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Sharks ambush Predators in Game 5
SJ unloads after controversial Game 4 loss
5/7/16 - By Mike Lee -

After their demoralizing triple overtime loss to the Nashville Predators in Game 4, the Sharks jumped all over their opponent and rolled to a 5-1 win in Game 5 at SAP Center. San Jose was relentless all night, piling on the Predators with an up-tempo game that caught Nashville flat-footed all night. Joe Pavleski led San Jose with a pair of goals, and Martin Jones made 24 saves to earn his 7th victory of the playoffs. San Jose now sits a win away from the Conference Finals.

The Sharks jumped on the Predators in the 1st period, scoring the game's first goal 10:47 into the game when Patrick Marleau snapped a one-time feed from Joonas Donskoi past Pekka Rinne. Donskoi intercepted a clearing attempt while skating behind the Nashville net. The rookie forward spotted Marleau cutting down the slot before feathering a pass to the Sharks former captain. The goal was Marleau's 63rd career playoff goal.

Mike Fisher continued to haunt the Sharks by tying the game 5 minutes later with a tap in from the right side after a James Neal attempt skipped behind the Nashville forward. Fisher was trailing out of the right corner and happened to be in the right place at the right time as the puck deflected to an undefended spot for the easy deposit.

Joe Pavelski answered less than 2 minutes later by ripping a one-timer from the slot after Joe Thornton made a feed off the right wing boards. Thornton had two defenders converging on him as he a pass with laser precision to his linemate. Pavelski unloaded on the puck, sailing it to the upper right corner of the net for his 7th goal of the playoffs.

That opening frame was just what the doctor ordered for San Jose, who needed to reaffirm that all the energy they spent in Game 4 wasn't a wasted effort.

Logan Couture added to the Sharks lead just 35 seconds into the 2nd period when Donskoi sprung his linemate with a lead pass that caught the Nashville defense. Couture raced in on Rinne and deeked right, before sliding the puck between the Predator goaltender's pads for his 5th goal of the playoffs.

Brendan Dillon took the game's first penalty midway through the period, but the Sharks kept the puck away from Martin Jones, killing the penalty with a nice forecheck.

Roman Josi was sent off for tripping Couture, and the Sharks pounced. Pavelski used all of 9 seconds of the power play to convert by rifling a shot from the bottom of the right circle. Once again, the Sharks shot high and it paid dividends. Pavelski's quick release caught Rinne as the puck caught the upper left corner of the net for the 4-1 lead. The goal was a back breaker for Nashville, coming with 38 seconds left in the period.

Ryan Johansen tried to bait Paul Martin into dropping the gloves, but the Sharks defenseman was smart enough to decline with a 3 goal lead. Johansen persisted and earned himself an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to put the Sharks back on the power play.

On the ensuing faceoff, Joel Ward clipped Paul Gaustad with a high stick that drew blood. Ward earned a double minor for the infraction.

Things didn't start well for San Jose when Couture was checked into the boards in front of his own bench, but the door opened as the centerman made contact with the framing around the door opening. He limped directly to the dressing room for a brief spell, but would return before Ward's penalty expired. Not only did he return, but he blocked a shot on the penalty kill to keep the Sharks goal buffer intact.

That 3-goal lead allowed the Sharks to stretch the ice and keep the control of the puck with long passes that didn't require the urgency of needing to score. That helped them frustrate the Predators, who started to show that frustration with a chippy response.

Ryan Johansen took things too far for a team trying to claw back into the game, when he tried to bait Paul Martin into a fight. The veteran Sharks defenseman wasn't having any of it, which resulted in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty with 4 minutes to play. That sparked a bunch of nonsense after the whistle, which resulted in penalties to Thornton and Barrett Jackman. Johansen and Mike Ribeiro started shooting their mouths off, which resulted in early showers for the two Predators.

The net net of all that nonsense was a Sharks power play that resulted in the end of Rinne's night. Predators head coach Peter Laviolettte chose not to subject his goaltender to any more abuse, so he replaced him with former Sharks farmhand Carter Hutton.

The Predators killed the ensuing penalty, but Melker Karlsson banged home a Chris Tierney feed from the slot at 19:10 to add salt into the wound.

Game Notes:

* Joe Pavelski and Roman Josi led thei respective teams in shots with 6 each.

* The one negative for San Jose was that the trend of losing in the faceoff circle continued, as Nashville took 32 of 59 draws (54%).

* Dainius Zubrus made his playoff debut for the Sharks, spelling Tommy Wingels. Zubrus skated a team low 17 shifts but recorded a team high 6 hits. The big forward also recorded a blocked shot in his limited stint.

* Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm had a tough night, earning a -3 on the night.

* Predators head coach Peter Laviolette was rather terse in the post-game press conference, answering questions with one word responses before storming out of the press room as quickly as he could.

* In addition to the ZUbrus change, Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer also moved Patrick Marleau to the second line with Joonas Donskoi and Logan Couture. The move pade dividends as the line accounted for two goals.


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1 2 3 T
NSH 1 0 0 1
SJ 2 2 1 5
1st period - 1 SJ, Marleau 3 (Donskoi), 10:47. 2, NSH, Fisher 5 (Neal, Wilson), 15:40. 3, SJ, Pavelski 7 (Thornton, Vlasic), 17:21.
2nd period - 4, SJ, Couture 5 (Donskoi, Braun), 0:35. 5, SJ, Pavelski 8 (Marleau, Thornton), 19:22, (pp).
3rd period - 6, SJ, Karlsson 2 (Tierney, Braun), 19:10.
1st period - None.
2nd period - Dillon, SJ (interference), 10:31; Josi, NSH (tripping), 19:13; Johansen, NSH (unsportsmanlike conduct), 19:47; Ward, SJ (high sticking - double minor), 19:57.
3rd period - Johansen, NSH (roughing), 16:01; Johansen, NSH (10 min misconduct), 16:01; Ribeiro, NSH (10 min misconduct), 16:01; Thornton, SJ (slashing), 16:01; Bitetto, NSH (tripping), 16:59.
Shots Saves
NSH - Rinne 27 23
NSH - Hutton 2 1
SJ - Jones 25 24
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
NSH 11 5 9 25
SJ 13 7 9 29
Power Play Conversion
NSH 0 of 3
SJ 1 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Joe Pavelski
Joe Thornton
Logan Couture
Referees: Charron, McCauley. Linesmen: Devorski, Nansen.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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