SAN JOSE, Calif. – The party will need to wait for at least two more days.
The Nashville Predators spoiled the San Jose Sharks opportunity to clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the 14th time in 15 years on Saturday, earning a 4-2 win at SAP Center. In doing so, the Predators handed the Sharks their first back-to-back regulation losses at home this season.
The loss also cost the Sharks an opportunity to regain first place in the Western Conference as the Winnipeg Jets beat the Calgary Flames earlier in the night. As a result, the Flames maintain a one-point lead over the Sharks for first place in the Pacific Division. The Sharks are just two points shy of clinching a berth in the Western Conference playoffs.
Filip Forsberg scored the game-winning goal at 7:02 of the third after goalie Martin Jones got caught outside his net on a wraparound play. Forsberg threw the puck into the blue paint and it bounced in off Tim Heed's stick. Victor Arvidsson clinched the win for the Predators with 1:06 left in regulation, scoring into an empty net.
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Colton Sissons opened the scoring just 1:07 into the game, burying a pass from Craig Smith on a 3-on-2 play.
The Sharks went into the second intermission tied 2-2 after scoring a pair of middle frame goals. Timo Meier got the Sharks on the board at 4:09, punching in a pass from Joe Pavelski, who scooped up the rebound of a Joakim Ryan shot. With the secondary assist, Ryan earned his first point since Dec. 27.
Nashville regained the lead just 24 seconds later as Forsberg's shot bounced in off Arvidsson's ankle. Joe Thornton tied it up with 2:24 left in the period, one-timing a pass from Brent Burns, who slid the puck into the crease from the outside. With his 61st assist of the season, Burns snapped a four-game scoreless drought,
The Sharks will return to action at SAP Center on Monday, completing a three-game homestand against the Vegas Golden Knights.