The San Jose Sharks exploded for six goals in the third period to take an 8-5 victory over the Nashville Predators at the HP Pavilion on Thursday night.
Joe Pavelsky had four points including two goals in the third period to lead the Sharks offensive outburst. Dany Heatley also chipped in with two goals and an assist.
Evgeni Nabokov stopped 40 of 45 Predator shots for the win while Dan Ellis took the loss, giving up six goals on 23 shots.
The Predators started the game controlling the puck for the first fourteen minutes of the game, out shooting the Sharks 15-0. San Jose seemed to be out of kilter as they were dominated by the Preds.
Patric Hornqvist scored the game's first goal on the power play at 9:11 when he picked up a rebound off of a Shea Weber slap shot and put it in the Shark's net to give the Preds a 1-0 lead. Ryan Suter had an assist along with Weber.
San Jose finally got their first shot of the game at 14:10 when Dany Heatley put the puck through traffic and past Dan Ellis to tie the game 1-1.
The period ended with The Predators having 17 shots and San Jose having six. The Preds were up on the Corsi numbers 24-16.
Patric Hornqvist picked up his second goal of the night at 4:29 in the second period when Francis Bouillon centered a pass to Hornqvist who was parked in the blue ice and redirected the puck past Nabokov. Bouillon and Steve Sullivan picked up assists on the play.
The Sharks responded quickly, picking up a power play goal from Joe Thornton, at 6:11, when he gathered a loose puck off a Dany Heatley shot and lifted it into the net. A Marty Erat interference call at 5:52 set up the the San Jose man advantage.
The Predators picked up their second power play goal of the game when Colin Wilson centered the puck to Cody Franson who unloaded a big shot from the high slot that was tipped by J. P. Dumont to give the Preds a 3-2 lead.
At 14:04, the Preds had a goal wiped off the scoreboard when a play was reviewed and the folks in Toronto deemed that Dustin Boyd had put the puck into the net with a "distinct kicking motion." The replay clearly showed that Kent Huskins skate was the one that knocked it into the net.
The Preds took a 4-2 lead (for the second time) when Cody Franson passed the puck to Colin Wilson who wristed the puck past Nabokov at 15:22. Mart Erat got the play started when he dug the puck out of the corner and passed it to Franson.
In the second period the Preds continued to dominate play on the ice as well as on the scorecard as they out shot the Sharks 17-5. On the Corsi side, the Preds were up 29-16 for the period.
The Sharks came out strong in the third period and kept pressure on the Preds and finally forced a penalty at 3:08 when Dan Hamhuis was called for tripping behing the Pred's net.
It didn't take long for San Jose to convert on the man advantage when Dany Heatley scored his second goal of the game at 3:40 to make it a one goal game 4-3.
San Jose came back again with a goal at 5:16 when there was a rush to the net off a Dan Ellis rebound and it appeared that Manny Malhotra kicked the goal into the net. After a review, it was ruled a legal goal and the game was tied 4-4.
The Sharks took the lead for the first time in the game at 11:16 when Joe Pavelski put a shot past Dan Ellis to make it 5-4, Sharks.
The Predators did not give up when J. P. Dumont redirected a Kevin Klein Slap shot at 13:26 to tie the game 5-5. David Legwand also assisted.
A little over a minute later at 14:40, Dan Ellis was chased from the net when Joe Pavelski put the puck in the net off of a pass from Manny Malhotra. With the Preds down 6-5 Pekka Rinne entered the game.
It wasn't any better with Rinne in net as Patrick Marleau skated toward the net and made Pekka look for the pass instead of the shot that he placed in the back of the Pred's net at 17:34 to put the game out of reach at 7-5.
With 25 seconds left, an empty netter by Jay Leach was the final salt in the wound for a Predator team that had high hopes heading into the final stanza.
The Preds were out shot 15-11 in the third period after dominating earlier in the game. For the game the Preds led in shots 45-26.
Storylines from the Game
Surprising Start from the Predators...
The Predators started the game dominating the best team in the Western Conference in a way that no one could have expected. I cannot remember a time where the Preds got 15 unanswered shots to start a game.
They controlled the flow of the game with intense forechecking and shots at every opportunity. The Preds dominance continued into the second period with an even larger shot margin than in the first period. San Jose was caught completely off guard and did not get back to their game until the third period.
Predator's Third Period Collapse...
The third period was the exact opposite of the first two for the Predators. As surprising as their early dominance was, the collapse was even more of a shock.
The Preds quit doing everything that had been successful earlier in the game. San Jose scored two goals quickly to tie the game and reeled off the first eight shots before Nashville got their first shot at 6:06 in the period.
By the time the dust had settled, the Sharks had exploded for six goals in the final period to clinch the needed two points and maintain their first place slot in the West. Joe Pavelski was in on four goals with a pair of goals to match his two assists. The victory was the Shark's 22nd comeback win of the year and showed why they have lost only six games in regulation at home this season.
The Preds Lost Ground to Everyone in the Standings...
With Detroit, Calgary, and Colorado winning, the Preds took a major hit in the standings. The gap widened to five points between the Preds and sixth place with Colorado moving to 82 points. Calgary moved into a tie with the Preds at 77 points but are actually in eighth due to fewer wins. Detroit is one point back of both the Preds and Flames at 66.
The Preds flew out of San Jose after the game to head to Anaheim where they will play the Ducks on Friday night. They will then go across town and play the L.A. Kings on Sunday before returning to Nashville.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass