The Nashville Predators dropped a disheartening result to the San Jose Sharks tonight, losing 2-1 in overtime on Patrick Marleau's game winning goal. That Nashville was able to fend off San Jose over 60 minutes was something of a miracle - Pekka Rinne was forced to make 48 saves, many of them difficult.
Cody Franson did convert on the power play, but it was much too little and in this case, much too early. The Sharks caught Nashville in the standings, but didn't pass them, and that could prove crucial as the season turns for home.
Advanced stats, video highlights, and reaction (including player & coach quotes) after the jump.
Start things off with the Sharks vs Predators boxscore and video highlights:
Ten thoughts on tonight's game:
- Before the game even started, much of the buzz regarded J.P. Dumont, who, along with Wade Belak, was a healthy scratch, presumably so Marek Svatos could make his return. "[it was] a coach's decision, we're getting healthy and I have to put people in certain areas," Barry Trotz stated after the game. For a player of Dumont's salary and talent, it was an interesting move.
- San Jose has one of the league's best power plays (checking in at 4th), so to see the Predators go to work on the kill as dominantly as they did was refreshing. Mike Fisher laid down to block shots, Shea Weber cleared the crease, and perhaps most of all, Pekka Rinne bailed his teammates out in a big way during a first period 5-on-3. "Goaltending's the biggest thing," Weber said. "I thought killing that 5-on-3 was huge."
- If Barry Trotz could create a hockey player, I'm convinced that Mike Fisher would be it. Fisher is seemingly in every place on the ice, and all at once. Just two games into his tenure, Trotz has seen fit to roll him out on the power play, penalty kill, and at even strength. The verdict on the acquisition is very much out, but so far? So good.
- Through one period, Nashville led the Sharks in shots on goal, 14-12. By the time the second frame was over, San Jose had 28 shots to the Preds' 24. To say they were fortunate to get out of that period without conceding a goal would be an understatement. "I can't remember the last time we gave up 50 shots. We've got to keep that tighter," Trotz said.
- I realize Steve Sullivan is getting on up there in age, but it'd be nice if he would consider learning a new breakaway move. At this point, every goalie in the NHL knows what's coming - and it never works.
- When Pekka Rinne plays the way he did tonight, 99 times out of 100, the Predators will win the game. He made an astounding 48 saves, but the team as a whole couldn't finish their chances, which is unfortunate - Rinne is consistently outclassing every skater on the ice, which even Patrick Marleau recognized: "He stood in there tall...he is definitely one of the top goalies in the league," Marleau said.
- Tonight's game had a playoff atmosphere on the ice, but the Predators didn't seem to bring their playoff intensity the entire time. Once again, the team came out quickly, but fell asleep in the second period and for the majority of the third. The fact that they lost the game should come as no real surprise.
- Kevin Klein took an undisclosed injury in overtime, and was forced to go straight to the locker room. "I can't answer that," Trotz told the media in his postgame presser, but Josh Cooper of the Tennessean tweeted that Klein was not, in fact, hurt.
- Nashville's now 0-5 in games decided in the 4-on-4 overtime. Patrick Marleau ended this one on the breakaway, which Barry Trotz theorized was caused by the Predators not "managing the puck in traffic at their blueline."
- Unfortunately for the Preds, the road only gets harder from here - they take on the NHL's best team Thursday, and the Pacific Division leading Coyotes on Saturday. Mike Fisher said that Nashville "didn't get the momentum shifts [they] needed," and failure to do so later in the week will yield a result similar to tonight's - a loss.
And for the advanced even-strength stats...
|Even Strength||Individual Totals||Team Totals While Player Is On Ice|
|Player||Pos||EV TOI||Shots||Shts Blkd||Missed Shts||Blocks||SOG For||SOG Ag||SOG +/-||Tot SF||Tot SA||Corsi|