Martin Jones earned first star of the game honors after making 27 saves in the San Jose Sharks’ 4-1 victory over the Nashville Predators at SAP Center on Saturday.
Five months after the Western Conference second round series, the Sharks and Predators met for the first time this season. San Jose eliminated Nashville on May 12th with a 5-0 shutout victory in a do-or-die Game 7.
Joonas Donskoi scored his second goal of the season off a scramble and beat Predators goalie Pekka Rinne five-hole. The Sharks took a 1-0 lead with 4:32 left in the first period.
Donskoi’s goal gave the Sharks their first 5-on-5 goal in 220:37 of game action. Patrick Marleau against the Pittsburgh Penguins was the last one.
The Sharks outshot the Predators 10-8 and led 1-0 after 20 minutes.
San Jose scored two goals in less than 20 seconds to take a 3-0 lead.
First, the Sharks went on the power play after Yannick Weber cross checked Chris Tierney at 2:41 of the second. Brent Burns’ shot bounced off the boards, but Joe Pavelski collected the rebound and banked the puck off of Rinne for an unassisted goal just six seconds later.
Then, Tommy Wingels used his backhand to beat Rinne after the puck deflected off a defender’s skate. Wingels’ first goal of the season extended the Sharks’ lead to 3-0 at 3:04.
With 42 seconds left in the second period, James Neal tipped in Ryan Ellis’ slap shot from the blue line for his first goal of the season to cut the Sharks’ lead to 3-1.
The Sharks led the Predators 3-1 after 40 minutes. They led in shots 21-17.
Joe Thornton was tripped on the way to the empty net, so he was automatically awarded a goal with 1:20 left in regulation.
The Sharks defeated the Predators 4-1 to improve their home record this season to 4-0-0.
Sharks goalie Martin Jones (5-3-0) made 27 saves and was named first star of the game. Rinne (1-4-1) made 26 saves in a losing effort for Nashville.
“It was a lot of things,” Jones said. “Special teams were really good. We came up with some really big blocks, especially early in the third.”
Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer addressed the media this evening.
“We got a big power play goal,” DeBoer said. “We had a chance to get a couple other ones too. And I think special teams were important, the power play goal was important, but I think the game was probably more decided than the 5-on-5 game and the full strength game.”
The Sharks head to Gila River Arena to face the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night. Game is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. PST on NBCS.