By Amanda DiPaolo
The last time the Nashville Predators won in San Jose at the end of regulation was December 7, 2002. Saturday night, the Predators ended the eight year drought, edging the Sharks 2-1 on the strength of a phenomenal performance by Predators goalie Pekka Rinne.
Rinne, 12-10-4 on the season, made 42 saves on 43 shots, including stopping all 18 shots faced in the opening frame.
With the win, Nashville has five consecutive victories, and have 10 wins in their last 15 games.
Saturday night’s game featured some fast paced end to end action, despite the lop-sided shots on goal, 43-26 for San Jose.
Despite the end-to-end play, Nashville didn’t record a shot on goal until only 12:16 remained in the period. But it was Nashville who would score first.
David Legwand got his third goal of the season with 6:50 remaining in the first period when a sprawling Dan Boyle tried to clear the puck out of the Sharks zone using his glove, but it was picked up instead by Legwand who shot the puck on former Blackhawks goaltender Antti Niemi. Niemi made the initial save, but Legwand picked up his own rebound and found the back of the net on the backhand. The goal was unassisted.
With just 30 seconds left in the first period, Shane O’Brien took a Dan Boyle shot to the knee. He slowly skated to the bench and left the ice, but came back out for the second period.
San Jose tied the game on their 24th shot of the night. Logan Couture scored his 19th goal of the season at 4:35 into the second period. Couture took a stretch pass from Ryan Clowe and shot the puck high glove side over Rinne’s shoulder.
The goal for the Sharks broke a scoreless streak of 109 minutes.
Just 33 seconds after a Predators penalty expired, Sergei Kostitsyn scored his 11th goal of the season. Patric Hornqvist shot the puck on net from the point. Kostitsyn came in off the boards and was able to reach and bury rebound before the Sharks’ defender was able to clear the puck out of the way. Marcel Goc picked up the secondary assist.
The goal extends Kostitsyn’s scoring steak to five games.
San Jose was not called for any penalties. Nashville had two minor infractions called against them but were able to kill off both man advantages.
Shea Weber was called for holding Dan Boyle at the end of the first period. Shane O’Brien went to the penalty box 3:50 into the third period for high sticking Benn Ferriero.
The Predators will try to continue their winning streak at home on Tuesday night when the Wild visit Music City. Minnesota are winners of four straight, heading into Sunday’s game against Dallas. Game time is 7 pm. Tickets are still available.
Additional Game Notes:
Andreas Thuresson made his debut in a Predators jersey this season. Thuresson was called up to replace Nick Spaling, who missed the game with an upper body injury.
The win gives the Predators their fifth consecutive victory, despite have 6 regulars out of the lineup, and potentially losing another Saturday night. Martin Erat, Steve Sullivan, Matthew Lombardi, Cal O’Reilly, Nick Spaling and Jordin Tootoo are not playing. In San Jose, with just four minutes left to play, Marek Svatos, in only his sixth game with the Predators, went face first into the boards behind the net with his legs stretched out in a near splits position. A pulled groin muscle could be the result. No official word has been released on Svatos.
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Tags: Andreas Thuresson Antti Niemi Colin Wilson Dan Boyle Dany Healtey David Legwand Logan Couture Marek Svatos Martin Erat Matthew Lombardi Nashville Predators NHL Patric Hornqvist Pekka Rinne Ryan Clowe San Jose Sharks Sergei Kostitsyn Shea Weber Steve Sulivan