Sharks go 2-0 up against Predators

Mon May 2, 2016 12:47am EDT
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(Reuters) - The San Jose Sharks did not win any style points on Sunday but they won a playoff game they probably deserved to lose.

Joe Pavelski's first goal of the series and sixth of the playoffs sparked San Jose to a 3-2 win over the Nashville Predators. Joe Thornton's empty-net goal at 19:04 counted as the game-winner after Nashville's Ryan Johansen scored with 3.2 seconds left.

"We won, and I think in the playoffs you have to win in all kinds of different ways," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said.

The victory gave San Jose a 2-0 lead in its best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series that resumes with Game 3 in Nashville on Tuesday.

"It's tough losing a game like that," Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. "The third period, the effort was there and the energy was there. We played a good hockey game."

San Jose were nursing a 1-0 lead, courtesy of Logan Couture's power-play goal at 18:36 of the second period, until Nashville gained the equalizer at 12:56 of the third when defenseman Mattias Ekholm beat screened Sharks goalie Martin Jones.

A game earmarked for overtime turned when Pavelski chipped in a weakside rebound of a Matt Nieto shot late in the third. Thornton's cross-ice pass to Nieto got Pekka Rinne moving laterally, and the Nashville goalie could not move back in time to deny Pavelski.

"Pavs was able to bury it, he's done it all season," Couture said. "When we needed a big goal they stepped up got it for us."

"You knew it was a game you were going to have to earn," Pavelski added.   Continued...

San Jose Sharks goalie Martin Jones (31) makes a save against the Nashville Predators in the second period in game two of the second round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports