Five goals in the third period led the San Jose Sharks to a 5-2 victory over the Nashville Predators in Game One of their Western Conference Round Two series on Friday night at SAP Center. The win gives San Jose a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
“I thought we had good jump right from the beginning and had a couple chances early,” defenseman Roman Josi said. “I thought we played well in the first two periods, and in the third, we have to make sure we’re better in the next game.”
A scoreless first period was kept that way thanks to more than one lightning-quick glove save from Preds goaltender Pekka Rinne in the Nashville crease.
It was Mike Fisher who opened the scoring on the night, converting on a power-play opportunity for a 1-0 Nashville lead. Ryan Johansen went across the San Jose zone with a pass to Fisher in the left circle, where No. 12 in white sniped a shot to the top left corner past goaltender Martin Jones for his second of the postseason.
Once the third period got underway, the Sharks capitalized on a power play of their own as Tomas Hertl snuck one by Rinne down low at 2:37 to even the score at 1-1. Nine minutes later, it was former Preds forward Joel Ward who cashed in on a breakaway at 11:49 to give San Jose their first lead of the evening. Logan Couture got another power-play marker for the Sharks before Johansen cut the San Jose lead to one with an extra-attacker goal, but the Sharks finished things off with two goals into an empty net to seal the win for the home club.
“I think it was just shooting ourselves in the foot,” Johansen said of the third period. “We turned over the puck a few times, took a couple penalties, and they fed right into that. We just got away from our game plan and our structure a little bit. We’re going to learn from tonight, and that’s why it’s a best-of-seven. We’ll be ready to play next game.”
Game Two comes on Sunday evening, allowing the Preds time to regroup and refocus before the puck drops once more in what could be another long series.
“I thought it was an even game until they scored that third goal, so there’s so positives, there’s some negatives that we have to take out too,” defenseman Mattias Ekholm said. “But its Game One out of seven, so we’ll come back for Game Two.”
Gif of the Game:
The puck comes oh-so close to entering the Preds net, but sits on the goal line for a moment, before being cleared away.
Peter Laviolette on Game One:
“There were some good things and some bad things. We’re capable of playing better.”
Craig Smith missed Game One due to a lower-body injury. Eric Nystrom slotted into the lineup in Smith’s absence. It was Nystrom’s first game of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Game Two between the Preds and Sharks is set for Sunday evening at 7 p.m. (CT). The series shifts to Nashville for Games Three and Four, beginning on Tuesday night.
The Sharks pour in five goals (two empty netters) in the third period, filling up the zone with teal.
Infographic: Preds Bitten in Third