The polarizing judge that is the shootout determined the Predators contest in San Jose on Saturday, as Nashville fell in the seventh round of the extra-time decider for a 2-1 final score.
Preds goaltender Juuse Saros extended the shootout on four separate occasions as he denied multiple attempts to end the game and helped keep the event scoreless. But eventually, Timo Meier’s wrister ended the contest. The extra time loss gives Nashville a point in the standings, but puts their current road trip mark to a 1-1-1.
“It was tight, really tight out there, both ways,” Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette said of Saturday’s game. “There wasn’t a lot of room to make plays for us. Speaking for us offensively, we’re trying to press, trying to get pucks to the net, there were a lot of blocked shots and nothing was really clean. There weren’t a lot of pretty looks, and we just had to fight for everything out there tonight.”
Filip Forsberg scored a highlight-reel goal in the second period, but the Sharks tallied 5:22 into the third to force overtime. The Preds had a 4-on-3 power-play chance late in OT, but couldn’t find the winning shot.
“It was two good teams working hard, and for us, it was a lot better effort than last game,” Forsberg said. “[Saros] played great, and then we had chances that we should have should have put in and should have won.”
Goaltender Martin Jones and the Sharks deserve penalty of credit for their spotless penalty kill and stout defensive efforts, but so do the Predators and Saros. A couple nights after a forgettable effort in Denver, the Preds held the Sharks to a single goal across 65 minutes.
“The one thing you always want and look for is just a good, working effort,” Laviolette said. “Lead with work ethic, and I thought the guys did that tonight. Their goalie played pretty well too. It just wasn’t a lot of room, so we had to compete for the space we needed out there. They were working hard, San Jose, and our guys were working hard. That’s what made it a low score and low-event game.”
Still, as aspiring Stanley Cup contenders, the Predators aren’t in the business of collecting moral victories. Their four-game road trip wraps up on Tuesday in Vancouver (9 p.m. CT), one more chance to collect a win before heading home.
“It was a better effort today than Thursday, but we had chances and should have capitalized,” Forsberg said.
Preds defenseman Dante Fabbro left the game late in the second period after taking a puck up high in the face. Fabbro returned to action midway through the third period sporting a full cage, just as he did while skating for Boston University last season.
Miikka Salomaki and Matt Irwin were scratched for the Preds on Saturday night.
Nashville now heads to Vancouver in advanace of a date with the Canucks on Tuesday night.