- Associated Press - Sunday, October 30, 2016

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - After ending their first road trip with a dud in Detroit, the San Jose Sharks have looked more like the team that won the Western Conference last season once they returned home.

Joe Pavelski and Tommy Wingels scored 17 seconds apart and San Jose went on to beat the Nashville Predators 4-1 on Saturday night in a rematch of last season’s seven-game, second-round playoff series won by the Sharks.

The Sharks responded from a 2-3 road trip capped by a 3-0 loss to the Red Wings by winning all three at home - allowing just three goals in the process.

“That last game, I don’t know if it was just a last game on the road trip type of game, but we weren’t very good,” forward Logan Couture said. “I figured when we got home we’d play a little bit better.”

That didn’t happen last season when San Jose had the league’s top road record but lost more regular season home games than any playoff team. The Sharks are changing that script early this season with four straight home wins at the start.

“I know we’ve struggled in this building for whatever reason,” Wingels said. “No excuses. Is it nice to have a different effort and a different result this year? Absolutely. We’re going to build on it, and try to string five, six, or seven in a row.”

Joonas Donskoi also scored and Joe Thornton added an empty-netter as the Sharks picked up where they left off last spring from that all-home team series against the Predators. Martin Jones made 27 saves to help San Jose finish off the 3-0 homestand.

James Neal scored the lone goal for the struggling Predators. Nashville has lost six of its last seven games and is winless in five road contests this season. Pekka Rinne made 23 saves.

“We just feel like we’re just not playing up to our potential right now,” captain Mike Fisher said. “We know we’re a better team. When you’re not getting the results it’s frustrating.”

This game turned quickly early in the second period. Jones started it when he stopped Craig Smith on a breakaway after a defensive breakdown by teammate Melker Karlsson.

The Sharks then quickly drew the game’s first power play when Yannick Weber was called for cross checking. San Jose took just 6 seconds to cash that in for a goal when Thornton won the faceoff. Brent Burns’ point shot went wide off the back boards, but Pavelski knocked the rebound into the crease and it deflected off Rinne and into the net.

Before the fans were even done celebrating that goal, San Jose got another fortunate bounce when David Schlemko’s shot hit teammate Michael Haley and went straight to Wingels, who knocked it into the open net for his first goal of the season.

The Predators finally got on the board in the final minute of the second period when Neal deflected Ryan Ellis’ point shot past Jones but it wasn’t enough.

“We have to find a way to come out in these games and score the first goal and get a lead and try to build on it as opposed to always trying to chase the game from behind and never having that comfort of being up a goal,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “I thought we fought in the third period. It’s tough coming back from being down 3-0.”

San Jose struck first late in the opening period after a wild shift that started with Donskoi and Joel Ward failing to put the puck in even though was caught well out of the net trying to play the puck. But the Sharks kept the pressure on and Donskoi eventually slid a rebound under Rinne’s pad for the opening goal.

NOTES: Nashville has allowed the first goal in seven of eight games this season. … The Sharks had their first perfect homestand of at least three games since going 5-0 in December 2014. San Jose is 4-0 overall at home after winning just four of its first 14 at the Shark Tank last season. … San Jose has killed 19 of 20 penalties over the past six games.


Predators: Continue a five-game road trip Tuesday night at Colorado.

Sharks: Head on the road to take on Arizona on Tuesday night for the first time this season.

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