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game recap

Power play lifts Predators past Sharks in Game 3

Neal, Forsberg score with man-advantage; Nashville trails series 2-1

by Robby Stanley / Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators scored four unanswered goals, including two on the power play from James Neal and Filip Forsberg, to defeat the San Jose Sharks 4-1 in Game 3 of the Western Conference Second Round at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday.

San Jose leads the best-of-7 series 2-1 with Game 4 here on Thursday (9 p.m. ET; CNBC, CBC, TVA Sports 2).

Neal tied the game 1-1 at 5:11 of the second period. Defensman Mattias Ekholm delivered a pass to Neal, who was able to one-time the puck past Sharks goaltender Martin Jones from the right circle.

Video: SJS@NSH, Gm3: Neal beats Jones with a short-side shot

"It felt good," Neal said. "I thought we had a good mindset going into the game. I think we knew we were playing good hockey, needed to be a little bit better. Coming home, we knew we had to win one game, so big win and focus on the next one."

Shea Weber gave Nashville a 2-1 lead at 14:44 of the second on a slap shot from the high slot. Forsberg had the puck poke-checked away from him and it went right to Weber, who one-timed it past Jones.

"We weren't getting frustrated," Weber said. "We talked about just sticking with what's made us successful throughout the year and what we need to do. I thought we did a good job tonight."

Colin Wilson and Forsberg scored in the third period.

Video: SJS@NSH, Gm3: Weber beats Jones with a huge one-timer

Wilson made it 3-1 at 6:55 on a wrist shot from below the right circle. Defenseman Ryan Ellis took the original shot, and Wilson was able to get the rebound and shoot it past Jones.

Forsberg made it 4-1 at 15:49 on a wrist shot from the right circle. He created space with the puck and beat Jones over the left shoulder.

"I think they're doing a good job of blocking shots as well," Forsberg said. "We're really working hard to get the shots through, and we've got to give them credit for that. I think the whole team is shooting the puck a lot, and I think we obviously got rewarded a little bit for that as well."

The Predators had scored two power-play goals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs heading into Game 3. They matched that total Tuesday and were happy with how they moved the puck.

Video: SJS@NSH, Gm3: Forsberg's perfect shot beats Jones

"Our [power play] hasn't been scoring as many goals as we want in the playoffs, but I think obviously in the playoffs that can be the determining factor in the games and it was tonight," Forsberg said.

Patrick Marleau gave San Jose a 1-0 lead at 13:13 of the first period on a breakaway. Marleau split the Predators defense and beat goaltender Pekka Rinne, who made 26 saves, to the loose puck. Marleau was able to skate around Rinne and shoot the puck into an empty net.

"Yeah I just kicked it up and kept skating," Marleau said. "I was able to get up back up the on the ice and get around Rinne. It felt good."

Video: SJS@NSH, Gm3: Marleau splits the defense and scores

Predators center Mike Ribeiro was a healthy scratch in Game 3. Rookie forward Pontus Aberg made his NHL debut, and forward Craig Smith played with Forsberg and center Ryan Johansen. Smith missed the morning skate Tuesday.

"With regard to [Ribeiro], it was just a lineup decision that I made," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "[Aberg] I thought came in and gave us some good speed. He was a good player for [the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League] down the stretch. He brings speed and skill, and this is a fast game right now against San Jose. I thought he did a good job."

The Sharks lost their first road game in this year's playoffs.

"We expect a battle every night," Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said. "You just compete, and they did that and they've done that the first couple of games too. It's no different. It's a good team over there, it really is. We'll be better in a few areas, and it's going to be another tough game."

Video: Weber, Rinne lead Predators to Game 3 win

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