Nashville Predators 6, San Jose Sharks 2: Solid win but Pärssinen injured

The Preds got scoring from up and down the lineup.

The depleted Nashville Predators headed west to face the San Jose Sharks in a late game.

The first period was a back-and-forth affair, with neither team managing to accumulate much sustained momentum. Around six minutes in, Juuso Pärssinen drew a tripping penalty, and the Preds went to the power play. Nino Niederreiter quickly scored to give the Preds the lead. Cody Glass took a penalty of his own a few moments later, but the Preds were able to kill it off.

The teams traded looks as well as penalties, but the first period ended with no further score.

Nashville started the second period strong, with a goal at 1:28 from Mikael Granlund, but quickly ran into a reversal of fortune. The Sharks made a strong offensive push and, worse, Pärssinen was injured in a collision and was slow to get off the ice, before eventually heading down the tunnel. The refs reviewed a potential five-minute major penalty for the injury to Pärssinen, then negated it.

Erik Karlsson took a hooking penalty at 8:05 of the second, but the only goal of the Preds’ power play was scored shorthanded by Nico Sturm to cut the Preds’ lead to one. Karlsson himself got the puck on a breakaway as he left the box, but hit the crossbar instead of the back of the net.

With a tie narrowly averted, the Preds got their feet back under them and went back on the attack. Granlund eventually scored his second of the period to make it 3-1 Preds at 13:34. Kevin Gravel took a penalty with around two minutes left in the period, but Yakov Trenin tallied a shorthanded goal of his own at 19:31.

While the Preds were able to kill the remaining five seconds of the penalty after intermission, Martin Kaut scored 45 seconds after it expired to make it 4-2 Preds. Tanner Jeannot then boarded Alexander Barabanov, but, perhaps because there was no obvious injury on the play, it was immediately called as a simple two-minute minor.

Nashville was able to kill the penalty, but Mattias Ekholm then took one of his own. In the dying seconds of the penalty kill, Granlund tried for the hat trick, but James Riemer was able to make the save. Once the teams returned to even strength, though, Niederreiter scored off a give-and-go play with Matt Duchene to make it 5-2.

Colton Sissons drew a roughing penalty with a little under seven minutes remaining, and Tommy Novak made scoring a power-play goal look easy. 6-2 Preds. A four-on-four was called with just under three minutes left as Nino Niederreiter hit Mario Ferraro from behind and Matt Benning (with the Sharks now) whacked him with his stick in retaliation.

The teams returned to even strength, but almost immediately Ryan McDonagh hooked Ferraro, who was having a rough few minutes. The Sharks had a power play for the last 48 seconds of the game, but were unable to generate anything.

Once again, the biggest story of the night was not the score, but an injury. Pärssinen, who’s been one of the brightest points in this season—as a talented young player the team can hope to keep around and as someone who’s been improving and contributing at both ends of the ice—did not return after going down the tunnel. Hopefully he makes a full and quick recovery.