Sharks strike late to open series with win over Predators

Sat Apr 30, 2016 1:42am EDT
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SAN JOSE (The Sports Xchange) - Joel Ward's tiebreaking goal at 11:49 of the third enabled the San Jose Sharks to rally for a 5-2 win over the Nashville Predators on Friday night.

Ward's fourth career game-winning goal in the playoffs enabled San Jose to take a 1-0 lead in its best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series against the Predators.

Game 2 is Sunday at SAP Center.

Ward took a lead pass from rookie Joonas Donskoi to break in alone after the Sharks forced a turnover at center. Ward drove in close to Pekka Rinne, waited for the Nashville goalie to commit, then slid behind on the forehand before tucking the puck over the goal line on the backhand.

San Jose goalie Martin Jones stopped 29 of 31 shots during the win.

Logan Couture capped the third-period comeback with his second goal of the postseason, a power-play strike at 15:40 just 19 seconds into the advantage when he redirected a Joe Pavelski feed past Rinne.

Couture scored again at 18:31 into an empty net just 20 seconds after Nashville's Ryan Johansen redirected a shot by defenseman Roman Josi over Jones with an extra skater to cut the margin to one goal.

San Jose's Tommy Wingels also scored into an empty net at 19:10 after blocking a shot by Predators defenseman Shea Weber.

The Sharks gained the equalizer early in the third period as Tomas Hertl's power-play goal at 2:37 found a way under the left catching glove of Rinne and just inside the near post.   Continued...

Apr 29, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA;  San Jose Sharks center Chris Tierney (50) shoots the puck as Nashville Predators defenseman Barret Jackman (5) and goalie Pekka Rinne (35) defend in the second period in game one of the second round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports