SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Joe Pavelski capped a four-point third period with the tiebreaking goal after a scintillating spin move that rallied the San Jose Sharks to an 8-5 victory over the Nashville Predators on Thursday night.
Pavelski assisted on the first two goals of the period to erase a 4-2 deficit and then twice scored the tiebreaking goal, leading the Sharks to their third straight comeback victory.
Dany Heatley also scored twice and had an assist and Manny Malhotra had a goal and two assists in the third period for San Jose. The Sharks overcame one-goal deficits in the third period of their previous two games, rallying to beat Montreal and Columbus.
Patric Hornqvist and J.P. Dumont each scored two goals for the Predators, who dominated the first two periods before falling apart in the third in what could be a possible playoff preview.
Dan Ellis faced only 11 shots in the first two periods, before allowing four goals on 12 shots in the third period. He was pulled for Pekka Rinne after allowing Pavelski's second goal. Rinne allowed Patrick Marleau's 40th goal with 2:26 to go that gave San Jose a 7-5 lead.
The Sharks moved two points ahead of Chicago for the best record in the Western Conference. Nashville fell into a tie for seventh with Calgary.
The Sharks were thoroughly dominated for the first two periods, getting outshot 34-11 and trailing 4-2. But they erased the deficit in just over 5 minutes of the third period.
Devin Setoguchi was stopped by Ellis from in close in the opening minute. That energy was a sign of things to come for San Jose. Setoguchi drew a penalty from Dan Hamhuis and that led to Heatley's second goal of the game when he tipped in a shot by Dan Boyle.
Less than 2 minutes later Malhotra knocked in a rebound of a shot by Pavelski after an end-to-end rush to tie it just 5:16 into the third. The puck hit Malhotra's skate before glancing off his stick and the referees needed a long review before deciding that the goal was good.
Replay reviews weren't good to the Predators. They had a goal waved off in the second period because Dustin Boyd was ruled to have kicked the puck into the net.
Pavelski gave San Jose the lead when he took an awkward bounce off the board and skated in all alone against Ellis before scoring to give the Sharks their first lead. It was short-lived as Dumont tipped in a shot about 2 minutes later to tie it at 5 with 6:34 to go.
Pavelski's next goal was much more spectacular and stood up as the winner. He skated in on Ryan Suter, spun around with a 360-degree move and then shot the puck through Ellis' pads for what proved to be the winner.
Evgeni Nabokov made 40 saves for San Jose.
The Sharks came into the game off a four-day break and looked rusty from the start. The Predators controlled the play early, putting heavy pressure on Nabokov. They finally broke through on the power play when Hornqvist knocked home the rebound of a shot by Shea Weber to make it 1-0.
Nashville was outshooting San Jose 15-1 before Heatley scored his first goal to tie the game. The Predators scored three times in the second to take the 4-2 lead, but it wasn't enough.
NOTES: Weber returned to the Predators' lineup after missing two games with an upper-body injury. ... Sharks F Scott Nichol returned to the lineup to face his former team a week after injuring his shoulder when he was checked into the boards late by Montreal's Maxim Lapierre.