Ryan Johansen and James Neal scored goals to help the Nashville Predators snap a four-game losing streak with a 3-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Saturday.
After starting their California swing with a shootout loss in Anaheim and an overtime defeat in Los Angeles, the Predators head home on a high note by beating the defending Western Conference champions. Backup goalie Juuse Saros made 25 saves for the win.
Paul Martin scored the lone goal for the first-place Sharks, who lost for just the second time in seven games.
San Jose still has a seven-point lead over Anaheim in the Pacific Division with a game in hand. Martin Jones made 22 saves.
Nashville ended its skid by reversing its struggles on the penalty kill. The Predators allowed three goals on three chances Thursday in Los Angeles and six in 11 tries during the skid, but managed to kill all four San Jose power plays, including three after taking the 2-1 lead.
The final chance on the power play for San Jose came late in the third, but the Sharks couldn't generate any good chances and Nashville iced the game with an empty-net goal by Viktor Arvidsson. The Predators lead the NHL with 10 short-handed goals.
The NHL's best second-period team took the lead in the middle period thanks to a strong forecheck from Colin Wilson. Wilson took the puck away from Dylan DeMelo on a dump-in and quickly fed a wide-open Neal in front of the net for the goal that gave Nashville a 2-1 lead.
There were no other goals in the period that featured little action outside of a tame fight between San Jose's Brenden Dillon and Austin Watson. The Predators have now outscored the opposition by an NHL-best 29 goals in the second period.
The teams traded goals in the first period with the Sharks striking first after a faceoff win by Joe Thornton against Mike Fisher. Martin then took a shot from the point that went through a screen by Jannik Hansen to make it 1-0.
The Predators got the equalizer when Roman Josi's soft point shot hit defenseman Justin Braun and went right to Johansen in the slot, who beat Jones for his 11th goal.
NOTES: After snapping an 0-for-10 drought on the man advantage with two power-play goals Thursday against Washington, the Sharks were blanked once again. ... Forward P.A. Parenteau made his debut for Nashville after being acquired from New Jersey before the trade deadline. Parenteau had been out with a finger injury. ... Predators D Matt Irwin was scratched after playing 61 consecutive games and replaced by Anthony Bitetto, who took two minor penalties.
Predators: Host Winnipeg on Monday.
Sharks: Host Dallas on Sunday.