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Sharks set sights on road for Game 3

San Jose visits Nashville with chance to take commanding series advantage

by Eric Gilmore / Correspondent

SAN JOSE -- The San Jose Sharks had the best road record in the League during the regular season and went 3-0 at Staples Center against the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference First Round.

There's something about the road that brings out the best in the Sharks, and that's where they're headed after taking a 2-0 lead against the Nashville Predators in the Western Conference Second Round.

Game 3 of the best-of-7 series is Tuesday at Bridgestone Arena (9 p.m. ET; USA, TVA Sports, SN360).

"You want to be good everywhere, but I think our road record has kind of grown and our [comfort level], the confidence we show up at the rink with," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said Monday before traveling to Nashville. "There's really no intimidation when we've gone on the road. Playoffs are always different and it's always a fresh start, so it's on us to prove that we can continue that in the playoffs. We did in the L.A. series. We got to continue it now."

The Sharks went 28-10-3 away from home during the regular season. That included a 1-1-0 mark in two games at Nashville. They lost 6-2 on Feb. 6, and won 3-2 in a shootout April 2.

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"We've been the best team in the NHL on the road," said Sharks forward Tomas Hertl, who had two third-period goals against the Predators on April 2. "Against L.A., we played really well there. I don't know what is different about home and road. It's just we play there good and hopefully it will be the same in Nashville because it would be nice to have one win or two and take it home."

Even with winning the first two games, the Sharks feel there's plenty of room for improvement. They trailed 1-0 after two periods in Game 1, then scored five goals in the third period for a 5-2 victory. The Sharks won 3-2 in Game 2 on Sunday despite being outshot 39-25 and outhit 46-26.

DeBoer said goaltender Martin Jones has been the Sharks' best player in the first two games of the series. He made 29 saves in Game 1 and 37 in Game 2.

"[The Predators'] desperation level is a little higher than ours," DeBoer said. "Some of the numbers in the game showed that. ... But that's natural. They're facing going down 2-0. We found a way to win. We did enough to win. Our goalie was excellent, our special teams were better than theirs. So that's all part of it. You got to win all kinds of different ways."

San Jose forward Joel Ward, who played for Nashville from 2008-11, said he and his teammates need a sharper execution of their game plan moving forward.

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"I think the mindset was there but just some things didn't go right for us," he said. "I don't think it was our best game for sure, but we found a way, which is great. This time of year is just about winning."

DeBoer said he is looking for the Sharks to be a little more direct in Game 3 than they were in Game 2.

"There's a few things we need to clean up, but we've got a smart group," DeBoer said. "They recognize it. They're on autopilot right now. They know when we're not playing the way we need to play, and they know how to fix it."

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