Tomas Hertl scored twice in the third period as the San Jose Sharks rallied to beat the Nashville Predators 3-2 in a shootout on Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena. The result gives the Preds, who clinched a playoff spot on Friday night, 92 points overall on the season.
After scoring the game’s first two goals, Nashville squandered the lead in the third, ultimately leading to San Jose’s come-from-behind win.
“They’re a good team, and they played well,” center Ryan Johansen said. “Two tough bounces for us, but that’s the way it goes sometimes against good teams. We just have to be able to play a better third period.”
Nashville struck first when Mike Ribeiro dropped a pass back to Shea Weber who one-timed the puck past James Reimer and into the top corner of the cage for a 1-0 lead. The goal was Weber’s 19th of the season.
After Johansen had a goal called back due to the puck entering the net after time had expired in the first period, Calle Jarnkrok gave the Preds a 2-0 lead less than two minutes into the middle frame. Jarnkrok redirected a James Neal attempt from the slot past Reimer for his 15th of the season and a two-goal advantage.
It was Hertl who first scored for the Sharks at the 2:19 mark of the third period; later, he tipped a shot past Carter Hutton at 10:31 to even the score at 2-2. After the Preds killed off a San Jose power play in overtime, the Sharks won it in a shootout, thanks in part to Reimer turning away three Nashville shooters.
With a trio of games to go in the regular season, the Preds will look to improve their 0-3-1 mark in their last four games as they head into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“We have to play better than we did tonight,” Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “We weren’t ready to work. We have to work from the start to the finish, and the results, I think, reflected that. The good thing is, this week coming up, we have some practices, and we can get back to working on some things, push the pace, and look to straighten things out.”
“Your mindset isn’t, ‘We want to lose four games in a row going into the playoffs,’” Weber said. “You want to be winning and winning makes you confident. Obviously you want to win, but I think the most important thing is playing good hockey because there are times when you’re not going to win games. You’re playing well, but the puck doesn’t bounce your way and we have to get to doing that.”
Gif of the Game:
Ryan Johansen’s shot enters the Sharks’ net a fraction of a second late and is ruled not to be a goal.
Coach Laviolette on Carter Hutton:
“He was really good. He had a lot of work, a lot of pucks at him, and way too much time at our end. There was a lot of pucks, a lot of redirects, and a lot of things that were tough for him to save. I thought he was sharp tonight.”
After missing Thursday’s game as a healthy scratch, Colin Wilson returned to the Nashville lineup and registered two shots in 12:13 of ice time.
Calle Jarnkrok scored a goal in each of Nashville’s three games against San Jose this season.
The Predators host the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday before Fan Appreciation Night on Thursday when the Arizona Coyotes visit Bridgestone Arena. The regular season concludes next Saturday night in Dallas.
Carter Hutton and James Reimer both boast high save percentages in the shootout-decided game.
Infographic: Sharks Chase Down Preds