NASHVILLE – The San Jose Sharks beat the Nashville Predators with a nifty play from three Canadian Olympic forwards.
Dany Heatley, Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton teamed up for a power-play goal at 11:57 of the third period to break a tie in the Sharks’ 4-3 victory night. After Predators defenceman Dan Hamhuis was sent to the penalty box for boarding Sharks defenceman Kent Huskins 200 feet from the Nashville goal at 11:32 of the final period, Heatley, Marleau, and Thornton went to work.
From the right boards, Thornton found Marleau on the goal line to the right of the net where he slid a pass through the crease, where Heatley had an easy tap-in for his second power-play goal of the game and 32nd goal of the season.
“Overall, it was kind of a sloppy game by both sides,” Heatley said. “Fortunately we took advantage of a couple of power plays.”
Brad Staubitz and Rob Blake also scored for San Jose, and Evgeni Nabokov made 35 saves. J.P. Dumont scored twice for the Predators, and Joel Ward added a goal.
“I thought we settled down a little bit in the third period, and we were good enough at that point to win,” San Jose coach Todd McLellan said. “The way it was going, you didn’t know if a one-goal lead was going to be enough.”
Dumont opened the scoring at 1:39 of the first period. Positioned just to the right of the slot, Dumont collected a rebound and slid it by Nabokov.
“We played extremely well tonight,” Dumont said. “We had 40 shots against them and a lot of good scoring chances. It’s a big loss, but we need to take some of the positives out of it.”
Brad Staubitz tied it 53 seconds later when he found the rebound of Huskins’ shot from the left point and beat Pekka Rinne on the stick side.
Nashville regained the lead at 8:47 of the second on Dumont’s power-play goal.
With just a second remaining on a penalty to Staubitz, Cal O’Reilly slid a pass from the left circle to Dumont in the low slot and Dumont scored on a one-timer. The goal gave Dumont his first multigoal game since he scored twice on Nov. 12, 2007, at Columbus.
“J.P. had a lot of determination tonight,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. “Cal O’Reilly did really well, and (Jordin) Tootoo drew two penalties. I was proud of that line tonight.”
San Jose tied it again at 14:57 of the second when Heatley’s wrist shot from the high slot through traffic beat Rinne on the stick side.
Ward converted on a breakaway at 17:35 of the second to give the Predators a 3-2 lead.
“We scored and we were up, and they kept coming back,” Ward said. “It would have been nice to get the momentum swinging our way, but we had a few costly errors and it put us behind.”
Blake’s goal with 24 seconds remaining in the middle frame sent the teams to the second intermission tied at 3.
“We weren’t happy with our game after two periods, but our power-play got us going,” Blake said. “We rely a lot on our goaltender, and he was exceptional again tonight.”
NOTES: Staubitz scored his first goal since Nov. 1 … Huskins played in his 200th career NHL game. … Heatley has points in six consecutive games. … The game was Nashville’s final home game before the Olympic break.