This season keeps making history as the Nashville Predators set a franchise record for points after beating the San Jose Sharks in an epic battle.
The latest win for the Nashville Predators might be the biggest one of the season as they get to 111 points, a new franchise record. It didn’t come easy as the Sharks were relentless in their offensive attack. It’s incredible they weren’t able to tally more than three goals.
Another major milestone comes as this home game marks the 100th consecutive sellout at Bridgestone Arena, and the loyal fans got one of the most intense games of the year in return.
The tone of this game was set early. The fast-paced and end-to-end action honestly made me feel tired just watching it. The Predators are starting to get better about scoring first and not having to come from behind so much. They did that here on a goal from Kyle Turris, continuing his hot play from the last game.
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We know the Sharks are no pushover as they’re battling for their own division title in the Pacific Division. Less than two minutes after the Predators got on the board, the Sharks retaliated with one of their own. This is really the only goal I can fault Juuse Saros for in the game. He just got beat by a laser of a wrist shot from Logan Couture.
Viktor Arvidsson is knocking on the door of 30-plus goals again as he gets the Predators up 2-1 a few minutes later. He’s up to 29 goals after a nice set up from Filip Forsberg off a Sharks turnover. Forsberg is starting to pile up the assists as he’s up to 36 on the season. The chemistry on the JoFA line is amazing every game and makes the Predators so lethal.
The Sharks would quickly respond yet again, tying it at 2-2. This goal goes through a ton of traffic in front of Saros, and he never sees it. Can’t put too much blame on Saros for missing that one. As you’ll see, he was locked in after this and puts the Predators on his back to the finish line.
The fast pace continues into the second period. This was one of those games you couldn’t afford to look away from as you would definitely miss something. Saros really started to take control at this point and keep the Sharks from piling on a few goals. You can’t take anything away from the Sharks and the way they played. If Saros was anything less than spectacular, the Sharks win this one easily to the tune of six or more goals.
Despite all of the action, the Predators are the only team to score in the second period. Craig Smith gets his 22nd goal of the season off of a Turris rush that ends in a scrum in front of the net. As nice as it was to have the lead back, the Sharks had plenty more ammunition to throw at Saros. They were locked in and put the Predators on the ropes numerous times.
The second period was also a parade of penalties with six total, four of them by the Sharks. Unfortunately, the power play woes continue for the Predators as they get blanked on all five opportunities. Not only do they get blanked on the power play, but they fail to even put much together in the Sharks zone. A remedy to the power play has to be figured out before the playoffs.
The final period was more of the same from the Sharks. A lot of pressure on Saros, and the Predators just hanging on for dear life. Shortly after killing off two penalties, the Sharks finally get another by Saros. Again, this isn’t on Saros. He was making spectacular save after spectacular save until the Sharks finally got one by him.
I have to admit that I didn’t feel the Predators were going to be able to hold off a formidable Sharks attack the rest of the way. They were getting so much offensive pressure on Saros with a lot of time left. But, Ryan Ellis and his beard to save the day with his patented slapshot that completely overpowers Martin Jones. It sneaks right through his pads to put the Predators ahead again in a seesaw battle. Check out Ellis’ postgame interview courtesy of Fox Sports Tennessee:
Here’s where things really get crazy as the Sharks put together another flurry of attacks to get the equalizer again. Saros wasn’t having it as he puts on a highlight reel for every aspiring goaltender, and reaffirming that the Predators are in good hands after Pekka Rinne eventually hangs it up. A penalty shot is narrowly stopped by Saros near the end of the game to get the Predators the thrilling victory to inch closer to a division title.
Chad’s Three Stars
Third Star: Filip Forsberg
He may not be scoring as many goals as we’re accustomed to, but he’s piling on the assists. Three more in this game as he continues to show there’s more to his game than just scoring goals.
Second Star: Ryan Ellis
Can you imagine where Ellis’ stats would be if he had played the full season? Instead, he has nine goals and 19 assists in just 39 games. He scores what ends up being the game-winner at a time when the Sharks had all of the momentum.
First Star: Juuse Saros
I know he gave up three goals, but if you actually watched this game you know the Predators don’t win without him. In fact, the Sharks didn’t lose this game. Saros stole it from them and said “we have unfinished business”. His final stat line finishes with 39 saves and a .929 save percentage.