The Nashville Predators put in a great effort at times tonight against San Jose, but sensational work by Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov and two power play goals from Dany Heatley sent the Predators to defeat, 4-3.
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The first two periods were evenly played, with the score tied at 2-2 and the shots on goal at 22 for each side. The two Nashville goals came from J.P. Dumont, who has been publicly called out by Barry Trotz in recent days, and seen a drastic reduction in ice time. Will this be enough to get him back on a top line?
Using the phrase that Trotz mentioned in his post-game press conference, however, there was no margin for error available for the Preds as they hung even with San Jose. All it took was a bad penalty from Dan Hamhuis midway through the 3rd to break things open. With the rest of his teammates going off for a change, Hammer dumped the puck into the right corner and pursued it aggressively, boarding Kent Huskins as a result. The Sharks converted quickly on the power play (they clicked on 2-of-4 chances tonight), and from there it was a matter of hanging on.
Nashville did a fine job of generating pressure in the final minutes, but Nabokov was spectacular in turning them aside. The top line of Jason Arnott with Steve Sullivan and Patric Hornqvist put 13 shots on goal (9 alone by the captain), but rebound chances were few and far between.
Pekka Rinne had a good, but not great night in the Nashville net, stopping 25 of 29 San Jose shots. He wasn't the reason Nashville lost the game, but he did struggle with some puckhandling decisions that led to extra pressure in the Preds' end of the ice.
The Predators resume their home schedule after the Olympic break with 10 home games in the month of March. Be sure to take advantage of this coupon code for discounted Nashville Predators tickets.