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San Jose Sharks vs. Nashville Predators @NHL
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GAME: San Jose Sharks (3-4-1) at Nashville Predators (6-0-0).

TIME: Saturday, 8 p.m. EDT.

The Nashville Predators are off to the best start in franchise history.

They'll look to keep their season-opening winning streak alive as they host the San Jose Sharks.

The Predators beat the St. Louis Blues 3-2 on Thursday, improving to 6-0 with their third shootout win of the season.

"I don't remember ever going 6-0," said Paul Kariya, who signed with Nashville in August. "We've got a very good team, but we still have a lot to do. We are playing very well right now."

The Predators, who joined the NHL in 1998, went 4-1-1 in 2000 for their previous best six-game mark before this season.

Thursday's win also guaranteed Nashville's first-ever winning October.

"This group wants to get better," coach Barry Trotz said. "That's a sign of maturity. But we have to keep everything in perspective. We have to retain our work ethic and work on our speed and structure."

Jeremy Stevenson scored the tying goal for Nashville in the third period, and Dan Hamhuis added a first period goal. Steve Sullivan and Marek Zidlicky both scored in the shootout, while Tomas Vokoun turned away both shots he faced.

"I have Sully, Zidlicky, Kariya and we have one of the best goaltenders in the league," Trotz said, describing his shootout lineup. "My job is done once we get to the shootout. There are a lot options and down the road, we'll extend that."

The Predators allowed their first goal at home on the power play Thursday after killing 11 man advantages in their first two games in Nashville.

The Sharks lost their third straight Friday, falling 4-1 to Columbus. Scott Thornton scored the lone goal for San Jose, which fell to 0-3 on its six-game road trip.

"We had three or four guys who simply weren't ready to play," coach Doug Wilson said. "That shouldn't happen. As a professional athlete you should take pride in every performance. It shouldn't take a period and then getting ripped between the first and second periods to kind of wake up."

Goalie Evgeni Nabokov was rammed by teammate Christian Ehrhoff and driven into the boards in the second period. He played for one more minute before skating to the dressing room and did not return. Sharks officials said he had upper-body stiffness and would undergo tests.

Backup goalie Vesa Toskala allowed three goals on 15 shots.

STANDINGS: Sharks - 7 points, 3rd place (tied), 5 PB, Pacific Division. Predators - 12 points, 2nd place, 2 PB, Central Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Sharks - Patrick Marleau and Marco Sturm, 4 goals; Marleau and Milan Michalek, 4 assists; Marleau, 8 points; Rob Davison, 14 PIM. Predators - Sullivan, 4 goals, 6 assists and 10 points; Kariya, 14 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Oct. 20): Sharks - Power play: 12 percent (6 for 50), 24th (tied) in NHL. Penalty killing: 78.9 percent (30 for 38), 23rd. Predators - Power play: 20.6 percent (7 for 34), 8th. Penalty killing: 88.2 percent (30 for 34), 4th (tied).

GOALTENDERS: Sharks - Nabokov (3-2-1, 3.51 GAA); Toskala (0-2-0, 7.50). Predators - Vokoun (5-0-0, 2.13); Chris Mason (1-0-0, 3.69).

SEASON SERIES: Predators, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Oct. 5; Predators, 3-2. At Nashville, Scott Hartnell scored the game-winner at 15:47 of the third period in the season opener for both teams.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Sharks - 1-4-1 on the road; Predators - 3-0-0 at home.

Associated Press

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