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Sharks' vaunted power play provides spark in Game 1

San Jose went 2-for-3 with man-advantage in win against Nashville

by Eric Gilmore / NHL.com Correspondent

SAN JOSE -- After going more than two periods without a goal, the San Jose Sharks needed a spark, and they got it from their power play against the Nashville Predators in Game 1 of their Western Conference Second Round series at SAP Center on Friday.

Sharks forwards Tomas Hertl and Logan Couture each scored on the power play as part of a five-goal outburst to help the Sharks come from behind for a 5-2 victory.

Hertl scored at 2:37 of the third with 13 seconds left on a power play to tie it 1-1 and send the crowd of 17,026 into a frenzy.

"It was so loud," Hertl said. "I thought the rink would maybe fall down because it was so noisy. It's a huge win for us tonight."

Video: NSH@SJS, Gm1: Couture's perfect deflection nets PPG

After Joel Ward put the Sharks ahead 2-1 with an even-strength goal at 11:49, Couture scored on the power play to make it 3-1 with 4:20 left to play. Couture darted down the slot, took a pass from Joe Pavelski and beat goaltender Pekka Rinne from close range.

"I started in the neutral zone and was able to step inside on [Predators defenseman Shea] Weber, and [Rinne] kind of lunged at me there," Couture said. "[Pavelski] made a great backhanded pass. I just tried to elevate.

"I had a couple chances earlier where I didn't elevate the puck, and he made the saves. I was just trying to get it up and over the glove."

The Sharks actually built some momentum on their first power play, late in the second period. Their top power-play unit of Joe Thornton, Pavelski, Brent Burns, Patrick Marleau and Couture had the puck in the Predators zone for the first 1:48 and put five shots on net.

Going into Game 1, the Sharks appeared to have the edge on the power play. They were third in the NHL with the man-advantage (22.5 percent) during the regular season, and they scored five power-play goals on 21 attempts in the first round against the Los Angeles Kings.

Video: NSH@SJS, Gm1: Hertl beats Rinne short side for PPG

The Predators power play was 10th (19.7 percent) during the regular season, but they went 1-for-26 with the man-advantage in the first round against the Anaheim Ducks.

"We talked about not taking penalties because their power play can capitalize," Weber said. "That was the case. It got them some momentum."

The Predators didn't take many penalties in Game 1, but the Sharks made them pay when they did, going 2-for-3 with the power play; Nashville was 1-for-2.

Predators coach Peter Laviolette said he felt a decided change in the game and atmosphere at SAP Center after Hertl scored.

"Their power-play goal got them going. It put some energy in the building, and they feed off it, and that gave them a good jump in the third," Laviolette said. "We're capable of playing better."

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