straight games.

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