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game recap

Sharks storm past Predators in Game 5

San Jose has 3-2 series lead, can end it with win Monday

by Eric Gilmore / NHL.com Correspondent

SAN JOSE -- The San Jose Sharks bounced back from a triple-overtime loss to the Nashville Predators and now are one win from reaching the Western Conference Final for the first time since 2011.

Joe Pavelski scored two goals, Martin Jones made 24 saves, and the Sharks defeated the Predators 5-1 in Game 5 of the Western Conference Second Round at SAP Center on Saturday.

The Sharks have a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series and can end it by winning Game 6 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on Monday (9 p.m. ET; CNBC, SN, TVA Sports 2).

"We've still got some work to do," San Jose coach Peter DeBoer said. "They're a very good team, and we've seen that. I like the fact that I think we're getting better as the series has gone on here. I think every game we're getting a little bit better, getting more contributions, playing better as a team. We've got to carry that into Game 6, because they're not going to roll over. We know that."

Video: NSH@SJS, Gm5: Pavelski scores twice against Predators

Patrick Marleau, Logan Couture and Melker Karlsson scored for the Sharks.

Mike Fisher scored for Nashville, and Pekka Rinne gave up four goals on 27 shots before he was pulled for Carter Hutton with 3:01 left to play.

The Predators defeated the Sharks 4-3 in triple overtime in Game 4, a physically and emotionally taxing game that didn't end until after 1 a.m. in Nashville. The Sharks generated enough energy Saturday to take a 2-1 first-period lead on goals by Marleau and Pavelski and kept turning up the pressure.

"The guys really wanted it," Pavelski said. "We felt after that last game we played a couple really good periods, some of our better periods of the playoffs. We had to carry that. It was up to us to really get that momentum back. Guys did a good job coming out."

Marleau scored his third goal of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at 10:47. Joonas Donskoi got a loose puck along the end boards and started skating left to right behind the net but sent a backhand pass to Marleau, who beat Rinne with a slap shot from below the left circle.

Video: NSH@SJS, Gm5: Marleau buries home Donskoi's feed

DeBoer shuffled his bottom three lines, and one of his changes was moving Marleau from third-line center to second-line left wing with Donskoi and Couture, whose strong forecheck set the scoring play in motion.

The Predators tied it 1-1 at 15:40 of the first when Fisher, who scored twice in Game 4, including in overtime, scored his fifth of the playoffs. Colin Wilson sent a pass from below the goal line to James Neal, who shot from the right circle, and Fisher tapped it in from close range.

The Wilson-Fisher-Neal line has seven goals and six assists since being reunited in Game 3.

San Jose took a 2-1 lead on Pavelski's goal at 17:21. Joe Thornton sent a quick backhand pass from the right boards through traffic to Pavelski, who beat Rinne with a slap shot from the right circle.

Video: NSH@SJS, Gm5: Couture slips puck five-hole past Rinne

"It was pretty visible wasn't it that we weren't playing well?" Neal said. "We weren't ready to go, I guess. They came out strong with a good push. We didn't play as good as we can as a group.

"We've got to have our best game in Nashville and force one back here. We need some rest and we'll get ready for the next one. It's do or die."

Couture took a long pass from Donskoi and scored on a breakaway 35 seconds into the second period for a 3-1 lead. Couture faked left, went right and put the puck through the five-hole with a backhand for his fourth of this series.

Pavelski scored again on the Sharks' first power play with 38 seconds left in the second, making it 4-1. Nashville defenseman Roman Josi went to the penalty box for tripping Couture, and Pavelski scored nine seconds later, taking a pass from Marleau in the right circle and sending a slap shot past Rinne to the far side.

Video: NSH@SJS, Gm5: Fisher finishes off feed from Neal

Pavelski has eight playoff goals, tied with Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning for the lead.

Karlsson scored with 49.7 seconds left in the third period.

"I thought we were pretty good for 60 minutes," Couture said. "That was probably the best we've been since the L.A. series (a five-game first-round win). We got better in Game 4, played really well tonight. But this game ends and the next one will start in a little bit, so we have to play as well or better."

The Predators were down 3-2 in the first round to the Anaheim Ducks but won the series in seven games.

Video: NSH@SJS, Gm5: Karlsson scores late goal to pad lead

"We knew [San Jose was] going to push and we didn't push hard enough back," Nashville defenseman Ryan Ellis said. "In the playoffs you need your own push. We had our push a little too late. The bottom line is that we have to win two games.

"We've been in this position before, backs against the wall. It usually brings out the best in people. We go home with our backs against the wall and we know we have to do better."

San Jose forward Dainius Zubrus made his 2016 playoff debut, replacing Tommy Wingels on the fourth line. DeBoer used the same lineup for the first nine playoff games before making the switch.

Nashville forward Mike Ribeiro returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch for Games 3 and 4, when rookie Pontus Aberg took his place. Aberg was a healthy scratch Saturday, and Ribeiro centered the third line.

Video: Sharks score five goals, take 3-2 series lead

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