James Neal (John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
After giving up a first-period goal, the Predators scored four unanswered goals en route to a 4-1 win over the Sharks.
The never-say-die Nashville Predators unleashed a seldom used weapon to beat the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday – their offense.
After giving up a first-period goal, the Predators scored four unanswered goals en route to a 4-1 win over the Sharks. They now trail the series 2-1 with Game 4 at home on Thursday.
The Predators entered the game as the lowest-scoring team remaining in the playoffs, averaging just two goals-per-game. During a tight, low-scoring first-round series against the Anaheim Ducks, the Predators would go into shutdown mode after getting a lead, knowing a goal or two was enough to win.
On Tuesday, they flipped the script. After taking a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes, the Predators kept the pressure on instead of building a wall around goalie Pekka Rinne. In Game 7 against the Ducks last week, the Preds were outshot 15-4 in the third period while clinging to a 2-1 lead. On Tuesday, the Predators outshot the Sharks 12-9 in the third period and scored twice more to seal the victory.
Also coming to life in Game 3 was the Predators power play. They had the worst power-play percentage of teams remaining in the post-season, humming along at a dismal 6.5 percent clip. Compare that to the Sharks’ 30.8 percent (and 60 percent in the series) and it’s not hard to see why the Sharks were leading 2-0.
But in Game 3, the Sharks went 0-for-4 while the Predators took advantage, going to 2-for-5, including this beauty from James Neal that tied the game early in the second.
Everything went right for the Predators. They had only a 76.7 penalty-killing percentage during the post-season but killed off the four Sharks power plays.
It was the first road loss of the playoffs for the Sharks. The Sharks were the best road team in the league during the regular season, going 28-10-3, while playing under .500 at home.
They say you're not out of a playoff series until you lose a game at home. The Predators would appear to be right back in this series.