NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Devin Setoguchi and the San Jose Sharks managed to grind out a quality road win Monday night. That kind of toughness is a big reason they lead the NHL with 33 points.
Setoguchi had a power-play goal and an assist to help San Jose beat the Nashville Predators 4-1 in a physical game.
“The emotions swung all over the place,” Sharks coach Todd McClellan said. “I think both teams had an element of fatigue early. We were kind of feeling our way through each other. As time wore on it got more physical, and a little more emotional.”
Jody Shelley, Tomas Plihal and Patrick Marleau also scored for San Jose, which jumped to a 2-0 lead with two goals in a span of 1 1/2 minutes in the first period.
David Legwand scored for the Predators, who watched Jason Arnott leave on a stretcher after a scary collision late in the first period.
San Jose’s Joe Pavelski and Arnott collided and crashed into the net as they both were charging toward the puck. Arnott was pushed headfirst into Sharks goalie Brian Boucher and was carried off after lying motionless on the ice for several minutes. He was taken to the hospital as a precaution.
“Arnott is going to be fine,” Predators coach Barry Trotz said. “He was released from the hospital and came back to the arena to change clothes before going home. It looks like it is just a neck strain.”
Trotz said Arnott might miss Tuesday’s practice due to soreness, but that he expected him to be ready for Friday night’s game at Tampa Bay.
“It was a bang-bang play,” Trotz said. “Arnott was driving the net at a 45-degree angle. Pavelski was going in a straight line. He was reaching a little. He tried to grab Arnott’s arm and tried to push and spin him away. There was a lot of impact.”
The game was physical on many levels. San Jose players Joe Thornton and Brad Staubitz were given five-minute majors for fighting, and Shelley was whistled for two fighting majors.
Nashville’s Greg deVries, not known for dropping the gloves, earned two fighting majors. Jordin Tootoo and Scott Nichol each had a fighting major.
“I think it was perfect,” Nichol said. “I think we could have had a few more. That’s just the way it is when you grind it out and battle for every inch of the ice.
“Sometimes the inch isn’t there so you want to try to go through the other guy. It is a physical sport. Sometimes things like this happen. We are all going to stand up for each other.”
The loss ended a three-game winning streak for the Predators, who were playing at home for the first time since Nov. 1. It was the third straight win for San Jose (16-3-1-0).
“There were a lot of penalties both ways. There did not seem to be a lot of flow and excitement up and down,” McClellan said.
Setoguchi gave San Jose a 1-0 lead at 14:38 in the first period, beating Dan Ellis with a wrist shot. He has six goals and eight assists in his last 10 games.
“I was fortunate to get the first goal,” Setoguchi said. “You’ve got to contribute when you are playing with guys like Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. They are two of the best players in the league. You have to make sure you go out and play hard every game.”
Shelley scored at 16:05. Rob Blake took a slapshot from just inside the blue line that ended up in traffic in front of the net. Shelley was able to tap it past Ellis from close range.
San Jose added two more in the second. Plihal fired a wrist shot from above the left circle that beat Ellis to his stick side and Marleau added a rebound goal.
Legwand ruined Boucher’s shutout bid at the 9:27 in the third period. He skated into the slot on a breakaway and converted the rebound when his first shot bounced off Boucher.
“We have to keep going,” Setoguchi said. “We could have executed better and stayed out of the penalty box more, but we still played a great road game. We got the first couple of goals and never looked back from there.”
Notes: Shelley’s goal was his first since March 3 against Montreal. … The clock stopped with 2.4 seconds left in the first when Arnott was injured. Players cleared the benches for intermission and played the final 2.4 seconds at the end of the break. … The Predators are 5-2-0 at home this season.