Take 2 for a Sharks clinching party went like Thursday’s failed chance.
Filip Forsberg’s tie-breaking goal early in the third period provided the Nashville Predators with a 4-2 win over San Jose, which has dropped the first two games of a homestand with only Vegas’ visit on Monday remaining.
Like in Thursday’s 4-2 loss against Florida, the hosts failed to clinch a 14th playoff appearance in 15 seasons and frittered away an opportunity to claim the top spot in the Pacific Division and Western Conference.
“Obviously we want first place and it’s disappointing when you can’t find a way to win,” Sharks goalie Martin Jones said.
Saturday’s loss marked the first time this season the Sharks have lost consecutive games at home in regulation.
In a similar battle for a division title, the Central Division’s Predators took their third one-goal lead at 7:02 of the final period when Forsberg’s wrap-around attempt skipped off the stick of San Jose defenseman Tim Heed and into the net.
Viktor Arvidsson scored his second goal of the night into an empty net at 18:54.
“I thought we created at times,” Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said. “That’s a good team over there.”
The Sharks will look back at three failed power plays and the inability to score a tying goal with Jones pulled late. San Jose went 0-for-3 with the man advantage, mustering only two shots during 4:17 of 5-on-4.
“Definitely the power play can be better,” Pavelski said. “And at the end of the day it’s all about the finish on it.”
The Sharks have gone four games without a power-play goal (0-for-10) and are 1-for-13 in their past seven outings.
“Our entries were cleaner, had some zone time, shot it and it felt like we were getting it back,” Pavelski said. “We were maybe a little too cute at times. That’s the challenge, when you’re going good on the power play, is not to look for that perfect play.”
It was after the third and final failed power play late in the second that Joe Thornton and Brent Burns teamed up for one of the prettier plays this season to rally the Sharks into a 2-2 tie 2:24 before the end of the middle period.
Angry at Nashville’s Colton Sissons after a battle in the corner a shift earlier, Thornton directed his aggressiveness toward scoring. After entering the zone, Thornton left a soft drop pass timed for Burns to pick up inside the blue line.
Burns drove hard toward the right circle, gained a step on Nashville’s Mikael Granlund and found Thornton unmarked with a nifty 10-foot pass. Thornton one-timed his 15th goal of the season past Predators goalie Juuse Saros at 17:36 to tie it.
Burns’ 61st assist of the season is an ongoing career high.
San Jose tied the game 1-1 much earlier in the period, but that lasted all of 24 seconds.
Pavelski fed Timo Meier on the weak side and the Sharks’ young forward snapped home his 27th goal at 4:09.
But the Predators struck back not soon after the fans sat back down.
Sharks defenseman Justin Braun coughed the puck up along the boards behind the goal line. Forsberg spun along the left boards and threw a puck toward the net that caromed off Arvidsson’s right ankle and past Jones at 4:33.
Briefly: Defenseman Erik Karlsson tested his injured groin before the morning skate. He’s not close to returning. … Forward Evander Kane returned to the lineup after missing the previous seven games.
Ross McKeon is a freelance writer. Twitter: @rossmckeon
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Sharks-lose-to-Predators-drop-second-straight-at-13694729.php.