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Sharks fall flat in Nashville
SJ drops Game 3 in 4-1 snoozer
5/3/15 - By Mike Lee -

You can't expect to win them all, but you do expect the team to show up. The Sharks have found lots of success during this post season, but Tuesday night wasn't indicative of that. The Sharks grabbed an early 1st period lead, then threw things into cruise control for the final 40 minutes. That was a recipe for disaster as the host Nashville Predators scored the next 4 goals to roll the Sharks 4-1 at Bridgestone Arena.

This was one to file away as an example of what not to do the rest of the playoffs. It was a text book example of resting on your laurels after grabbing an early lead, and how that typically leads to bad things.

After frustrating the Predators through Games 1 & 2, the Sharks let complacency take over after a decent opening period that seemed to add to the pressure for Nashville. That pressure was magnified by a Patrick Marleau goal with 6:37 remaining in the opening period.

The Sharks broke out of their own zone when Tomas Hertl redirected a puck to Marleau who was making his way up the center of the ice. Marleau moved the puck up to his stick by kicking it forward with his trailing skate, but it moved past his stick. fortunately for San Jose it also slipped past defensemen Shea Weber and Roman Josi. Marleau flew past both of those players and drew the puck to his left as goaltender Pekka Rinne came out of his net to try and poke it away.

All Marleau had to do was drop it into the wide open net for the Sharks early lead.

That's when things turned south for San Jose. The 2nd period started out as poorly as could be when rookie forward Joonas Donskoi clipped James Neal, cutting the Predators forward with a high stick.

It took Nashville three of those four minutes to finally solve the Sharks penalty kill, but they got the job done, tying the game at 1-1. Neal fired a one-time chance from the bottom of the right circle after Mattias Ekholm set him up with a pass from the slot. Neal fired the puck high on Jones, which seemed to enlighten the Predators.

They spent the rest of the game shooting high on Jones, and every shot seemed to get past the Sharks netminder.

Weber gave the Predators the lead with 4:16 remaining in the middle frame by unleashing a Howitzer shot from the high slot. The puck sailed over Jones left shoulder, continuing with the trend of shooting high on Jones. Defenseman Roman Polak could have stepped into the shooting lane to try and block Weber's shot, but he seemed uninterested in absorbing Weber's rocket shot.

Colin Wilson pushed the Nashville lead to 3-1 at 6:55 of the 3rd period after Jones misjudged a Ryan Ellis shot. Ellis sent a one timer from the right side of the slot that Jones expected to push wide of the net and carom off the end boards to the left side of the rink. The puck clipped the side of the net instead, hitting the end boards and bouncing back out to the right side where Wilson collected it and fired it into the unguarded right side of the goal.

A Brendan Dillon slashing infraction setup the 5th Predators power play of the night. Filip Forsberg cashed in with another shot that went top shelf. The Predators leading goal scorer from the regular season snapped a shot from the top of the right circle as he skated in toward the net while the Sharks tried to defend the Nashville man advantage.

The Sharks special teams play was the antithesis of Nashville's 2-of-5 night. The Sharks had 4 chances on the power play, and they couldn't generate a single shot across any of those chances. Joe Thornton had a particularly tough night on the man advantage. His nonchalant play with the puck resulted in a handful of turnovers that stymied the Sharks play in the Predators zone.

Game Notes:

* The faceoff blues reared their ugly head again in Game 3. San Jose only won 43% of the draws in the game. Joel Ward was 1-of-7 from the faceoff circle and Chris Tierney converted on 4-of-12.

* In a sign that defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic still isn't 100% following the injury he sustained late in the regular season, the blueliner only logged 18:51 of ice time. The defenseman has traditionally booked the most minutes for the Sharks, but his absence suggests he's likely still nursing the injury that sidelined him late in the season.

* Mr Carrie Underwood led all skaters with 6 shots on goal.


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1 2 3 OT 2OT T
SJ 1 0 0 1
NSH 0 2 2 4
1st period - 1, SJ, Marleau 2 (Hertl, Vlasic), 13:13.
2nd period - 2, NSH, Neal 3 (Ekholm, Johansen), 5:11, (pp). 3, NSH, Weber 3 (unassisted), 14:44.
3rd period - 4, NSH, Wilson 3 (Ellis, Fisher), 6:55. 5, NSH, Forsberg 2 (Josi, Weber), 15:49, (pp).
Overtime - .
2nd Overtime - .
1st period - Karlsson, SJ (hooking), 1:11; Burns, SJ (roughing), 15:16; Bitetto, NSH (cross checking), 15:16; Jackman, NASH (roughing), 15:16; Arvidsson, NSH (slashing), 19:05.
2nd period - Donskoi, SJ (high sticking - double minor), 2:19; Nieto, SJ (hooking), 12:57; Smith, NSH (high sticking), 13:57; Jackman, NSH (hooking), 18:21.
3rd period - Thornton, SJ (slashing), 11:08; Josi, NSH (slashing), 11:08; Dillon, SJ (slashing), 14:08.
Overtime - .
Shots Saves
SJ - Jones 13 11
SJ - empty net
NSH - Rinne 18 17
NSH - empty net
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
SJ 9 9 18
NSH 7 6 13
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 4
NSH 1 of 5
3 Stars of the Game
Referees: O'Halloran, Pollock. Linesmen: Amell, Racicot.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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