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Nashville Predators 5, San Jose Sharks 3: The 50-win club

With #TolvanenWatch officially over, the focus shifted back to piling up more points. The Sharks made it tough.

Minnesota Wild v Nashville Predators Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Entering Thursday’s game, the Nashville Predators had an opportunity to reach the 50-win milestone for just the second time in franchise history, as the 2006-07 team was the first to venture into that territory.

It was a struggle, but the Preds got there with a 5-3 victory over visiting San Jose to further close in on the Central Division title. Nashville improved to 50-16-11 with the victory, while the Sharks dropped to 44-24-10 after the loss.

After a bit of a back-and-forth start, Kyle Turris started the scoring at 5:26 of the opening period, depositing a rebound of P.K. Subban’s blast from the right point.

Logan Couture tied the game just 1:29 later with a perfect wrist shot from the high slot.

Viktor Arvidsson scored his 29th goal of the season with 9:46 left in the first after a turnover left two-thirds of the JOFA line on a mini 2-on-0 against Martin Jones.

Just 1:51 later, a shot from the right point off of Brenden Dillon found its way in the net to retie the game.

What could have been one of the most outstanding goals ever in Bridgestone Arena was thwarted by the right post late in the period, as Forsberg tried the lacrosse move in tight quarters. Jones didn’t see what happened until after the puck had hit the post.

Special teams saw quite a bit of time in the second period. The Preds went to the power play, ended up with 41 seconds of 5-on-3 time, did nothing with it and eventually went down a man in less than four minutes.

Craig Smith put the Preds in front with 9:22 left in the second with a rebound off a Ryan Ellis backhand attempt. San Jose challenged for goaltender interference, but the goal was confirmed.

San Jose tied the game at 3-3 with 14:06 to play, but Mikkel Boedker’s shot found its way through after a series of Juuse Saros saves on the power play that had just expired before the goal.

Neeing something good to happen, Ryan Ellis was more than happy to oblige, blasting one past Jones to give the Preds a 4-3 lead with 9:54 to play.

A series of bad penalties led to a late San Jose power play and a Logan Couture penalty shot...and the Sharks fail to convert on either one.

Nick Bonino scored an empty-netter with 17 seconds left to ice things.

Random Observations

  • Sharks going right to work, getting Saros some action early.
  • Kyle Turris had all day to put that rebound home. Definitely the preferred start against a team that has won eight of the last nine.
  • That shot by Couture was a laser beam earmarked for the top shelf. Sharks had very good puck movement to create space for him in the high slot.
  • JOFA line strikes again. Joey with the turnover, Forsberg with the dish and Arvy with the delivery past Jones.
  • It may be one of those nights, folks. Hold on to your butts.
  • For the record, those two goals by San Jose are really good shots. They’re looking high on the shorter Saros and it’s showing.
  • Irwin put everything he had into that shot and it screamed off the post. The post sounded dead after that one.
  • Forsberg tries the lacrosse shot in tight quarters under pressure and catches the post. Almost a Goal of the Year candidate.
  • Arvy gets caught by friendly fire from Forsberg late in the first. Yikes.
  • Former Titans head coach Jeff Fisher is in the house, but the game can’t end in an 8-8 tie.
  • Need to capitalize on the 41 seconds of 5-on-3 advantage. Power play hasn’t been good lately.
  • Questionable call against Joey for playing the puck with a high stick, really short-circuited the 5-on-3 time.
  • More juicy rebounds. Smith’s the beneficiary this time.
  • Preds game ops play “Let It Be” during video review and people get their phones out for a pretty cool moment.
  • This power play needs one badly. Smith finds the post and the drought continues...
  • Sharks have a 2-on-1 with Ward feeding to Burns for a sure goal — but wait! Saros gets across the crease and gets a stick on it, the shot finds crossbar instead of net and it’s still 3-2.
  • Big kill of the Hartman penalty. Sharks were circling and didn’t find the net.
  • It seems like there’s a lot of too many men penalties against the Preds. Just too much man going on, I guess.
  • Saros doing everything to try to keep the lead, but the Sharks get one back.
  • San Jose has been the much better team in the third period.
  • Ryan Ellis with a howitzer. He just scores big goals.
  • Subban has no chance at the Norris Trophy. The last 2-3 weeks have killed any momentum he had.
  • Saros makes all the saves.

Most Excellent Three Stars of the Game

  1. Saros. Huge all night.
  2. Arvidsson. He’s going to be a 30-goal scorer, Jared. Again.
  3. Ellis. Goals on the moon. And they’re all big.

Postgame Reaction

Johansen on getting a franchise-record 111 points:

“We should be proud. We’ve put in a lot of hard work and it’s not an easy thing to do. That’s why it hasn’t been achieved yet, so we’ll hopefully try to extend the record.”

Forsberg on his lacrosse-shot attempt:

“It just came. It was the closest. I’ve been thinking about trying it a lot of times. That was the closest, and hopefully I get another chance.”

On Johansen’s two-way play:

“Obviously he has to play against the top centers in the league … and he’s definitely one of them.”

Saros on his progression since the beginning of the season:

“I’m just getting more games under my belt, playing my game and trying to focus on the things I can focus on.”

On the volume of shots he faced in the third period:

“You don’t think much at that moment, you just try to help the team to get out of it and believe that it’s going to turn around.”

Arvidsson on reaching the 60-point mark again:

I feel like I’ve found my game and I just think consistency is a big part. I do it everyday and I try to work as hard as I can every day on every shift. That and playing with great players and a great team is a big part of it.”

Tweets of the Night

Game Extras