Power play clicks in Sharks' 2-1 win over Nashville
Published: Saturday, March 2, 2013 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, March 2, 2013 at 10:53 p.m.
SAN JOSE — A long dormant Sharks power play came to life Saturday night, and the Sharks skated away with a 2-1 victory over the Nashville Predators.
It was only the second regulation win for San Jose in the past 15 games and maybe a sign that March will not be as cruel as February.
Power-play goals by Dan Boyle and Joe Pavelski provided just enough offense as goalie Antti Niemi made 18 saves, giving up only a late short-handed goal to Gabriel Bourque on a breakaway.
Overshadowed by San Jose’s overall misery in February was a power play that went a meager 2-for-47 the entire month.
But with Nashville defenseman Kevin Klein in the penalty box for slashing Logan Couture, San Jose took a 1-0 lead at 17:47 of the first period when Boyle’s one-timer from the blue line beat Predators goalie Pekka Rinne.
Pavelski provided a screen on that shot, but at 9:12 of the second period, it was Pavelski who pounced on a loose puck to the side of the net before Nashville could clear it, and the Sharks had a 2-0 lead. That time it was Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis in the box for tripping Andrew Desjardins.
The pressure had been on Sharks defensemen to get more shots on net and Boyle, an offensive-minded player who didn’t have any in the previous game against the Detroit Red Wings, had talked about how difficult it has been lately for shots to get through.
“Teams are doing a much better job of blocking shots,” Boyle said before Saturday night’s game. “I compare myself to when I first started playing — I wouldn’t say it was easy, but it was certainly not as difficult as it is today.”
Against Nashville, however, Boyle’s shot made it all the way to the back of the net for his third goal of the season and first since the second game of the season.
The Sharks salvaged one game in their season series against the Predators, having lost 1-0 in a shootout at HP Pavilion on Feb. 2 and 2-1 in overtime in Nashville on Feb. 12.
Coach Todd McLellan once again shuffled his lines around, hoping to spark an offense that managed only 15 goals while going 2-6-4 in February.
He kept his top line of Logan Couture, Joe Thornton and Marty Havlat intact, but moved Patrick Marleau back to center on the second line between Pavelski and Tim Kennedy.
The left a third line of Ryane Clowe, Scott Gomez and James Sheppard as Michal Handzus dropped to the fourth line between Andrew Desjardins and Adam Burish.
Thornton earned his 1,100th NHL career point with an assist on Pavelski’s goal. That puts Thornton 56th on the NHL all-time list for career scoring.
Havlat left the game late in the second period and did not return. Nashville right wing Brandon Yip suffered an upper body injury three minutes into the first period and did not return.
Defenseman Jason Demers and forward TJ Galiardi were healthy scratches for the Sharks. Tommy Wingels missed his third game with what the Sharks described as general body soreness.
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