The Nashville Predators got a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night thanks to a three-goal second period for the Predators. Roman Josi’s goal, which was the third goal for the Predators in the second period, proved to be the game-winning tally.
Nashville has been playing pretty good hockey lately, but they haven’t been getting rewarded for it. They just got back from a road trip that left them win-less in three games, collecting a point apiece against Boston and Florida before losing in regulation to the Carolina Hurricanes. The Predators played well in those games but weren’t rewarded with a victory. They played well against San Jose on Tuesday night and got rewarded with a win.
“I think even on the road we played some good games. We played some good hockey,” said Predators defenseman Roman Josi. “I thought we deserved a little better than only those two points, and we’re happy to get a win tonight.”
The Predators were able to build a lead, which has been key for them all season. Nashville was able to jump out to a 3-1 lead in the second period, which allowed them to play a strong defensive game the rest of the way to hang on for a 3-2 win. The Predators seem to be very comfortable once they jump out to the lead.
“We’re definitely more comfortable having the lead,” Josi said. “That’s always our goal before the game. We want to have a strong start and get the first one. We’re definitely playing better with the lead. We do a good job, and [Marek Mazanec] played great in net. He had a lot of big saves. It was a good win for us.”
Nashville got their first goal of the game in the second period on a great shot by David Legwand. He fired a wrist shot high to the stick side on San Jose goaltender Antti Niemi and beat him to give the Predators a 1-0 lead. Mattias Ekholm took a Delay of Game penalty that allowed Joe Pavelski to tie the game at one on the power play. However, Ekholm came back just 27 seconds later and scored his first NHL goal to give the Predators the lead once again.
“It’s always a great moment to get your first goal, and it was a nice one too. He was really strong around the net, and it was a nice backhand. We were all happy for him to get his first one,” Josi said.
After that, Josi went to work. He activated himself in the offensive zone and found himself with the puck down low. Josi took the puck around the net and came back out to the faceoff circle and fired a shot that beat Niemi. Colin Wilson was around the net and appeared to be guided into Niemi by San Jose defender Marc-Edouard Vlasic. That allowed Josi to shoot the puck into an essentially wide open net.
“I think [Weber] shot it and it was kind of a bouncing puck, and I just went down and went around. I just shot it. I didn’t see the net, and I guess [Wilson] kind of fell on the goalie and it was an empty net then,” Josi said.
That goal didn’t come without controversy. The Sharks were very upset that Wilson wasn’t called for goaltender interference on that play.
“That’s a blown call,” said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan. “We’ve played 44 games. I go back to the Buffalo blown call in overtime, blown call in Winnipeg, the one in Minnesota and the one tonight. That’s one in every 11 games. I understand mistakes because I make a lot of them behind the bench, but when you get an explanation from a group of people and it didn’t happen, it’s disappointing. There is also protocol to follow in our league, which is that you get together and you discuss it, and that didn’t happen either.”
Patrick Marleau scored for the Sharks late in the third period to bring San Jose back within one goal, but that was as close as they got. The Predators held on for the win, and Josi’s controversial goal proved to be the difference in the game.
Nashville will host the red hot Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night.