(The Sports Xchange) - There was no third-period explosion from the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday, only resolute play by the desperate Nashville Predators.
Getting 26 saves from goaltender Pekka Rinne and clutch play from most of their big guns, Nashville earned their first win in the best-of-seven Western Conference semi-finals with a 4-1 verdict at Bridgestone Arena.
San Jose still lead the series 2-1, but the Predators can square things up if they win Game 4 on Thursday.
Nashville gave themselves that chance by overcoming an early deficit and bottling up the Sharks, who scored seven third-period goals in 5-2 and 3-2 wins in Game 1 and 2 over the weekend.
This time Nashville did the third-period damage.
Colin Wilson, who scored only six regular season goals, made it 3-1 on a rebound tally at 6:55. Filip Forsberg iced it with the Predators’ second power-play marker of the game at 15:49.
Goalie Martin Jones finished with 21 saves for San Jose, who lost for the first time on the road in the playoffs.
San Jose initiated the scoring at 13:13 of the first period when Patrick Marleau split defensemen Shea Weber and Roman Josi, then took advantage of an ill-fated attempt to clear the puck by Rinne for a tap-in into an empty net.
Nashville tied it at 5:11 of the second period during a four-minute power play. Mattias Ekholm circled into the middle of the offensive zone and found James Neal in the right faceoff circle for a one-timer, Neal’s third goal of the playoffs.
Weber gave the Predators their first lead during a four-on-four sequence, bombing a one-timer past Jones at 14:44 for his third playoff goal. It was his 13th career playoff marker, tying David Legwand for the franchise record.
Editing by Peter Rutherford