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Sharks seek faster start against Predators in Game 2

San Jose scored five third-period goals to win series opener

by Eric Gilmore / Correspondent


Western Conference Second Round

San Jose leads best-of-seven series 1-0

TV: 8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports

SAN JOSE -- The stakes will be high when the San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators meet in Game 2 of their Western Conference Second Round series at SAP center on Sunday.

After coming from behind to defeat the Predators 5-2 in Game 1, the Sharks, who had the NHL's best road record in the regular season (28-10-3), have a chance to take a 2-0 lead before the series moves to Nashville for Games 3 and 4.

The Predators have a chance to earn a split in San Jose and take home-ice advantage away from the Sharks.

"We're not quite focused on Games 3 and 4, but certainly when you can put a team in a 2-0 hole, that maybe creates a little doubt in their mind," Sharks forward Tommy Wingels said after an optional morning skate. "If they come home with the series at 1-1, I think they're pretty satisfied with it. It's certainly a big opportunity for us to kind of take the upper hand in the series."

San Jose was coming off a seven-day break before playing Nashville in Game 1 and was sluggish and scoreless through two periods before erupting for five goals in the third period. The Predators, who won Game 7 of their first-round series against the Anaheim on Ducks on Wednesday, appeared tire as the game went on.

"It's a big game," Sharks center Chris Tierney said. "To go up 2-0 in any series is big, but it's not going to be easy. They're going to come out harder than they did the last game obviously. They're going to be better, but I think we can be better too. We didn't really start playing until the last 20 minutes. I think if we bring that last 20-minute game for a full game we're going to be OK."

The Predators had a day off Saturday and didn't skate Sunday morning opting for rest.

"I think we had a good game," Nashville forward Mike Fisher said Saturday. "We were playing hard and getting our chances. We took a couple of penalties, but I like our game.

"We played pretty well throughout. We were getting in on the forecheck, getting our chances. I think just playing a consistent 60-minute game with the energy that we typically have every game, we stack up well against any team when we do that."

Here are the projected lineups:


Calle Jarnkrok - Ryan Johansen - James Neal

Filip Forsberg - Mike Ribeiro - Miikka Salomaki

Colin Wilson - Mike Fisher - Viktor Arvidsson

Eric Nystrom - Paul Gaustad - Colton Sissons

Roman Josi - Shea Weber

Mattias Ekholm - Ryan Ellis

Barret Jackman - Anthony Bitetto

Pekka Rinne

Carter Hutton

Injured: Cody Bass (lower body); Craig Smith (lower body)

Scratched: Petter Granberg, Pontus Aberg, Gabriel Bourque, Austin Watson, Marek Mazanec


Tomas Hertl - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski

Joonas Donskoi - Logan Couture - Joel Ward

Matt Nieto - Patrick Marleau - Melker Karlsson

Nick Spaling - Chris Tierney - Tommy Wingels

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun

Paul Martin - Brent Burns

Brenden Dillon - Roman Polak

Martin Jones

James Reimer

Injured: None

Scratched: Dainius Zubrus, Micheal Haley, Dylan DeMelo, Matt Tennyson

Status report: The Predators haven't been on the ice since Game 1, and there's been no indication if Smith, who missed Game 1, will return to the lineup. He was injured early in Game 3 in the first round against the Kings, missed the next two games but returned for Games 6 and 7. If Smith can play, he'll likely be at right wing on the second line with Salomaki returning to the fourth line, bumping Nystrom out of the lineup. ... Forsberg played on the second line in Game 1, but he was on the top line with Johansen and Neal for Games 6 and 7 against the Kings, and that's an option again. ... Mazanec was called up Saturday from Milwaukee of the American Hockey League, but it's unclear whether Rinne's health is a concern for the Predators. Hutton replaced Rinne for the final 50 seconds of Game 1. ... DeBoer juggled his bottom two lines in the third period of Game 1, but declined to say whether he would keep those changes for Game 2. Tierney moved from fourth-line center to third-line center, with Marleau switching to left wing. Nieto dropped to the fourth line with Spaling moving from left wing to center.

Who's hot: Ward had one goal, one assist and five hits in Game 1. ... Couture scored twice in Game 1 and has three goals and five assists in the playoffs. ... Wilson has a two-game point streak and six points.

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