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Day Displays Some Clutch Play

Posted by Webster Washington on 5/4/2016 4:17:43 AM

The Nashville Predators were aching for a little home-ice love and special-teams respect. They got both Tuesday night in a 4-1 win over the San Jose Sharks in Game 3 of their second-round playoff series. The Preds seek to even the series Thursday night back at home.

The Series so Far

The first two games of the series featured wild third periods with the Sharks pounding out five goals in the final frame of a 5-2 Game 1 win, and getting two in the last period to take a 3-2 triumph. And San Jose had dominated on the power play, scoring three times in five chances.

On Tuesday, it was a different story, as Nashville killed off six penalties and got two power play goals of their own. Preds goalkeeper Pekka Rinne, who had had his fair share of heroics other than the late-game problems, was solid all night, getting 26 saves. Nashville's Filip Forsberg, who was shut out in the first two games, also broke the ice by by banking one off the crossbar and in for the 4-1 lead with around four minutes left in the game.

Nashville actually had to come from behind in the game after Patrick Marleau scored with about seven minutes left in the first when Rinne came way out of goal to defend him on a rush. But James Neal tied it with a bad-angle shot on a power play early in the second period, and the Preds maintained the momentum from there, feeding off the invigorated home crowd. Shea Weber cranked one from the middle to make it 2-1 later in the period, and Colin Wilson shot in a rebound to make it 3-1 with about 13 minutes left in the third.

From here ...

These teams are much more evenly matched than the first two games would indicate. But the Predators must display the same focus in the third period and stay out of the penalty box to remain alive in the series. A home win Thursday would turn things around heading back to the West Coast. Otherwise, the Sharks stand a good chance of clinching the series out there. Look for the Predators to hold serve at home, but betting odds of more than -120 wouldn't be wise investing. The Sharks don't want to drag this thing out.

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