After a close shootout win in Phoenix on Tuesday night, the Predators headed further west into California to take on the San Jose Sharks in the always intimidating Shark Tank. The Predators and the Sharks would only meet four times this season, with San Jose winning two of those wins being in favor of the Predators (the Sharks won the first game of the season against the Predators in Nashville 3-1). The Sharks, who are fighting back the L.A. Kings for the 8th Spot in the Western Conference, were prepared to take out the Predators on their own territory on Thursday night, but would the Predators take the shark bait? Here are the highlights from Thursday’s game in San Jose:
- Gabriel Bourque, Brian McGrattan, Matt Halischuk, Roman Josi, and Kevin Klein were all scratched for the night, but, even with the possible injuries, none of the fellows above (mainly Josi and Klein) are suspected to be placed on the IR.
- It took half the period before anyone could seal a goal, but it was Patric Hornqvist who got the ball rolling at 13:18 during the 1st with a wrist shot on the power play for his 22nd goal of the season. Horny was assisted by Mike Fisher (22nd assist) and Martin Erat (36th assist).
- The Predators head the 1-0 lead over the Sharks’ heads during the 2nd Period, ending the period still on top. Neither team was able to sneak one past either goalie during the 2nd Period.
- The Sharks attacked as soon as the 3rd Period began, with Joe Thornton sealing a power play goal of his own with only 55 seconds into the period, his 16th goal of the season. The Sharks would fight the Predators off to end the game tied at 1-1, sending the game into overtime.
- Overtime produced no goals for either team, despite Shea Weber taking a tripping penalty during the overtime.
- The Predators succeeded in the shootout on Monday night, but could they do the same in San Jose? Here’s the rundown of the shootout:
- SAN JOSE – Martin Havlat – SAVE
- NASHVILLE – Craig Smith – SAVE
- SAN JOSE – Joe Pavelski – SAVE
- NASHVILLE – Andrei Kostitsyn – SAVE
- SAN JOSE – Ryane Clowe – GOAL
- NASHVILLE – David Legwand – SAVE
- Although a tough loss, Pekka Rinne was still on his A-Game, blocking 33 of 35 shots on goal. It was that one flaw in the defensive line that snagged the win for the Sharks during regulation, but it was all up to Peks in the shootout. The Predators also made took some silly penalties, giving up one goal during five power play chances. Here are the five penalty-takers:
- Andrei Kostitsyn – 1st Period 14:28 – Slashing
- Paul Gaustad – 2nd Period 15:43 – Roughing
- David Legwand – 2nd Period 19:49 – Interference
- Andrei Kostitsyn – 3rd Period 4:47 – Hi-Sticking
- Shea Weber – Overtime 4:56 – Tripping
The Predators luckily did not leave San Jose empty handed, tucking tail and heading South to Los Angeles with one point under their belts. Unfortunately, the Predators lost more than just the extra point that came with the win, as Paul Gaustad fell on his wrist during the third period, leaving the game with an upper body injury. If this turns out to be more than just a little awkward fall, Gaustad’s absence could be a huge hole in the Predators line.
The Predators continue their Western trek in L.A. on Saturday, then finishing up with the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday evening. Will Hollywood be kind to the Nashville kiddos? The puck drops at 9:30PM on Saturday.