SAN JOSE, Calif. – Scott Nichol took care of the small details that led to a big victory for the San Jose Sharks.
Dan Boyle scored with a minute left in the third period to lift the Sharks to a 4-3 victory over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night.
“We deserved a point and all we need is a save from the goalie and we didn’t get it,” Predators goaltender Dan Ellis said. “We’re playing the best team in the league and we played pretty well for the most part.”
Nichol, the third line centre and former Predators player, sparked a third-period rally by hustling down the ice to save an icing call. He intercepted Ellis’ outlet pass, stayed on the ice despite having the wind knocked out of him, and drew the only Nashville penalty of the night.
“That’s why Scott Nichol is here,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. “He does a lot of the little things that don’t show up on the stats page. He gives you everything he has every time out.”
Joe Pavelski, Jamie McGinn and Devin Setoguchi also scored for the Sharks, 6-0-1 at home. Thomas Greiss made 23 saves for his second win in three games.
Michael Santorelli, Marcel Goc and Patric Hornqvist scored for the Predators, who lost for just the second time in six games. Ellis stopped 25 shots.
Pavelski has scored in two straight games after returning from an injury that caused him to miss 15 games.
Patrick Marleau created the scoring opportunity when he took the puck behind the net and found Pavelski open for a 1-on-1 with Ellis midway through the first period.
The Predators tied it with 1:40 left in the first. Santorelli knocked the puck out of the air in the crease, outfought Sharks forward Manny Malhotra, and slipped a shot into the net. Greiss was on the ice after blocking Martin Erat’s shot attempt.
The Sharks regained the lead early in the second period on McGinn’s goal. Marc-Edouard Vlasic took a long shot that deflected off Brad Staubitz’s stick. McGinn settled in and released a shot from the left side.
“They frustrated us early and got the puck behind the defence,” Nichol said. “We got some timely goals from good players. We kind of grunted this one out. We’re going to have games like this and it’s a good lesson.”
Goc, formerly of the Sharks, scored his first goal of the season and recorded his first point in nine games. He tied the game with 5:11 left in the second period after taking a crossing pass from Jordin Tootoo.
“It was good to get that first one out of the way,” Goc said. “I think we played pretty well for the most part, but after we scored in the third period we sat back a little bit and gave them too many chances.”
Nashville took a 3-2 lead when Hornqvist redirected Dan Hamhuis’ shot midway through the third period.
“We didn’t play the way we wanted to play,” Setoguchi said. “We stressed putting the puck on goal and we didn’t do that until the last 10 minutes. They scored to go up 3-2 and it kind of lit a fire under us. We told ourselves that we could lose this if we don’t wake up.”
Setoguchi, in the lineup for the first time in seven games, tied it 3-3 with 6:34 left when he steered Boyle’s shot over Ellis’ right shoulder.
NOTES: The Sharks assigned F Torrey Mitchell to AHL Worcester for a conditioning assignment. … Predators D Shea Weber returned to the lineup after missing two games because of a foot injury. … Marleau has 34 points in 39 games against Nashville. … Goc recorded his first points in nine games. … The Predators went 53 minutes, 50 seconds without drawing a penalty. … Sharks C Joe Thornton had a four-game point streak snapped.