The San Jose Sharks pummeled the Nashville Predators on Thursday, 5-0, to advance to the NHL Western Conference Finals.
SAN JOSE - The San Jose Sharks turned in their most dominating performance of the playoffs on Thursday night, routing Nashville 5-0 in the decisive seventh game of their second round series.
The SAP Center was buzzing even before the opening drop, as the Sharks were riding a four-game home winning streak dating back to Game Four of the Los Angeles Kings series. When Martin Jones led his team through the famous shark head amidst 19,000 screaming fans, the electricity was sensational. San Jose had arrived.
The Sharks had outscored Nashville 13-5 combined in their previous three home games, and struck first midway through the opening frame on the power play. Captain Joe Pavelski scored his ninth goal of the playoffs on a tic-tac-toe play that started above the circle with Joe Thornton, went below the goal line to Patrick Marleau, and finished with a one-timer in the slot. It was a quintessential expression of a Sharks power play unit clicking on all cylinders.
When Joel Ward scored later in the first period to give the Sharks a cushion, they could have called the game then. Logan Couture tacked on a goal before fans had returned to their seats in the second period, and Thornton did the same in the third. Marleau joined in to boost the lead to 5-0, and Jones stopped 12 Nashville shots in the third.
For the Sharks, the performance was the byproduct of frustrating overtime road losses that extended the series longer than San Jose had planned. In Game Four, a would-be Pavelski goal in the first OT period was waved off due to goalie interference. In Game Six, the Sharks blew a quick 2-0 lead. There would be no guesswork or anxiety in Game Seven, and San Jose’s core group made sure of it.