San Jose Sharks Offense Delivers vs. Nashville Predators

The San Jose Sharks will enter the 2016-17 NHL season with high expectations. John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
The San Jose Sharks will enter the 2016-17 NHL season with high expectations. John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports /

The previously-absent San Jose Sharks offense awoke in time to lead the team to victory over the Nashville Predators Saturday, Oct. 29…

The San Jose Sharks offense has been absent in seven of the first eight games of the 2016-17 NHL season. They scored three goals against a manned net in a victory for the first time Saturday, Oct. 29.

San Jose continued its strong defensive play at home. It appears to have turned around the home-ice difficulties of the last two seasons. The Nashville Predators were the fourth visitor in four games at the SAP Center to score just one goal.

That will do well for the Sharks returning to home dominance. However, scoring more than two goals is also important.

Related Story: San Jose Sharks Prediction Seven: SAP Center

San Jose Sharks Offense Arrives

San Jose came into the game without a 5-on-5 goal in the last 10 periods. Joonas Donskoi ended that with a goal late in the first, firing in a loose puck Logan Couture kept alive.

That was the end of the scoring in three of the previous four games at SAP Center. However, this time captain Joe Pavelski added to the lead on the power play in the first three minutes after intermission. The goal was officially unassisted after he won a puck battle after a Brent Burns shot off the back boards was centered off Pekka Rinne.

The Sharks were not done. It took just 17 seconds for the oft-maligned Micheal Haley to get his second assist in four games—all wins. He pushed a David Schlemko dump-in pass in front of the net. Tommy Wingels backhanded a shot before the Rinne could get across to that side for his first goal of the 2016-17 NHL season.

Nashville Predators Comeback Attempt

Jan 24, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks center Joe Pavelski (8) looks on between plays against the Los Angeles Kings during the second period at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Pavelski was in on two of four scores by the San Jose Sharks offense. Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /

Nashville started a comeback before intermission, registering 13 of the game’s last 19 shots. San Jose goalie Martin Jones lost the shutout in the last minute of the second period. Roman Josi fed the puck to Ryan Ellis for a shot James Neal tipped through a partial screen.

However, the Predators did not score again. Eventually, Pavelski advanced a puck from Tomas Hertl to Joe Thornton with Rinne pulled. The 13th-best assist man in NHL history got the empty-net goal with 80 seconds left when Filip Forsberg tripped him.

The 4-1 final was the first win of three or more goals by the Sharks so far this 2016-17 NHL season. They raised their record to 5-3-0.

Statistical Analysis

San Jose held a multi-goal lead for 37:13, leading to the event summary balancing out. Nashville held a slim edge in shots (28-27) and a bigger one in attempts (73-58) despite winning no possession stats (29-35 faceoffs, 19-19 giveaways and 5-14 takeaways).

The Predators had a 36-27 edge in hits. They had two of the three minor penalties in the game and allowed the only score on special teams.

The difference in the game was blocked shots. The Sharks held a 26-14 edge, representing a much better percentage of attempts blocked (35.6 to 24.1 percent) and shots allowed per block (1.08 vs. 1.93).

Nashville has now lost its last five trips to the SAP Center including the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs. San Jose travels for one game—Tuesday at the Arizona Coyotes—before returning to host the Calgary Flames Thursday.