Captain Clutch has done it again.
With just under three minutes remaining in the third period, Joe Pavelski blasted home a rebound past Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne to give the San Jose Sharks a 2-1 lead in an eventual 3-2 San Jose victory over Nashville in Game Two of their best of seven series. The Sharks head to Games 3 and 4 in Music City with a 2-0 series lead.
Much like Game One, the first period was a goaltending duel between Rinne and Martin Jones. Nashville took 10 shots at Jones, while the Sharks had seven of their own on Rinne. In the second period, both teams were caught on separate too many men penalties, but the Predators’ infraction that proved to be costly. The Sharks would capitalize on their power play opportunity when a Brent Burns slap shot was tapped in by Logan Couture for the 1-0 lead. This was yet another goal for a red hot Sharks power play, who’ve now six power play goals in the last 4 games combined.
Midway through the third period the Predators put up a screen in front of Jones, leaving Mattias Ekholm to rip the puck in past the helpless Sharks goalie and tie the game. Colin Wilson and Roman Josi added the helpers on Ekholm’s tally at 12:56 of the third.
Pavelski’s game winner would come off of an attempt from Matt Nieto, whose shot bounced directly off the pad of Rinne and out into the slot. Pavelski would bat the puck in past both Rinne and Preds captain Shea Weber, who attempted to block the puck by sliding in front of the crease. The goal came with just 2:40 remaining, while Nieto and Joe Thornton picked up the assists.
Nashville would pull Rinne for an extra attacker in an attempt to tie the game, but the Sharks would break up the attack and iced the game when Thornton put the puck in the empty net to make it 3-1 with under a minute to go. Nashville would make it a one goal game again with four seconds remaining, thanks to a scramble in front of Jones and chip in from Ryan Johansen. But by then it was too little too late for the Predators, who head home down 2-0 series hole.
Game 3 is Tuesday at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville at 5 p.m.