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Predators-Sharks Preview @NHL
Predators-Sharks Preview

GAME: Nashville Predators (8-2-1) at San Jose Sharks (6-5-1).

TIME: Wednesday, 10:30 p.m. EST.

The San Jose Sharks will shoot for their season-high fourth straight win and try to remain unbeaten at home when they host the suddenly struggling Nashville Predators.

San Jose extended its winning streak with yet another thrilling effort in a 3-2 shootout win over Calgary at home on Saturday.

Jonathan Cheechoo and Brad Stuart scored in the final 4:34 of regulation, and Nils Ekman netted the clincher in the franchise's first-ever shootout game.

Cheechoo, who has scored a goal in four straight games, had the winning goal with 3.7 seconds left in the Sharks' 5-4 victory at Los Angeles on Friday, the finale of a season-high six-game road trip.

The weary Sharks had arrived at Oakland Airport in the wee hours Saturday, but mustered the energy to improve to 3-0-0 at home this season.

"If we had lost, I wouldn't have had a complaint because of the way we battled back to get a point," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. "And then we ended up getting two points. Our team just seems to find a way at times, and obviously won't give up. That's three games in a row where we've been battling right at the end to make a difference."

San Jose, which has played an NHL-low three home games, will play five of its next seven at the HP Pavilion. The defending Pacific Division champions went 24-8-7-2 at home in 2003-04.

Nolan Schaefer looks to continue his strong play for the Sharks, who also won three straight from Oct. 8-Oct. 15. He made 23 saves Saturday to improve to 3-0-0 with a 2.63 goals-against average in three appearances, including two starts. The 25-year-old netminder was recalled from the Sharks' top affiliate in Cleveland because of injuries to goalies Evgeni Nabokov and Vesa Toskala.

Yanic Perreault's 200th NHL goal couldn't prevent Nashville's third straight loss, a 4-1 defeat to Anaheim on Tuesday. The Predators had been 8-0-0, one of only three teams in NHL history to open a season with eight straight victories, joining the 1934-35 Maple Leafs and 1975-76 Buffalo Sabres.

Tomas Vokoun made 31 saves for the Predators, who went 0-for-7 on the power play on Tuesday and are 2-for-22 with the man advantage over the last three games.

San Jose has lost the first two meetings of the series with Nashville, both on the road.

STANDINGS: Predators - 17 points, 2nd place, 7 PB, Central Division. Sharks - 13 points, 3rd place (tied), 3 PB, Pacific Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Predators - Steve Sullivan and Perreault, 5 goals; Sullivan, 8 assists and 13 points; Jeremy Stevenson, 44 PIM. Sharks - Patrick Marleau and Cheechoo, 6 goals; Marleau, 9 assists and 15 points; Kyle McLaren and Rob Davison, 18 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Predators - Power play: 16.4 percent (12 for 73), tied for 19th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84 percent (63 for 75), 10th. Sharks - Power play: 14.8 percent (12 for 81), 25th. Penalty killing: 82 percent (55 for 67), 16th.

GOALTENDERS: Predators - Vokoun (7-2-1, 0 SO, 2.67 GAA); Chris Mason (1-0-0, 0, 3.69). Sharks - Schaefer (3-0-0, 0, 2.64); Dimitri Patzold (no appearances).

SEASON SERIES: Predators, 2-0.

LAST MEETING: Oct. 22; Predators, 2-1. At Nashville, Vokoun stopped 37 of 38 shots and stayed in the game for the final two minutes despite taking a puck to his neck.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Predators - 3-1-1 on the road; Sharks - 3-0-0 at home.

Associated Press
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