The San Jose Sharks continued their road dominance Saturday night as their 5-2 victory in Nashville pushed their club record road winning streak to 10. Nashville hoped to take advantage of a Sharks club playing its third game in four nights, and win their seventh straight home regular season contest against San Jose, but in the third period San Jose scored three times to blow the contest wide open.
Five different Sharks scored on the night and Evgeni Nabokov stopped 19 of 21 shots to earn his league-leading 21st victory.
San Jose took a lead just 10 minutes into the contest when Patrick Marleau
attempted to feed Steve Bernier driving the net. The puck rebounded to the slot and Marcel Goc was there to slap home the opening tally.
A tripping call against Marc-Edouard Vlasic
provided Nashville with their first power play as they attempted to score their first goal. The home club did a nice job of controlling the zone for the majority of the two minutes, but the NHL’s second ranked penalty killers kept the Predators on the perimeter and no damage was done.
Nashville showed some slick puck movement on a brief four-on-three late in the first, but Radek Bonk tripped up Vlasic to kill off the opportunity.
Team Teal took their 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
Nashville did not wait long in the second to tie the contest. Just over a minute into the middle stanza, J.P. Dumont took an Alexander Radulov feed from behind the net and wristed it toward Nabokov. The Sharks goalie made the initial stop, but Dumont skated toward his own rebound and put it in.
Martin Gelinas had an opportunity to provide Nashville a lead five minutes later when he skated in on a breakaway, but Nabokov turned away the shot. Play quickly moved the other way and Milan Michalek just missed getting behind the defense enough to tuck a shot in on Mason.
However, the next trip up the ice for Nashville proved fruitful. Kevin Klein was briefly open and skated in a stride before throwing it at the net with traffic in front. Nabokov couldn’t locate the shot on time and in a five minute time period, the Predators had gone from trailing to leading the contest.
With eight minutes remaining in the second, Team Teal pulled even. Craig Rivet launched a blast from the blueline and Mason could not locate it on time. Joe Thornton
earned his 30th assist of the season on the play and Michalek also had a helper for his fourth point in three games. They both added second assists later in the game.
With just more than two minutes left in the second, Dumont appeared to have his second goal of the night, but just as the puck was released, Nabokov moved over just in time and kept the game even.
Nabokov had to make two more difficult stops in the second period’s closing moments, but the game stayed tied at two after 40 minutes.
Hard work by Michalek drew San Jose’s first full power play of the game early in the third and the Sharks wasted no time in retaking the lead. Michalek carried the zone and then hard work down low drew the puck back to Matt Carle at the point. His shot from the point, with Joe Thornton
parked in front of Mason, tickled the twine and San Jose led 3-2.
Team Teal found a little breathing room as the third neared its middle point as Patrick Rissmiller forced a turnover that Torrey Mitchell
captured. The rookie from the University of Vermont did not look to make a move, but instead smacked the puck on net before Mason could adjust and San Jose had their first two-goal lead of the game.
As a late Nashville penalty expired, San Jose improved the lead to 5-2. The Sharks were worked the puck through the crease a couple of times while still on the power play and Steve Bernier knocked a rebound five-hole just as even-strength play returned.
The tally was more than enough as the Sharks easily closed out the 5-2 victory for their 10th consecutive road victory.
San Jose will close out their four-game road trip with a 4 p.m. game in Minnesota on Monday that will be available on 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.