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Couture, Jones lead Sharks into conference final

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SHARKS TAME PREDATORS IN GAME 7, ADVANCE TO CONFERENCE FINALS

Logan Couture had one goal and two assists and Martin Jones made 20 saves for his first Stanley Cup Playoff shutout to lead the San Jose Sharks past the Nashville Predators and to their fourth appearance in the Western Conference Final (also 2004, 2010 and 2011).

* Couture, who leads all players with 7-10-17 in 12 games during the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, had 6-5-11 in the seven-game victory against the Predators. That's a Sharks record for points in one postseason series, besting the mark set by Igor Larionov in the 1994 Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Detroit Red Wings (2-8-10 in 7 GP), according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Couture's 17 playoff points are one shy of Larionov's single-year Sharks record, established in 1994 (5-13-18 in 14 GP).

* Jones became the fourth Sharks goaltender with a postseason shutout and the first to do so in a Game 7. This marks the second straight year that a goaltender recorded a shutout in his first Game 7 appearance. Ben Bishop also achieved that feat with the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2015 Eastern Conference First Round against the Red Wings.

* Joe Pavelski scored his ninth goal of the playoffs, tying Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov for the League lead and also equaling a Sharks record for goals in one postseason, set by Patrick Marleau in 2006 and matched by Pavelski in 2010. Pavelski also had his third game-winning goal of the playoffs, tied for first in the League with Western Conference Final opponent David Backes of the St. Louis Blues.

Video: NSH@SJS, Gm7: Pavelski beats Rinne on the power play

THURSDAY'S RESULT

Home Team in Caps

SAN JOSE 5, Nashville 0 - SJS wins 4-3

CALIFORNIA DREAMING

A California-based club advanced to the Western Conference Final for the seventh consecutive season. The Sharks also advanced in 2010 and 2011, followed by three straight appearances by the Los Angeles Kings (2012-14) and then the Anaheim Ducks in 2015.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: SHARKS WIN GAME 7

* The Sharks improved to 6-4 in 10 all-time Game 7s, including a 3-1 record at home.

* The Sharks matched a club record with five goals in their Game 7 victory. They also scored five in the 1995 Western Conference Quarterfinals at the Calgary Flames (5-4 2OT W) and the 2008 Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Flames (5-3 W).

* The home team won all seven games in the Sharks-Predators series, the fourth such instance in the past 20 years and second involving the Sharks (also 2013 CSF vs. LAK: 4-3 L).

* The Sharks will face the Blues in the Western Conference Final, the fifth playoff series between the clubs. They have split their previous four meetings, with the Blues winning their most recent matchup, in the 2012 Western Conference Quarterfinals (4-1 W).

Video: NSH@SJS, Gm7: Sharks advance to WCF with Game 7 win

MORE GAME 7 TRENDS

* Home teams improved to 96-69 (.582) all-time in Game 7s in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, including a 3-1 record this year.

* The team that scores first improved to 123-42 (.745) all-time in Game 7s in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, including a 4-0 record this year.

FIRST ROUND DRAFT ORDER COMES INTO FOCUS

The Sharks' victory finalized the order of selection for the First Round of the 2016 NHL Draft.

Click here for complete details.

Note: The Pittsburgh Penguins traded their first-round pick to the Toronto Maple Leafs (pick number TBD) and the Sharks traded their first-round pick to the Boston Bruins (pick number still TBD).

LOOSE PUCKS

The Sharks improved to 3-0 in three playoff series against the Predators, which includes an 8-0 record on home ice. … Sharks forward Joel Ward, who played three seasons with the Predators (2008-11), scored his third goal in six career Game 7s. … Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic (0-2-2) extended his assist/point streak to five games (0-6-6). … NHL LiveWire: Take anall-access look at Game 7 between the Blues and Stars. … ICYMI: Victor Hedman of the Lightning and Logan Couture of the Sharks were among the players featured in the latest Tonight Show Superlativessegment on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon." … SHOWTIME Sports released the first-look video highlight for "ALL ACCESS: Quest for the Stanley Cup," a real-time, behind-the-scenes documentary series that premieres next May 20 at 9 p.m. ET.

PENGUINS, LIGHTNING OPEN EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL

The Penguins and Lightning open the 2016 Eastern Conference Final at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh on Friday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports). This marks the second playoff meeting between the teams. In the 2011 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, the Lightning overcame a 3-1 series deficit for the only time to defeat the Penguins in seven games. Game 7, a 1-0 victory by the Lightning, featured a 36-save shutout by Dwayne Roloson and the winning goal from Sean Bergenheim. The Lightning won all three games between the teams in 2015-16 (PIT: 0-2-1); The Penguins, however, have won 21 of their past 26 home games dating to Jan. 17 (regular season and playoffs).

Video: Bolts take on Pens in the Eastern Conference Final

ICYMI: NHL CONFIRMS SCHEDULE FOR CONFERENCE FINALS

The NHL confirmed the dates, starting times and television information for the 2016 conference finals.

Click here for complete details.

REMINDER: NHL Network will air comprehensive live coverage before and after every game during the 2016 conference finals.

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