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Jumbo to the rescue
Thornton's 400th career goal is game winner
11/13/18 - By Mike Lee -

Joe Thornton had a quiet Tuesday night. Then the Sharks had another chance to upend the best team in the NHL, and the Sharks senior statesman worked his magic. Not known for his shooting prowess, the old man snapped a shot with 6:42 left in regulation that sailed past Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros to give the Sharks a 5-4 lead. It capped another come-from-behind victory over the Predators this season.

The Sharks scored three 3rd period goals against the Predators on October 23rd to take a 5-4 victory. They would allow the Predators to overcome their own three goal deficit on Tuesday night, scoring four straight goals to wipe out a 3-0 Sharks lead.

A Joe Pavelski goal allowed San Jose to re-tie the game at 13:05, deadlocking the game at 4-4.

Then Thornton scored his 400th career NHL goal to put the Sharks ahead for good. The Sharks forced a turnover in their own zone then Justin Braun chipped the puck up the right wing. Marcus Sorensen gathered the puck and crossed the Predators blueline before whipping a pass across the ice to a suddenly spry Thornton who was racing up the left wing.

Thornton gathered the pass, took two strides and fired his shot past Saros for his 400th career NHL goal. The milestone goal wasn't just some meaningless tally in a lopsided game. It was the game winner.

Sorensen opened the game's scoring with his 3rd tally of the season at the 5:09 mark. The Sharks forward grabbed a loose puck in the Predators zone near the bottom of the right circle then attacked the net from right to left. Sorensen waited out Nashville goaltender Juuse Saros as he cut across the top of the crease, before lifting a shot into a wide open net. The forward was forced to kick the puck forward as he navigated through a sea of sticks out in front of the Predators net.

Filip Forsberg was called for tripping at 6:31, and the Sharks wasted little time converting on the ensuing power play. Erik Karlsson ripped a shot from the blueline, allowing Joe Pavelski to tip the shot past Saros for his 9th goal of the season. The Predators entered the game with the worst penalty kill in the league.

Antti Suomela pushed the lead to 3-0 with 3:09 left in the period. The winger was the beneficiary of a Predators clearing attempt that hit the left wing board and kicked right to him as he sat parked in the slot. Facing the net from 15 feet out, Suomela kicked the upper left corner and snapped his 3rd goal of the season home.

All the momentum that San Jose built in that period was negated in a nightmarish 2nd period.

Craig Smith cut into the Sharks lead 4:43 into the 2nd period right after a Kevin Labanc hooking penalty expired. The Predators forward deflected a deflection into the Sharks net with his left skate. Replays showed that Smith kicked the puck into the net, but a video replay deemed the goal good.

Justin Braun gift-wrapped a goal for Nashville 40 seconds later when he let a puck skip past him as he sat at the Predators blueline. Forsberg got a jump on the Sharks defender and raced up ice uncontested before snapping a shot past Martin Jones.

The Predators tied the game with 2:08 left in the period when Forsberg snapped a shot from 25 feet that beat Jones to the glove side. Forsberg mishandled the puck and had to fish it out of his own skates, which may have confused Jones. When he regained control of the puck, the Predators forward quickly uncorked his shot, which seemed to surprise Jones.

The Sharks opened the 3rd period by catching Saros out of his net, but Evander Kane rushed a shat should have been a gimmee goal.

The Predators completed their impressive comeback from the dead 2:43 into the 3rd period, when Rocco Grimaldi outworked Joakim Ryan on a play at center ice which turned into a breakaway chance. The Predators forward raced in on net and deeked Jones before slipping home his 1st goal of the season to put the Predators up 4-3.

The goal was Grimaldi's 6th career NHL goal in 5 NHL seasons.

Jones may have made the eventual comeback a reality when he made a diving save on Smith midway through the period. The Predators had a 2-on-1 chance that ended with Smith throwing the puck on net from the right side.

Pavelski tied the game on a Sorensen feed as he skated across the right dot.

Nick Bonino almost re-tied the game with a minute left in regulation when he fired a one-time chance from the low slot. Once again, Jones made the big stop to preserve the victory.

Game Notes:

* Logan Couture was a game time decision as he recovered from a lower body injury that he suffered on Sunday night against the Flames. The centerman ended up playing, logging a single shot on goal and registering a team worst -3 plus/minus.

* Tomas Hertl sustained an injury in the 2nd period and did not return.

* Marcus Sorensen finished the game with a goal and 2 assists to lead San Jose in scoring.

* The Predators entered play with the worst penalty kill in the NHL. San Jose converted on 1 of 5 power play chances.

* San Jose was 28 of 64 on draws (44%).


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1 2 3 T
NSH 0 3 1 4
SJ 3 0 2 5
1st period - 1, SJ, Sorensen 3 (unassisted), 5:09. 2, SJ, Pavelski 9 (E. Karlsson, Hertl), 7:05, (pp). 3, SJ, Suomela 3 (unassisted), 16:51.
2nd period - 4, NSH, Smith 5 (Johansen, Bonino), 4:43. 5, NHS, Forsberg 11 (unassisted), 5:23. 6, NSH, Forsberg 12 (Smith), 17:52.
3rd period - 7, NSH, Grimaldi 1 (Fiala, Irwin), 2:43. 8, SJ, Pavelski 10 (Sorensen, Burns), 13:05. 9, SJ, Thornton 3 (Sorensen, Braun), 13:18.
1st period - Forsberg, NSH (tripping), 6:31; Weber, NSH (tripping), 11:43.
2nd period - Bonino, NSH (slashing), 2:00; Labanc, SJ (hooking), 2:40; Dillon, SJ (interference), 10:26; Ellis, NSH (interference), 12:42; Bench, NSH (too many men), 14:22.
3rd period - Labanc, SJ (hooking), 4:24.
Shots Saves
NSH - Saros 37 32
SJ - Jones 34 30
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
NSH 5 15 14 34
SJ 18 6 13 37
Power Play Conversion
NSH 0 of 3
SJ 1 of 5
3 Stars of the Game
Joe Thornton
Joe Pavelski
Marcus Sorensen
SAP Center - 16,654
Referees: St Pierre, St Laurent. Linesmen: Cherrey, Daisy.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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