The San Jose Sharks dropped the perfect chance to take the top spot of the Western Conference last night. They lost at home the Nashville Predators, 2-4, and failed to capitalize Calgary’s loss in Winnipeg.
Sharks lost for the second time in a row, frustrating both themselves and the fans who were eager to see their favorite team taking the No.1 seed in the West and the Pacific Division from the big rivals.
“We had some chances there at the end but just couldn’t find the net to tie it up. Obviously, we want first place, and it’s disappointing when you can’t find a way to win,” said Martin Jones, Sharks’ goalie.
It was evident right from the start that this contest didn’t open well for the hosts. After just 67 seconds, Jones had to take the puck out of his net.
Colton Sissons was the executor after Craig Smith’s assist. The Predators took one fast counter-attack, outnumbering San Jose’s defense.
The first period entered a chaotic rhythm after that. We saw five penalties, two of them major ones, because of fighting. Micheal Haley and Wayne Simmonds decided to check their strength in one old-fashioned battle and that is why they had to go out and cool off for a little while.
This scenario was more suitable for guests who manage to hold out until the end of the first period.
But the home team leveled the score with 4:09 into the second sequence. It was Timo Meier who ignited the fans at the SAP Center, but that didn’t last too long.
Viktor Arvidsson scored first of his two goals today, just 22 seconds after Meier’s equalizer.
The 25-year old from Sweden was excellent today, and he really made the difference up front. With these two goals, he reached 31 this season, after just 49 matches, missing 21 of them because of a broken thumb.
After the match Predators’ right wing didn’t hide happiness because of his individual contribution.
It’s a crazy year,” said Arvidsson. “An injury and stuff like that. I think I started good and got going pretty good at the beginning of the year, then got injured. Then it’s just been going really good.”
Viktor Arvidsson will play max of 58 games this season and he's got 30 goals.
Players with 30+ goals in fewer than 60 games post '05 lockout:
Alex Ovechkin 2012-13
Sidney Crosby 2010-11
Marian Gaborik 2006-07
Rick Nash 2005-06
— Vin Masi (@VinMasi) March 17, 2019
But his team had a lot to work before beating the hosts. With some 2:24 before the end of the period, veteran Joe Thornton tied the game once more.
It gave hope to Sharks that they can finally turn the table in this event.
However, Nashville players had plans of their own, and didn’t want to let valuable points stay in California.
Filip Forsberg decided the game with a goal after 7:02 into the final period. After his wraparound, the puck hit the tip of Tim Heed’s stick and unfortunately entered his own net.
Until the end of the game, Arvidsson netted once more, with 65 second until the end, with Sharks’ net being empty.
After the match, he mentioned the fact that his team had something to play for.
“They played for something too, for clinching, and we needed this one. We really had to win this one to hang on in the race for the Central. I think we played a great game,” Arvidsson said.
The Predators (41-27-5) are chasing the first place in the Central division. Right now, Nashville is one point behind the Winnipeg, but with two games more played than the Jets. They also have to watch out from the St. Louis Blues who are third with six points fewer, but with two games in hand also.
— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) March 17, 2019
So, the visitors needed this win desperately. They now have two games at home, against the Maple Leafs and Penguins, before heading to Winnipeg for the final showdown against the leaders of the division.
Meanwhile, the Sharks (43-21-8) meet at home with the Golden Knights and then go to LA to play against the Kings, and Ducks in Anaheim.
On 1st of April they have a game with the Flames at home, and they need to start winning in order to have a chance to dethrone them in a direct clash.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.