By JOSH DUBOW, AP Sports Writer

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.

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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.

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

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