Scoring unapparent once more in 2-1 loss to Sharks

(Photo by: Don Smith/Getty Images)

The Nashville Predators lose their fourth in five games by losing to the San Jose Sharks late Saturday night, 2-1 in regulation. San Jose tied the season series in points and was able to have the final laugh in the regular season series.

“[We are] frustrated when we don’t win a game like that,” said the lone goal scorer for Nashville Gabriel Bourque.

Head coach Todd McLellan told his Sharks’ club to shoot the puck often against Nashville entering the game. That they did by almost doubling the Predators’ shots, 39-19. Pekka Rinne kept his team in the game once again, but failed to get the offensive support necessary to win.

Looking at the positives of the night, the Preds played much better opposed to Wednesday in Anaheim where they lost 4-0 in possibly the worst game to be played this season. Nashville was able to play a solid defensive style, but a couple lucky bounces for the Sharks helped them to victory.

Once the Predators can combine their scoring—which shows up sporadically—and solid defense, the team will be hard to beat. Until then, they will have games like this.

Now the Preds have to look to correct their mistakes Monday night against the Los Angeles Kings. The Predators will have to start generating more offense and not get behind so early in a game.

The Sharks started off the game well by putting pucks on Rinne often. Their pressure was overwhelming, but the Predators were able to turn them away until Nashville started taking penalties.

With 3:13 remaining in the first, Dan Boyle’s shot from the point was able to get by a screened Rinne’s shoulder on the power play. Kevin Klein, who gave San Jose their power play, said, “When their on the power play, their deadly.”

It wasn’t all San Jose on the offensive attack, as earlier in the period, David Legwand and Martin Erat went on a two on none breakaway while on the penalty kill. Erat elected to go in tight and score five-hole on Antti Niemi, but the Finnish goaltender was able to get a piece of the puck with his leg, behind him.

San Jose continued their power play success against Nashville with Joe Pavelski giving his team a two goal lead. Behind the net, Logan Couture chipped the puck to the right of Rinne, who was looking to his left searching for the puck. Pavelski picked the puck up and banked it off the unaware Rinne to score sixteen seconds in the power play.

Joe Thornton was awarded the assist on the goal, giving him is 1,100th career point. The fans at HP Pavilion gave him a loud cheer in satisfaction.

In a much better third period for Nashville, shots were coming at a premium once again, but that didn’t limit their ability to generate chances near or around Niemi.

After being robbed from a sure goal earlier in the third period, Gabriel Bourque was able to give his team mates something to celebrate about with 5:30 remaining while on the penalty kill. Bourque outskated Justin Braun to the puck and deked Niemi out of position, where it made it easily to cut the lead in half.

The Predators elected to go with the extra attacker in the dying moments of the game, but were unable to get a legitimate chance on net. San Jose played a safe defensive style forcing the Preds to the outside.

San Jose was able to hold onto the lead and won the game 2-1 in regulation. That win was the first of three games this season it ended in regulation between these two clubs.

Line Up Report

Starting Goaltenders:

Name SV SH Goals Allowed SV % Decision TOI
#35 Pekka Rinne 37 39 2 .949 LOSS 59:06
#31 Antti Niemi 18 19 1 .947 WIN 59:49

Predators Scratches: #24 W Matt Halischuk and #75 D Hal Gill (lower body)

Sharks Scratches: #5 D Jason Demers, #21 W TJ Galiardi and #57 C Tommy Wingels

Yip leaves game: Nashville forward Brandon Yip didn’t have the night he expected, nor did he expect to be injured in his first shift in the game. Teammate Rich Clune was tangled up with a San Jose defender behind the net and both awkwardly fell on Yip with Clune getting the most of him.

After the play, Yip was shaken up and slowly went back to the bench. He did not return for the rest of the night with an upper body injury—possibly a shoulder injury.

Penalties kill: Entering the matchup, the Sharks have had quite the success rate against the Predators on the power play. The Preds were on the penalty kill four times throughout the game and only killed off two of them.

Taking penalties against the Sharks has always been like playing with fire. Do it enough and one will be burned. The Sharks were successful on the two attempts, which were the only two goals of the game. If the Preds were able to stay out of the box, there would be a W in the win column.

Goals and Assists

1-0 SJ: PP Dan Boyle – Thornton and Couture at 17:47 in the 1st

2-0 SJ: PP Joe Pavelski – Couture and Thornton at 9:12 in the 2nd

2-1 SJ: SH Gabriel Bourque – Spaling at 14:30 in the 3rd

My Three Stars of the Game

1. Joe Pavelski: Goal

2. Joe Thornton: 1100th career point

3. Pekka Rinne: Stopped 37 of 39 shots