Predators post 3-0 win to keep Sharks in second place

San Jose Sharks

SAN JOSE – Nashville defeated Anaheim and San Jose on consecutive nights to leave the losing clubs one point apart in the Pacific Division with one week left in the NHL’s regular season.
The Predators turned back the Ducks 5-2 Friday, then topped San Jose 3-0 Saturday at sold-out HP Pavilion.
The Sharks play three games in the next week, starting with the showdown in Anaheim Wednesday. The Ducks, atop the division with 108 points in 77 games, will have drawn even with San Jose in terms of games played after visiting Edmonton Sunday and Vancouver Monday.
San Jose, stalled at 107 points after 79 games, could not erase a three-goal explosion by the Predators in the second period.
The Sharks brought a 24-game streak with at least one goal before running into Nashville and rookie goaltender Carter Hutton.
Hutton, a member of the Sharks’ organization for one year as a netminder in 2010-11 for the Worcester Sharks, turned in his first shut-out of a 40-game NHL career. After playing one game at the end of last season for the Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks, Hutton was pressed into extensive duty for Nashville after starter Pekka Rinne was injured.
After a scoreless first period, Hutton was given all the help he would need when Patric Hornqvist scored the first of his two goals at 3:48 of the second period.
When linemate Matt Cullen powered a shot from close range at San Jose goaltender Antti Niemi, the short rebound was flipped into the netting by winger Hornqvist.
The Predators took a 2-0 edge at the 8:59 mark on Hornqvist’s 20th goal of the season. Nick Spaling controlled the puck along the endboards against pressure by Dan Boyle. Spaling turned across the goalline to the right circle before dishing the puck to Hornqvist. A one-timer off the pass resulted in the puck flying inside the right post.
Hornqvist earned an assist on the final Nashville goal. Roman Josi zipped through the San Jose defense before poking the puck past Niemi at close range at 13:16.
San Jose posted a 35-24 edge in shots on net.

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