SAN JOSE Joe Thornton tied the game in the third period and Ryane Clowe scored the only goal in the shootout, as the Sharks beat the Nashville Predators on Thursday night at HP Pavilion, 2-1.
After a strong second period yielded nothing, the Sharks finally tied the game early in the third on a power play, as David Legwands interference penalty late in the second period carried over.
San Jose was the beneficiary of a fortunate bounce on the goal. Thorntons pass back to Dan Boyle was behind the defenseman, but Boyle eventually got the shot on net. It deflected right back to the Sharks captain for an easy tap-in at the 55-second mark.
After a scoreless overtime, Clowe converted on San Jose's third shootout attempt, while Niemi stopped Legwand to give the Sharks a much-needed two points.
The Sharks (35-25-10, 80 points) remain in ninth place in the Western Conference.
The Sharks had the better of the chances in overtime. A pair Patrick Marleau blasts were stopped by Pekka Rinne early in the extra frame, and the lanky goaltender sprawled out to stop Boyle charging in alone after the Sharks defenseman danced around Ryan Suter at 2:55. San Jose was awarded a power play with 3.9 seconds left, and Patrick Marleau nearly won it with a backhanded after an offensive zone faceoff win by Thornton.
Special teams was the difference as the Predators jumped out to a 1-0 lead, and held onto that lead through two periods.
After a weak effort behind the boards by Brent Burns, the Predators kept control of the puck in the offensive zone while Marc-Edouard Vlasic was off on a high-sticking minor. Patric Hornqvist was left all alone at the side of the net, took a pass from Mike Fisher, and had time to cut in front of the net and deposit it past Antti Niemi at 13:18.
The Sharks outshot the Predators 13-7 over the first 20 minutes, but it was Nashville that looked like the more tenacious team on the forecheck and along the boards.
That changed in the second, but still the Sharks could not solve Rinne.
TJ Galiardis blast about three minutes into the second went just wide, but Rinne gloved Benn Ferrieros blast from the circle after a nice drop pass from Justin Braun a little later.
Marty Havlat, making his return to action after a three-month absence due to a partially torn hamstring, had the best chance of all. Clowes pass found Havlat cutting through the slot all alone, and although Havlat couldnt find the handle on the puck right away, stayed with it and got a shot off. A sprawled out Rinne managed to get just enough of it with his glove hand, though, and it remained 1-0 with 5:41 to go.
Less than a minute later, Rinne got just enough of a Marleau wrist shot from the circle and it trickled just wide.
Havlat and Rinne were in the middle of a scrum less than two minutes later. After Havlat appeared to inadvertently trip the Nashville goalie, Preds newcomer Paul Gaustad shoved him back towards the crease. Rinne and Havlat wreslted after that, and a large pileup resulted in coincidental minors to Havlat and Gaustad. The Predators went to the power play, though, as Daniel Winnik was called for a trip just before the brouhaha.
Nashville didnt convert, though, and Legwards interference penalty at 19:49 gave San Jose a power play to start the third, which it capitalized on with Thorntons marker.
Niemi finished with 32 saves, including a pad stop on Legwand, who was breaking in alone with 12:20 to go in the third and the score still 1-1. It was the Sharks goaltenders ninth straight start.