Friday, March 16, 2012

Preds lose shootout, Gaustad in San Jose

The San Jose Sharks were able to get a 2-1 shootout victory over the Nashville Predators on Thursday night at HP Pavilion. However, Nashville lost more than just the game.

In the third period, Paul Gaustad landed awkwardly on his wrist after being shoved from behind. He left the game with an upper-body injury and did not return. If he's out for any extended period of time, it could be a huge loss for the Predators.

As for the game itself, it was a goaltending duel. San Jose had the advantage in scoring chances, but Pekka Rinne was able to keep the Predators in the game. The Sharks had a 35-33 shot advantage, but had a lot of quality scoring chances. Both Rinne and Antii Niemi were sensational in net.

Nashville got on the board in the first period when Patric Hornqvist scored one of the easiest power play goals of his career. Usually, Hornqvist scores by redirecting a puck or from the bottom of a pile. This time, he had all kinds of time and space to force the puck past Niemi. Mike Fisher made a great pass to Hornqvist, who was standing all alone in front of the net. The Sharks left him standing there and Hornqvist made them pay.

The Predators would hold on to the 1-0 lead until 55 seconds into the third period. Joe Thornton was able to corral a rebound on the doorstep and put the puck past Rinne for the power play goal.

In the overtime period, both teams had a few good chances to come away with the win. However, as had been the case for the entire game, both goalies came up big. Neither team was able to convert in the overtime period, and the game went to a shootout.

Ryan Clowe scored the lone goal in the shootout to give the Sharks a much-needed victory. With the point gained, Nashville reached the 90-point mark on the season. Last season, the Predators didn't reach the 90-point mark until March 25.

Nashville will take on the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night at Staples Center. Gaustad will likely be out for Saturday night's game, so other players will have to step up for Nashville in the faceoff circle.

Hockey Night in Nashville's 3 Stars of the game:
1. Pekka Rinne(NSH)
2. Antii Niemi(SJS)
3. Ryan Clowe(SJS)

Official 3 Stars:
1. Antii Niemi(SJS)
2. Pekka Rinne(NSH)
3. Justin Braun(SJS)

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