Nashville, TN (SportsNetwork.com) - Craig Smith scored twice to lead a potent Nashville attack and Pekka Rinne dazzled in between the pipes as the Predators bombarded the San Jose Sharks in a 5-1 victory on Tuesday.
Shea Weber tallied a goal and an assist, James Neal and Paul Gaustad also scored and Mike Ribeiro supplied two assists for the Predators, who won their sixth straight game.
Rinne provided a spectacular 42-save effort in the win and improved to 15-1-1 over his last 17 games.
"I was feeling it tonight," said Rinne. "This is a huge win against San Jose. It's always a big matchup."
Matt Irwin lit the lamp and Alex Stalock allowed all five goals on 37 shots for San Jose, which has lost five of its last six games.
Nashville seized control of the game with two quick strikes to start the second period.
On the power play, Smith found the puck in a mad scramble in front of the net and sent a wrist shot for a two-goal lead 53 seconds into the frame.
Gaustad cruised into the slot and hammered Gabriel Bourque's cross-ice feed into an open net for a 4-1 game 50 seconds later.
Moments later, Rinne made several stops during a San Jose man advantage. He made multiple pad stops and capped the sequence by denying Joe Pavelski in tight with a save off his mask and blocker.
"He's very tough to beat," Sharks head coach Todd McLellan said of Rinne. "The number of saves he made on the power play, where we had a chance to crawl back into the game, he did an exceptional job."
Neal beat Stalock with a wrister from the edge of the left circle for a 5-1 score just past the midway point of the second.
Rinne stopped 16 shots in the first, 15 in the middle frame and 11 in third for the win.
Irwin started the scoring for San Jose by crashing the net and wristing a shot under the arm of Rinne 5:26 into the game.
Nashville pulled even on Weber's heavy slapper through traffic at 13:42 of the first period.
Mattias Ekholm fired a shot from up high, but Smith whacked the rebound past a sprawled Stalock for a 2-1 Predators lead with 3:58 left in the opening stanza.
Weber has two goals and four assists over his last three games ... Prior to the game, Nashville placed defenseman Anton Volchenkov on injured reserve with a lower-body injury and recalled defenseman Anthony Bitetto from Milwaukee (AHL) ... Sharks defenseman Justin Braun returned to the lineup after missing 11 games with a hand injury ... Nashville has won four of its last five games against the Sharks ... The two teams will conclude their season series on March 12 in San Jose.