(Reuters) - Joe Pavelski's first goal of the series and sixth of the playoffs sparked the San Jose Sharks to a 3-2 win over the Nashville Predators on Sunday.
The victory gave San Jose a 2-0 lead in its best-of-seven Western Conference semi-final series that resumes with Game 3 in Nashville on Tuesday.
Pavelski potted a weak-side rebound of Matt Nieto's shot after Joe Thornton made cross-ice pass. The goal broke a 1-1 tie at 17:20 of the third period.
Thornton scored into an empty net with 55.6 seconds left -- which proved to be the winner -- before Nashville's Ryan Johansen scored with 3.2 seconds remaining to make it a one-goal difference.
Nashville defenseman Mattias Ekholm scored his third goal of the playoffs at 12:56 of the third period to tie it 1-1.
Sharks forward Melker Karlsson dove but missed on a block attempt, and defenseman Brenden Dillon inadvertently screened Sharks goalie Martin Jones.
The Sharks survived an early third-period Nashville power play after defenseman Brenden Dillon roughed Ryan Johansen behind the play at 6:34.
The Predators managed one shot, and there was a scary moment for San Jose defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who was struck in the visor by a blast from Nashville defenseman Shea Weber during the advantage.
Stunned initially, Vlasic returned once the action returned to even strength.
Logan Couture scored the only goal of a tight-checking, fast-paced opening 40 minutes.
It took the Sharks only 33 seconds to convert on their second power-play opportunity of the game, courtesy of Nashville's too-many-men penalty at 18:03 of the second period.
San Jose took advantage of Predators goalie Pekka Rinne's failure to corral a dump-in.
The Sharks worked the puck back to the right point, where defenseman Brent Burns cranked a shot on goal. Rinne made a pad save, then lost sight of the puck for a moment to give an unmarked Couture the opening to punch home his fourth goal of the playoffs.
It was an odd sight as Nashville defenseman Roman Josi tried to avoid the penalty by jumping on the San Jose bench. He straddled the boards as a surprised San Jose defense pair Paul Martin and Burns kept him from fully getting off the ice.
The Predators had the better of the middle period before the tiebreaking goal. Nashville outshot the hosts 16-10 in the period but could not solve Jones in the process.
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)