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Nashville Predators 1, San Jose Sharks 2 (SO): Saros excels in offensively stagnant matchup

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We’re gonna need a bigger power play.

NHL: Nashville Predators at San Jose Sharks John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

After all of the football excitement in Tuscaloosa and Lexington wrapped up Saturday evening, the Nashville Predators played on the other side of the country in the Bay Area. Serving as an exciting nightcap for the evenings of hockey fans across the South, the Preds took on the San Jose Sharks in an attempt to get the bad taste that the game against Colorado left in their mouths. Juuse Saros got the start in net as the Predators fell to the Sharks in a shootout, 1-2.

The first period was rather quiet for the first half of the period, as both teams exchanged minor blows in a manner akin to two boxers feeling each other out at the start of a fight. As the period progressed, however, the game opened up much more. The Predators were given a power play opportunity around halfway through the period, and, despite not being rewarded with a goal, Sharks goalie Martin Jones was pressured by the top PP line. After this unsuccessful man advantage, the Sharks were given two back-to-back 5-on-4 chances, once for hooking and once for too many men. No goals were scored on these either, largely in part due to Saros, and that wrapped up a scoreless first period.

The second period took the momentum that the first period ended with, and did nothing with it. The beginning of the second period was largely barren, with sparse shots here and there. Both teams got shots at the man advantage, but neither scored. However, one play made up for all of the lack of offense in the second period, and that play came from Filip Forsberg. Dangling and scrambling between Sharks players, the Prince found his way to the net and put the puck in the back of it when he got there. This goal would be the only goal of the period, and would serve as the momentum Nashville tried to build off of going into the third.

The third period really opened things up. Juuse Saros had played a rather great game through the first two periods, but Tomas Hertl found himself in front of the net and was able to put one past the Nashville goaltender in the third period to tie the game up. As is tradition in this game at this point, both teams had a power play opportunity in this period, and neither team scored. Despite big shots by both teams late in the game, this one was bound for overtime.

With the first point already secured, the Sharks put tons of pressure on Nashville early, but Saros was there to keep the Preds in the game every time. The Predators earned one final power play opportunity with less than two minutes left in the game, but, stop me if you’ve heard this before, they failed to score on it. With that, the shootout began.

Both goalies stood tall through 6 rounds, but Saros finally slipped up and let Timo Meier end the game in favor of San Jose. That would wrap tonight’s contest up, and would send the guys in gold to Vancouver with one point.

Random Observations

  • Back and forth play through the first half of the first, but the Preds finally have a big moment here with a power play near the midpoint of this opening period.
  • Some good pressure on the PP, but no goal.
  • Power play for the Sharks. Hopefully they have the same level of success Nashville did.
  • Dan Hamhuis exits the penalty box after a successful penalty kill, but leaves the door cracked for Rocco Grimaldi who goes in for too many men on the ice. Another man advantage for the Sharks.
  • Another successful penalty kill for Nashville, this time featuring an almost-goal from Forsberg.
  • And that will do it for the first. No scores yet.
  • Another power play opportunity early in the second period for Nashville.
  • The second power play of the night also becomes the second unsuccessful power play of the night, this time a bit less successful than before.
  • Wide open breakaway chance for Rocco, can’t find the back of the net.
  • The offense finally seems to be getting looks at the Sharks’ net... maybe a goal soon?
  • Forsberg is a cheat code. 1-0 Preds.
  • Another power play opportunity for San Jose. Late in the period, a game-tying goal would be detrimental.
  • Another penalty kill! Even though the man-up hasn’t made any mark on the scoreboard, the the man-down has done their part well.
  • Scary moment for Dante Fabbro late in the second, as he takes a puck to the face.
  • Second period over. Preds enter the third looking to maintain their lead.
  • Saros has played well tonight, but he finally lets one through in the third. 1-1.
  • Preds go on the power play once again... really big moment in a tie game.
  • Nothing comes out of it, still tied at 1.
  • Hertl has another direct shot at the goal during a delayed penalty, but can’t convert. Regardless, another penalty kill for the Predators late in a tie game.
  • Predators kill that penalty, now trying to break the tie here late.
  • No goals to end the period, and onto overtime we go. These west-coast overtime games should really be sponsored by 5 Hour Energy... but that’s just my two cents.
  • One last power play in overtime to end the game. Can Nashville convert on it? I have my doubts.
  • Big save by Jones with less than 10 seconds on the clock on Forsberg.
  • Onto the shootout.
  • I just now realized that I forgot to mention the fact that Nashville’s last power play wasn’t successful. At this point, I suppose it was all but assumed.
  • No goals through 4 rounds of the shootout. These shooters seem to have as much energy as I do, considering it’s 1:15 a.m. EST.
  • Still no goals through 6. Sheesh.
  • Sharks finish it in the 7th round. If you stayed up to watch this game, go get some sleep, Preds fans: you deserve it

Stars of the Game

  1. Filip Forsberg - Had one of the nastier goals I’ve seen this year.
  2. Juuse Saros - Kept the Preds in this game when the offense tried its hardest not to.
  3. Coke Zero - Kept me awake during this overtime game on the west coast.

Tweets of the Night

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