NASHVILLE – The Nashville Predators thought they gave away two points to the Sharks a week ago in San Jose. They refused to make the same mistake on their own ice.
Joel Ward and David Legwand each had a goal and two assists, and the Predators beat the Sharks 4-3 Tuesday night for their third straight win and seventh in nine games.
“We kind of came up short there,” Ward said of that 4-3 loss in San Jose in which the Sharks scored the winning goal with a minute to go. “We were really disappointed there. … A little bit of revenge I guess you could say. We were kind of hungry to play tonight and try to get two points off them.”
Jerred Smithson had a goal and Ryan Suter had two assists for Nashville, which was coming off a 2-0 win over Montreal in which the Predators fired off a franchise-record 55 shots. Putting the puck in the net was no problem against Sharks backup goalie Thomas Greiss, playing his fourth game this season.
The Predators scored two power-play goals against the NHL’s top penalty-killing team. Steve Sullivan scored on the 5-on-3 in the first period, and Ward’s goal came in the second with the man advantage.
Joe Thornton had a goal and an assist, Scott Nichol had a short-handed goal and Patrick Marleau had a goal for San Jose, which lost in regulation for the first time since Oct. 22. The Western Conference-leading Sharks were 9-0-3 since.
“Mentally you know when you’re on the back end of a road trip, and your legs don’t give you everything you want,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan said of his team’s final stop on a three-game road trip. “Mentally you better be sharp, and we weren’t that one bit.”
Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne, who improved to 7-4-0, called the win a good confidence boost with the New Jersey Devils visiting Thursday night.
“We know we can play against anybody in this league,” he said.
The Predators kept this game from being that close by starting the night shooting just as they did against Montreal, and they outshot San Jose 14-9 in the first period. Sullivan scored his fifth 28 seconds into a 5-on-3 advantage in the first period.
“You give them time, and they’re going to pick you apart,” Nichol said of his former teammates.
Nichol scored his first of the season against his former team to tie at 1 apiece at 14:23.
But Smithson’s wrister with 3:54 left in the first put Nashville up to stay.
The Predators padded the lead with two more in the second. Ward tipped in Suter’s shot at the blue line at 8:16 with the man advantage, and Ward passed from the boards to Legwand who fired off a one-timer from the left circle to make it 4-1 at 10:57.
Thornton came off the bench and scored his sixth this season from the left circle off a pass from Frazer McLaren with 41 seconds left in the second.
Marleau tipped in a pass from Thornton with 51 seconds left in regulation.
Nashville coach Barry Trotz wasn’t happy with the clock operator essentially giving the Sharks two free time-outs within the final minute. The clock reset to 0.0 after Marleau’s goal and again after an icing with three seconds left.
“That’s five guys that can do damage on any given night. We have to get it corrected with our off-ice officials, but it’s absolutely unacceptable for a home team,” Trotz said.
NOTES: The Predators now have scored a power-play goal for the eighth time in 11 games. … Nashville improved to 8-0-0 when scoring on the power-play and 7-1-0 when scoring first. … Nashville defenceman Kevin Klein played in his 100th career NHL game. … The Sharks recalled Benn Ferriero, McLaren and Logan Couture from their AHL affiliate, and all three played against Nashville.