SAN JOSE -- A nearly given-up-for-dead power play came to life with two goals Saturday night, and that was all the offense the Sharks needed to skate away with a 2-1 victory over the Nashville Predators at HP Pavilion.

It was only the second regulation win for San Jose in the past 15 games and maybe a sign that March will not be as cruel as February, when the Sharks power play was a woeful 3-for-52.

And you can give Joe Pavelski a big chunk of the credit for the turnaround.

In the first period, he provided the screen that blocked Predators netminder Pekka Rinne's view of a Dan Boyle slap shot from the blue line that became San Jose's first goal. In the second, he punched the puck in the net on a scrappy play.

"Big night for him. Stepped up, showed his leadership skills," coach Todd McLellan said. "He was able to create with his skills and was a real hungry player."

Goalie Antti Niemi's bid for a second shutout over Nashville this season -- the first ended up being a 1-0 shootout loss on Feb. 12 -- ended at 14:30 of the third period with a short-handed breakaway goal by Predators forward Gabriel Bourque, but the San Jose netminder still earned his ninth win of the season.

Despite the fact the power play hadn't been productive, McLellan said he had been seeing signs it was becoming more of a threat in recent games.

"It was a matter of time," he said. "I thought it was starting to look dangerous again."

The first goal came with Nashville defenseman Kevin Klein in the penalty box for slashing Logan Couture. Predators penalty killer Paul Gaustad lost his stick, and that gave San Jose a little easier time setting up Boyle for his blast.

And, no, the way things had been going for Boyle lately, he wasn't waiting patiently for Pavelski to get in place before shooting.

"I'm just shooting the puck there. I'm just glad I got it through. It's been tough this year," said Boyle, who scored two goals in the first two games of the season, and no more until Saturday night.

Pavelski said he was following the game plan by parking himself in front of Rinne, a teammate in Europe during the lockout.

"That's one of the keys we talk about on our power play, net play, and I just happened to be the guy there," he said.

At 9:12 of the second period, it was Pavelski who pounced on a loose puck to the side of the net before Rinne could get to it, giving the Sharks a 2-0 lead with Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis in the box for tripping Andrew Desjardins.

"It was just one of those broken plays you find yourself scoring on so many more times than the nice plays," Pavelski said.

Nashville cut the lead to 2-1 on a short-handed goal at 14:30 of the third period when rookie defenseman Matt Irwin first couldn't keep the puck in at the blue line, then couldn't catch Bourque as he sped down the ice.

"Some of their best chances came on some miscues on our power play with a couple young players," McLellan said. "But we'll throw them right back out there and make sure they're better next time."

After a 1-4-1 trip that dropped the Sharks considerably in the Western Conference standings, San Jose grabbed five of six possible points on its just-completed homestand.

"We've got to climb back up in this thing," Boyle said. "Anaheim's on a pretty serious run here and starting to create some space, so we need to get ourselves back into it."

The Ducks have an eight-point lead over the Sharks in the Pacific Division. San Jose now heads to Western Canada for games in Vancouver on Tuesday and Calgary the following night.

  • The Sharks were able to salvage one game in their season series against the Predators, having lost 1-0 in a shootout at HP Pavilion on Feb. 2 and 2-1 in overtime in Nashville on Feb. 12.

  • McLellan once again shuffled his lines around, hoping to spark an offense that managed only 15 goals while going 2-6-4 in February.

    He kept his top line of Couture, Joe Thornton and Marty Havlat intact, but moved Patrick Marleau back to center on the second line between Pavelski and Tim Kennedy.

    The left a third line of Ryane Clowe, Scott Gomez and James Sheppard as Michal Handzus dropped to the fourth line between Desjardins and Adam Burish.

  • Thornton earned his 1,100th NHL career point with an assist on Pavelski's goal. That puts Thornton 56th on the NHL all-time list for career scoring.

  • Havlat left the game late in the second period and did not return. Nashville right wing Brandon Yip suffered an upper body injury three minutes into the first period and did not return.