After winning their first two games at home, the San Jose Sharks struggled in Game 3 against the Nashville Predators, despite recording a 28-10-3 road record during the regular season.
The Sharks had a chance to take a 3-0 series lead, but were unable to keep the momentum going. Keep in mind they weren’t dominant and had a lot of turnovers in Game 2.
The Predators were two games behind a series for the first time in the playoffs. They knew that Game 3 would be an essential game for them to build on if they could win.
The NHL’s best road team started off well with an early goal, but the Predators ferociously responded with four unanswered scores.
A defensive play by the Sharks opened the scoring at 13:13 of the first. Roman Josi tried to get the puck to the net, but it was three feet in the air. Marc Edouard Vlasic knocked it down, then Patrick Marleau slid through the defense and maneuvered past Pekka Rinne, guiding the puck into the empty net to give San Jose an early 1-0 lead.
On a Predators power play, James Neal wired a slap shot top-shelf past the glove of Martin Jones, tying the game at 1-1. Mattias Elkholm and Ryan Johansen contribued to Neal’s third playoff goal 5:11 into the second.
An unassisted goal by Shea Weber put the Predators ahead 2-1 at 14:44. Weber scored his third playoff goal by blasting a major slap shot past the glove of Jones.
Mike Fisher played the puck from the back, then Colin Wilson took a rebound off the boards and slammed it in off the post past Jones, extending the Predators’ lead to 3-1 just 6:55 into the third.
Nashville capitalized on another power play late in the third. Filip Forsberg snapped a perfect wrist shot off the crossbar and in past the glove of Jones, expanding the Predators’ lead to 4-1 at 15:49.
The Predators took Game 3 with a 4-1 victory over the Sharks. Pekka Rinne made 26 saves for Nashville. Martin Jones made 21 saves for San Jose.
It’s clear that mistakes are starting to take a toll on the visiting team. The Sharks went 0-for-4 with the man advantage.
San Jose lost their first road game of the playoffs, but they continue to lead the best-of-seven series 2-1.
“We expect a battle every night,” Sharks captain Joe Pavelski told Predators correspondent Robby Stanley. “You just compete, and they did that and they’ve done that the first couple of games too. It’s no different. It’s a good team over there, it really is. We’ll be better in a few areas, and it’s going to be another tough game.”
Scratched: Dainius Zubrus, Micheal Haley, Dylan DeMelo, Matt Tennyson
Scratched: Eric Nystrom, Austin Watson, Petter Granberg
Injured: Craig Smith (lower body), Cody Bass (lower body), Gabriel Bourque (upper body)
Up Next: Both teams will face each other again in Game 4 on Thursday night. Puck drop is scheduled for 8:00 pm CT on CNBC, TVA and RSN.