Sharks dominate from start in 5-0 Game 7 win vs. Predators

San Jose Sharks' Joe Pavelski, left, celebrates with Joe Thornton (19) and another teammate after scoring a goal against the Nashville Predators during the first period of Game 7 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference semifinal playoff series Thursday, May 12, 2016, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Captain Joe Pavelski got San Jose off to a fast start in Game 7 with his franchise record-tying ninth goal of the playoffs to send the Sharks to their first Western Conference final in five years with a 5-0 victory over the Nashville Predators on Thursday night.

Joel Ward, Logan Couture, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau also scored as San Jose bounced back from a lackluster loss in Game 6 to thoroughly dominate the Predators to reach the conference final for the fourth time in franchise history.

Martin Jones made 20 saves for San Jose’s first playoff shutout in six years. The home team won all seven games in this series.

San Jose will open the conference final on the road Sunday against the St. Louis Blues.

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