The Nashville Predators’ playoff run included a seven-game first-round win over the Anaheim Ducks, a team favored to perhaps win it all. They then took the San Jose Sharks to seven games in the second round.
That’s where it ended, in a frustrating 5-0 loss Thursday. Nashville’s best opportunity, at least so far, to qualify for the Western Conference Final for the first time in franchise history suddenly fizzled in San Jose. From start to finish, the Sharks dominated the deciding contest.
Shea Weber had a dreadful night. So, too, did Roman Josi. So, too, did Pekka Rinne. Filip Forsberg finished the series with one point in seven games. Basically, the entire Predators team had a dreadful night, while the Sharks were flying from the start and didn’t leave any doubt about this one.
The Sharks are off to the conference final for the first time since 2011. They’ll face the St. Louis Blues, with the winner advancing to the Stanley Cup Final.
“They were better than us tonight,” Predators coach Peter Laviolette told reporters.
“They played a game, I thought, that had them on their toes. They were on the forecheck, they were hounding pucks. They were better than us. You’ve got to give them credit for the way they played. It’s disappointing for us.”
Weber and Josi were on the ice for all five San Jose goals. Rinne was finally pulled after giving up San Jose’s fifth goal — Patrick Marleau converting on a two-on-one. Rinne smashed his stick twice against the post and threw it to the boards as he left the net.
Offensively, the Predators managed just eight shots on goal through 40 minutes, and 20 in the entire game.