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Sharks stay perfect at home
SJ beats Nashville 4-1 at SAP Center
10/29/16 - By Mike Lee -

It's early in the season so you can't gauge the outcome on a few games in October, but not having to make constant corrections to rights nagging issues is always a plus. The Sharks have figured some things that have made them click at home, which was a far cry for their inconsistencies on home ice last regular season. San Jose pretty matter of fact on Saturday night, as they dispatched the visiting Nashville Predators 4-1 at SAP Center.

The pace of the game was reminiscent of the Sharks Conference Semi-Final series with Nashville last spring, which required a full 7 games to decide the winner. The Predators are a fast team, and the Sharks were forced to turn in an A-game performance in order to secure the victory.

Nashville was hampered by some inconsistent play from goaltender Pekka Rinne, who battled the puck all night. Rinne owes a debt of gratitude to his defensive teammates who made the score a lot less laughable. Roman Josi was awarded the 3rd star of the game solely for his ability to clean up Rinne's messes all night long.

Joonas Donskoi opened the game's scoring 15:28 into the 1st period, punching home a loose puck that was bouncing around the crease after Paul Martin threw the puck on net. Logan Couture took a hack at the puck, pushing it toward Donskoi on the left side as Rinne fought to try and control the puck as it bounced off of Couture. The puck found a seam between Rinne's pads for Donskoi's 2nd of the season.

San Jose opened the 2nd period by blitzing Rinne, in an attempt to better the crazy pace that Nashville pushed in the first frame. Yannick Weber was induced into taking a cross checking penalty at 2:41 of the period, and the Sharks made quick work on the power play.

Joe Pavelski converted 6 seconds into the man-advantage by firing the puck at Rinne from the right side of the net, using the Predators goaltender to bank the puck home. Had RInne let the shot pass, it would have sailed wide on an even plane with the goal line, but his interference pushed the Sharks lead to 2-0.

Tommy Wingels made it a 3-0 game before the arena public address announcer had time to call Pavelski's goal. Wingels sent a backhand shot past a diving Rinne after a David Schlemko pass bounced off Micheal Haley's skate and deflected right to the Sharks forward. Wingels beat two defenders to the left side of the slot to take advantage of the fortuitous bounce.

The period could have been more of a disaster for Nashville, but a pair of shot clanked off iron, and a point blank miss by Joel Ward kept the score manageable.

The Predators finally got a puck past Martin Jones with 41.8 seconds left in the period. Ryan Ellis fired a shot from the blueline that James Neal redirected from the left side of the slot. There was little Jones could do to stop the rocket shot.

Nashville tried to bite in to the Sharks lead early in the 3rd period, but it was Jones who denied the visiting Predators from getting any more rubber past him. Jones faced 11 shots in the period and turned aside every one of them.

The Sharks defense also kept the Predators at bay with solid puck movement, especially when they needed to move it out of their own end. David Schlemko has proven to be a solid signing based on his performance through the first 9 games of the season.

The Predators were forced to pull Rinne with 2:30 to play in an attempt to make one last run at the Sharks 2-goal lead. Not one to shoot on goal much, Joe Thornton was credited with a goal without putting the puck across the goal line or even shooting for that matter. The Sharks centerman was on his way to pushing the puck into an empty net, but Filip Forsberg tripped up Thornton, drawing an awarded goal.





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Scoring
1 2 3 T
NSH 0 1 0 1
SJ 1 2 1 4
1st period - 1, SJ, Donskoi 2 (Couture, Martin), 15:28.
2nd period - 2, SJ, Pavelski 4 (unassisted), 2:47, (pp). 3, SJ, Wingels 1 (Haley, Schlemko), 3:04. 4, NSH, Neal 1 (Ellis, Josi), 19:18.
3rd period - 5, SJ, Thornton 1 (Pavelski, Hertl), 18:40, (en).
Penalties
1st period - None.
2nd period - Weber, NSH (cross checking), 2:41; Karlsson, SJ (interference), 12:55; Ekholm, NSH (holding), 15:33.
3rd period - None.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
NSH - Rinne 26 23
NSH - empty net 1 0
SJ - Jones 28 27
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
NSH 8 9 11 28
SJ 10 11 5 26
Power Play Conversion
NSH 0 of 1
SJ 1 of 2
3 Stars of the Game
Martin Jones
Joe Pavelski
Roman Josi
Attendance
SAP Center - 17,562
Officials
Referees: Meier, Hanson. Linesmen: Alphonso, Mach.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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