“We got great goaltending from Tomas Vokoun,” Trotz said after the Predators’ 2-1 win Saturday night. “He was absolutely spectacular in the last 1 1/2 minutes. Tomas was the reason why we won the hockey game.”
Vokoun stopped 37 of 38 shots, staying in the game for the final 2 minutes despite taking a puck to his neck that sent him to the ice for a couple of minutes.
“I have never taken a shot like that to my neck in a game,” Vokoun said. “It was scary.”
The way San Jose played also put some fear into the Predators, though the Sharks have lost both trips to Nashville this season.
“San Jose did a lot of good things that took us out of our game,” Trotz said. “There were a lot of chances and a lot of shots. You have to do certain things against San Jose and if you refuse them you give up turnovers.”
The Predators (7-0-0) are the only undefeated team in the Western Conference. Ottawa (6-0-0) is the league’s only other perfect team.
“The effort was incredible,” San Jose coach Ron Wilson said. “I can’t fault it. I feel like we played more than well enough to win, but we didn’t. We took a step in the right direction.”
After a scoreless first period, both teams capitalized on two-man power plays in the second.
San Jose took a 1-0 lead when Tom Preissing took a shot from the right circle that bounced off Vokoun’s pads and Jonathan Cheechoo skated in from the left side and tapped the rebound in at the 3:17 mark.
Nashville tied the score just over 4 minutes later. Dan Hamhuis, standing a few feet inside the blue line on the right side passed the puck to Yanic Perrault low inside the right circle and Perreault fired a shot that went between the legs of San Jose goalie Vesa Toskala at 7:35.
Scott Hartnell then scored the winning goal 11:35 into the third period. David Legwand fired a slap shot from a few feet inside the blue line that bounced off the right leg pad of Toskala. Hartnell, skating in from the left side, put the rebound in the net on Toskala’s stick side.
“Guys were out there taking the body,” Hartnell said. “They were sacrificing themselves to get chances. When you put the puck on the net you never know where it is going to go.”
Toskala finished with 28 saves.
Nashville rookie defenseman Ryan Suter had an All-Star fan club watching—his father Bob, a member of the 1980 gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic team, and his uncle Gary, a former NHL star. . Starting goalie Evgeni Nabokov sat out his first game for the Sharks.