After a disappointing Game 6, the San Jose Sharks went into the Shark Tank for Game 7 knowing all too well that their season was on the line. The Nashville Predators were ready to pull off perhaps yet another effort to defeat a California team in seven games, having already done so in the first round against the Anaheim Ducks. The results were stunning, as the Sharks looked like they were shot out of a cannon firing on all cylinders and simply outworking a seemingly tired Predators team.
The first goal of the game came 9:02 into the first period on a power play when Joe Pavelski received and one-timed a perfect feed from Patrick Marleau past Pekka Rinne to make it 1-0 Sharks. Then, with just a little over 3 minutes left in the opening frame, Joel Ward chipped the puck past Roman Josi and made a nice move to slip the puck through the five-hole of Rinne to give the Sharks a 2-0 lead.
Though Nashville was not out of it yet, the Sharks’ Logan Couture made sure to keep the damage coming 36 seconds into the second period as he capitalized on a Predators turnover at the blue line. 3-0 Sharks. Couture, who had such a dominant performance in Game 7 on Thursday night, would add two more assists on both Joe Thornton’s and Patrick Marleau’s goals to make it a grand total of 5 goals for Team teal to effectively eliminate the Preds.
Martin Jones was spectacular when he had to be in the third. You’d think maybe Nashville would get a pity goal out of it. He just shut the door all the way through, and was brilliant with just 20 saves on 20 shots throughout the game.
This was the most complete and dominant team performance I’d ever seen from the Sharks. You didn’t know what to think of this team after the horrible Game 6 that they had. You didn’t know how they were going to respond. They had a chance to prove to everyone once again that they are a different team, and they did. Outshooting a team 17-3 in the first period alone is not a fluke. The Sharks held Nashville to just 8 shots on goal, through 40 minutes of play. Eight. Shots. On goal. San Jose themselves had 23 through 40 minutes.
With the win last night, the Sharks are officially in the Western Conference Final for the fourth time in franchise history and will take on the St. Louis Blues on Sunday 5 PM PST at Scottrade Center in St. Louis. I’ll leave the full pregame analysis throughout the series to both Ian Reid and Erik Kuhre (otherwise known as Puckguy14), but here’s my take. It’s going to be a very interesting series. It’s going to be hard fought, and quite honestly if Game 7 is any indication of the Sharks’ best game, I am very, very excited to see what the Sharks bring for us fans in the next couple games.