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Sharks 3, Predators 2, OT @NHL

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - Alyn McCauley proudly pulled on his brown and white clown shoes for his postgame trip home.

The funky footwear was nothing compared to his on-ice show.

McCauley scored a short-handed goal 1:44 into overtime, and the San Jose Sharks beat the Nashville Predators 3-2 Wednesday night for their fourth straight victory and another thrilling finish.

McCauley won a faceoff and passed to Brad Stuart, who headed up the ice on a 2-on-1. He faked a slap shot and dished back to McCauley, who fired a one-timer for his first goal this season and eighth career game-winner.

"The draw was won by their center (David Legwand) and I noticed him falling, so I went after his stick," McCauley said. "I immediately saw Stuart and sent him the puck right away hoping he'd shoot. I've been a little snakebit lately, but I was more than happy to take his great pass."

San Jose has won all four during this streak with late rallies, including a shootout victory over Calgary last Saturday.

The Sharks tied it on a power-play goal by Patrick Marleau with 7:27 remaining in regulation, with the assists going to Marco Sturm and Jonathan Cheechoo.

It was Marleau's team-leading seventh goal of the season. Cheechoo's goal-scoring streak ended at four games, but he tallied a point for the sixth straight game.

"It's a nice way to win, but you'd rather come out with the lead and stick with it," Marleau said. "I guess the good thing is, we know we can do it if we have to."

In fact, coach Ron Wilson talked to his team before it took the ice about just that: He asked his players to demonstrate a sense of urgency from the start.

Instead, the Predators took the early lead with a goal in the first two minutes.

Martin Erat and Paul Kariya each scored a first-period goal for Nashville, but the Predators couldn't hold the lead in the third. Nashville is winless in four games after starting 8-0-0, becoming one of only three teams in NHL history to open a season with eight straight victories.

"We did some good things, but the last two games penalties have just killed us," Kariya said. "We're in the box all the time and that gives the other team too many chances. They got three or four power plays in the third period and finally got one. Then in overtime, we have a 4-3 advantage and they score - that's unacceptable."

Chris Mason, starting in net for the first time in nearly a month, didn't have much of a chance against McCauley.

"You can't turn the puck over on a draw like that," said Mason, who made 33 saves and stopped all 15 second-period shots he saw. "San Jose skates like the wind. There was no way for our guys to get back."

McCauley scored on his sixth shot of the night for the Sharks, who had played a league-low three home games before Wednesday. After a quick trip to Anaheim on Friday, San Jose plays four of its following five games in the Shark Tank. That's after opening the season with nine of 12 on the road.

The Predators play their first 24 games against the Western Conference and don't face their first Eastern Conference opponent until Dec. 3 at Philadelphia.

Erat got the Predators on the board only 1:35 into the first period with his third goal of the season. Kariya skated the puck up the ice and drew pressure before dishing to Kimmo Timonen, who set up Erat for an easy try in front of the net on the first shot of the game.

The Sharks tied the score on a goal by Marcel Goc at 6:14 after the puck glanced off his stick on a hard shot from inside the blue line by Josh Langfeld, who originally stole the puck from the Predators.

But Nashville found the net again just 7 seconds later, when Kariya took advantage of an open net after goalie Nolan Schaefer came out. It was Kariya's sixth goal of the year.

The Predators, 0-for-7 on the power play a night earlier at Anaheim, only had three chances.

Schaefer finished with 21 saves for the Sharks, unbeaten in four home games.

"The feel on the bench is that something good's going to happen," Wilson said. "Generally speaking, we hang in there."

Notes: The Sharks are still without starting goalie Evgeni Nabokov because of upper body soreness, but he is expected to return as soon as Saturday, when the Sharks host Minnesota. ... San Jose's Scott Thornton missed the game with a sore groin, and Wayne Primeau was a late scratch with back spasms after skating in warmups. ... This was already the third of four meetings between the teams this season. ... Nashville's Yanic Perreault tallied at least one point in each of his previous five games, including his 200th NHL goal in a 4-1 loss to the Mighty Ducks on Tuesday night.

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