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game recap

Sharks use big third period to win Game 1

Score twice on power play to defeat Predators; Couture, Ward, Burns each has two-point night

by Eric Gilmore / Correspondent

SAN JOSE -- After going a week without a game, the San Jose Sharks knew it would take some time to shake off the rust against the Nashville Predators in Game 1 of their Western Conference Second Round series at SAP Center on Friday

It turned out San Jose needed until the third period to get back on track and up to full Stanley Cup Playoff speed.

The Sharks scored five times in the third to come from behind to defeat the Predators 5-2. Logan Couture had two goals, Tomas Hertl, Joel Ward and Tommy Wingels each scored one, and Martin Jones made 29 saves.

Game 2 is in San Jose on Sunday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

"I think it's critical," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said of winning Game 1. "Coming off the break, we had some questions of how we would be. I saw some of the effects of that the first two periods. We found a way. [Jones] made some saves and let us hang around and survive that. We got going.

"To be able to come out of Game 1 with a win even though I think we didn't play our best 60 minutes is good because I think we'll be better in Game 2."

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

All eight teams that advanced to the second round won Game 1 of their first-round series.

The Sharks hadn't played since clinching their first-round series against the Los Angeles Kings with a victory in Game 5 last Friday. The Predators won Game 7 of their first-round series against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on Wednesday.

Mike Fisher gave the Predators a 1-0 lead at 4:33 of the second period with a power-play goal. He took a cross-ice pass in the left circle from Ryan Johansen and beat Jones high over his blocker.

Video: NSH@SJS, Gm1: Fisher beats Jones on the power play

"I thought we were pretty patient in our own end in the first two periods," Nashville defenseman Mattias Ekholm said. "I thought it was a fairly even game until they scored that third goal. But it's Game 1 of seven.

"I think we all know how effective they are on the power play. We have to make sure we don't put ourselves in that position too many times in the next game."

Hertl scored to tie it 1-1 at 2:37 of the third period with 13 seconds left on Johansen's minor for holding Sharks captain Joe Pavelski. Hertl took a pass from Ward just to the right of the crease and beat goalie Pekka Rinne with a low shot to the short side.

Video: NSH@SJS, Gm1: Ward dances around Rinne for the lead

"We tried to fight against any kind of rust or intensity issues," Pavelski said. "We came out, we didn't really take it to any level in the first. We were just kind of there. We just kind of played with them. As the game went on, we got better and we could feel them on their heels a little bit, I think.

"It was just good to see the guys keep feeding off the crowd, feeding off the goals and really pushing for the next one."

Ward, who played for Nashville from 2008-11, put San Jose ahead 2-1 at 11:49 of the third with his first goal of the 2016 playoffs. After a Nashville turnover in the neutral zone, Joonas Donskoi sent a pass ahead to Ward, who skated below the goal line, brought the puck back and jammed it past Rinne inside the right post.

Couture made it 3-1 at 15:40 with a power-play goal. Pavelski hit Couture in the low slot with a pass from along the left boards, and Couture knocked the puck past Rinne.

Video: NSH@SJS, Gm1: Johansen beats Jones with deflection

"We took too many penalties," Johansen said. "It started with me on the [holding] penalty. … We had a couple uncharacteristic mistakes from there. We have to learn from the game tonight and be ready for the next game."

Johansen scored with 1:49 left and Rinne pulled for the extra attacker. Roman Josi's point shot hit Sharks defenseman Brent Burns, and then deflected off of Johansen and past Jones to cut San Jose's lead to 3-2.

Couture scored into an empty net with 1:29 remaining, and Wingels scored a second empty-net goal for the Sharks with 49.2 seconds left.

The Predators were 1-for-26 on the power play in the first round against the Ducks. They came up empty on their first power play Friday before Fisher's second-period goal.

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

It was Fisher's second goal of the playoffs and Nashville's first on the power play since Shea Weber scored in Game 1 against Anaheim.

The Predators were without injured second-line right wing Craig Smith (lower body), who missed the morning skate and did not take the ice for warmups. Smith left Game 3 against the Ducks early in the first period, then missed the next two games before returning for Games 6 and 7. The Predators lost Games 3, 4 and 5, and then won the final two.

Eric Nystrom made his NHL playoff debut in Smith's place. He skated on the fourth line, and Miikka Salomaki moved to the second line. Filip Forsberg dropped from the first line to the second, trading places with Calle Jarnkrok.

Video: Sharks use big 3rd period to take Game 1, 5-2

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