SAN JOSE – Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton scored 13 seconds apart in the third period to give th San Jose Sharks a 5-4 victory over the Nashville Predators. Thornton’s game-winner was his 400th career goal.
There was no denying Tuesday’s rematch between the Sharks and Predators was going to be a good game. But it’s likely nobody expected just how lopsided this eventual nail-biter could get.
The Sharks jumped out to a convincing 3-0 lead in the first period while the Predators looked tired and unable to create any offense. Then, the visitors rallied in the second stanza to notch three unanswered goals of their own, tying the scoreboard up heading into the second intermission.
Here are three takeaways from Tuesday’s topsy-turvy game.
Sharks' first period was amazing: The Sharks opened up the game with the most dominant period of hockey they’ve played all season. It embodied everything the team’s been saying they’ve wanted: Great puck possession, a strong defensive presence, and contributions from all four lines.
The strong start was important given the Predators were playing on the tail end of a back-to-back on the road, and had just lost to the Anaheim Ducks in the shootout the night before. Nashville was visibly tired in the first frame, and San Jose took advantage.
That being said …
The second period was the opposite: It was like a completely different Sharks team took the ice in the second period. They played a looser game, and gave the Predators an opportunity to get back into the contest – not something a team wants to do against a squad with a 8-0-1 road record.
San Jose’s biggest problem those 20 minutes was not being able to capitalize on any of its power play opportunities. The Sharks even had a five-on-three opportunity after the Predators were called for having too many men on the ice. Bu,t through 3:40 on the man advantage, San Jose didn’t register a single shot on goal.
Third-period push is alive and well: If there’s one thing the Sharks are good at, it’s making that big push in the third period when they’re on their heels. Sometimes it’s too little too late. It came at just the right time Tuesday.
Goaltender Martin Jones made his best saves at the end of the game. He was particularly impressive when Nashville pulled their goalie with less than two minutes left in the game, and the Predators' forwards swarmed into San Jose’s zone.
Of course, the highlight of the game came on the final goal, when Thornton seemed to skate up to Nashville’s net in slow motion after getting a spectacular feed from Marcus Sorensen. Predators netminder Juuse Saros appeared to not even see Thornton’s milestone marker float past him stick side.