With the win, the Sharks finished up a stretch where they played 11 of 13 games away from San Jose. They have the best road record in the NHL at 25-8-3.
"We really came out flat, but we picked it up in the second period," San Jose defenseman Doug Murray said. "The guys did a good job of taking over the game. "We don't want games to be tight like this. We need to play for 60 minutes and put teams out of it early."
The first goal was decided after a lengthy video review in the second period. On the power play, Jonathan Cheechoo was skating close in on the left side when he passed the puck to Pavelski in front of the net, pulling Dan Ellis out of position. Pavelski and Nashville's Greg Zanon got tangled in front of the net but Pavelski was able to get off a shot from close range. It looked like Zanon, who was lying down in the net behind the goal line, had stopped the puck.
The review ruled the puck had crossed the goal line.
"I had all the confidence in the world it was in," Pavelski said. "I took a little bit longer than we would have liked for it to be decided."
Predators coach Barry Trotz still is not happy with the explanation he was given about the play.
"It was actually Pavelski who landed on the puck," Trotz said. "And if you look at it the puck is either pushed in with his hands or shin pads with a kicking motion.
"I've got an explanation, but I don't think that it's the right one," he added. "I was told that the referee closest to the net didn't see it go in, but the referee at the blue line obviously did."
Thirty-seven seconds into the third period the Sharks extended the lead to 2-0. Michalek skated past Greg de Vries and shot the puck between the leg pads of Ellis from close range.
"We put it to them pretty good all night, but we were a little undisciplined in the third period," San Jose coach Ron Wilson said. "When you basically outshoot a team in their own building, with as long as we have been on the road, that says a lot about our character and determination right now."
Ellis made 40 saves.
"Ellis was really good," Trotz said. "They crashed the net pretty good. They have a lot of skill. They have a lot of low plays, a lot of crease plays. He was outstanding. He kept us in the game."
The Predators ended Nabokov's shutout bid at 5:29 of the third period. Jason Arnott took a shot on the power play from the left circle that went high over the shoulder and outstretched glove of Nabokov.
Nabokov leads the NHL with 40 wins. He won all four games against the Predators this season.
"He has been not only good against this team, but against the rest of the league," Ellis said. "His defense really helps him out. They limit a lot of the quality chances. ... It's really difficult to break through their defensive system. They defend the net and the scoring area very well and limit shots and scoring opportunities."
Trotz was behind the bench for his 727th game with the Predators, moving him into 11th place all-time in games coached for one NHL team. He passed former Boston Bruins coach Milt Schmidt. David Legwand missed his second game in a row for the Predators due to a deep bone bruise of his left foot.