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Nashville Predators 3, San Jose Sharks 1: That Was Weird

I don’t understand this game.  I witnessed two of the worst periods of hockey I’ve seen this season.  And yet, we’re still here talking about a big win over the one of the West’s hotter teams.

Take them how you can get them, I guess.

What Happened?

Right off the bat, the Sharks take a penalty, and we get the chance to see some early-game excitHAHAHA nah JK, it’s the Preds power play so nothing happens.

In fact, the Preds’ first good chance of the game doesn’t happen until after the penalty is killed, when a mad scramble in front of Martin Jones leads to three great chances around the crease for Kyle Turris, Matt Duchene, and Mikael Granlund.

The power-play woes strike again later in the period after the Preds come up empty-handed on a four-minute power play.  In fact, the Sharks get the best chance of that stretch; Brent Burns turns a turnover into an odd-man rush that Juuse Saros just gets in front of.

The Predators’ attack actually does start to pick up towards the end of the period (and the Sharks get a couple of dangerous counters as well), but, ultimately, no one scores and we head to intermission 0-0.

The second period….

Oh Sweet Mother Mary, the second period.

At first, it looks like the pace we saw at the end of the first is going to carry over. The Sharks get a 2-on-1 chance that Ryan Ellis is able to break up.  That’s immediately followed by a Predators 2-on-1 chance that’s stopped by Jones.  But after that, we go nearly eight minutes without a whistle.  And what happened in that eight minutes?  Absolutely nothing of significance.

After that?  Still nothing.

This wasn’t the type of nothing that amounts to “oh there were some good chances, but the goalies stood tall, and it’s still 0-0.”  This was…I don’t know any other way to describe it besides just calling it what it is: bad hockey.  And I wish I had more specific points to elaborate, but I’m not sure where I’d begin.

Now, the end of the period is where things started to break down a bit.

First Järnkrok and Goodrow get matching minors for a scrum behind the play.  Then Timo Meier gets caught cross checking Dante Fabbro after the play, except Fabbro, who didn’t appear to do much, also got a coincidental minor.  Since tempers were getting high, I didn’t vehemently dislike the refs going ahead and handing out matching minors just to settle things down.

Except the next couple of calls defied that logic.  First Roman Josi got the only call on a scrum with Goodrow that was nearly a carbon-copy of the Fabbro play.  Then we have a line battle in which Dan Hamhuis was given two minutes after LITERALLY JUST BEING PUNCHED IN THE FACE WHILE KNEELING ON THE ICE.

Oh yeah, the Preds had two shots on goal that entire period.

Luckily, we get some FINALLY get some action in the third period, and it happens on the power play!  Mikael Granlund sends a no-look pass to Nick Bonino, who wrists it past Martin Jones for his team-leading 12th goal of the season.  The Predators take a 1-0 lead.

After that, Juuse Saros started to take over.

First, Saros stones Goodrow on a penalty shot.  Then just a few minutes later, he comes up big on a breakaway.

That seems to get the Preds going on the offensive end.  The Preds draw another power play opportunity, and Ryan Johansen crashes the net, and pokes his own rebound past Jones for a 2-0 Preds lead.  San Jose challenged the goal for interference, but the call stood.

The Preds look like they’re headed for an easy finish, but San Jose makes it interesting with the empty net.  Meier taps in an easy goal after Saros loses track of the puck in the paint to make it 2-1 with two minutes left.

The Sharks pull the goalie again, but this time, Calle Järnkrok is able to send home the empty-net goal to seal the 3-1 win.

OTF’s Super-Duper Stars of the Game

3. Mikael Granlund: Maaaaaaybe the best Predators skater on the ice tonight in his return from injury.

2. Juuse Saros: Anytime you stop three breakaways, including a penalty shot, during a game, you get a gold star.

1. You! For sticking with us and not breaking your TV with your remote after the second period.

What’s Next?

The Predators head to Buffalo for a showdown with the Sabres this Thursday.  The puck drops at 6:00 P.M. CST.

The Sharks return to San Jose to take on the New York Rangers this Thursday.

Talking Points