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Predators Edge Sharks, 4-3, In Shootout Thriller

by Staff Writer / San Jose Sharks
One point is better than none. But two points would’ve been better.
 
The San Jose Sharks tried to snap their two-game losing streak and took the Nashville Predators to overtime on Wednesday night. Despite some big saves by Evgeni Nabokov in the third period and overtime, J.P. Dumont’s low wrister on Nashville’s fourth shot of the shootout gave the Predators a 4-3 win. The defeat was San Jose’s third straight.
 
Click here for video highlights from Wednesday’s game.

 
San Jose (38-24-2) remains in sixth place in the Western Conference with 78 points. The Sharks are one point ahead of Calgary, who defeated Minnesota in a shootout Wednesday night. Nashville (43-18-4) now stands alone atop the Western Conference with 90 points.
 
Wednesday’s game also marked the debut of Bill Guerin in a Sharks sweater. The four-time All-Star was acquired hours before the trading deadline from St. Louis on Tuesday night. Guerin started the game on the left wing along with center Joe Thornton and right wing Jonathan Cheechoo.
 
San Jose dominated early in the first period as they outshot the Predators, 6-3, in the first six-plus minutes. At 6:49, Ryane Clowe was called for hooking in the Nashville end. Nashville couldn’t convert, but at 9:30, the Predators were called for too many men on the ice, which was served by Dumont.
 
San Jose attacked well on the power play and forced a five-second 5-on-3 when Kimmo Timonen was called for high sticking at 11:26. The Sharks didn’t score then, but scored 41 seconds later. Milan Michalek took a pass from Matt Carle on the left boards and fired a slap shot from the right point that was partially touched by Dan Hamhuis. The puck landed in the right crease and was tapped in by Steve Bernier.
 
Bernier’s 12th goal, his first since Dec. 26, gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead.
 
But Nashville replied at 16:34. Timonen fired a slap shot from the left point that was deflected in the slot. Vernon Fiddler was wide open in the right slot and the puck went off his skate for his ninth goal of the season. Marek Zidlicky also picked up an assist as the Predators tied the game at 1-1.
 
San Jose was presented with another opportunity at 18:04 when Vitaly Vishnevski tried to clear the puck out of his zone and hit it into the seats for a delay of game penalty.
 
The Sharks took advantage. Thornton passed the puck from the right point to Christian Ehrhoff at the left point. Ehrhoff’s slap shot went off Nashville goaltender Tomas Vokoun’s leg pad and the loose puck was tapped in by Carle for his ninth goal of the season at 18:50.
 
Kyle McLaren was called for holding at 19:46, but the Sharks took a 2-1 lead into the locker room after the first 20 minutes. San Jose also outshot the Predators, 18-8.
 
While the Sharks held Nashville to one shot during their power play to start the second period, the Predators got and couldn’t convert on another man advantage chance when Cheechoo was called for boarding Jordin Tootoo at 2:30.
 
There was a little drama at 5:35. Hamhuis fell into his own net and slightly jarred it off its moorings. Rob Davison scored on a one-timer after taking a pass from Cheechoo, who was in the left corner. But when Vokoun backed into the net, it came off and the goal was disallowed. However, Hamhuis was called for delay of game.
 
San Jose couldn’t convert on another power play chance when Ryan Suter was called for tripping behind the Nashville net at 9:26.
 
At 12:07, Martin Erat took a pass at the red line from the Nashville end and was hooked by Davison near the San Jose goal. Erat was awarded a penalty shot, but Nabokov made a chest save on Erat’s wrister.
 
Both teams flexed their muscles at 13:55. After Nashville finished attacking in the San Jose end, Dumont and Thornton exchanged some pushes and shoves in the slot. Dumont was called for slashing while Thornton received a minor for roughing.
 
San Jose went on their sixth power play of the night when Paul Kariya was called for hooking at 17:19.
 
But after the first 40 minutes, San Jose held on to a 2-1 lead. While the Sharks were outshooting the Predators, 23-14, after two periods, the Predators outshot San Jose, 6-5, in the second period.
 
The Predators went on their fourth power play at 4:40 of the third period when Curtis Brown was called for hooking. And for the first time on the night, Nashville connected to tie the score at 2-2. At 6:29, Erat scored from the right faceoff circle. Timonen and Peter Forsberg had the assists on Erat’s 14th goal of the season.
 
At 9:04, Nashville was called for too many men on the ice for the second time in the game. But San Jose couldn’t convert on their seventh power play opportunity.
 
Nashville received the man advantage at 12:56 when Mark Bell was called for hooking Kariya at the Nashville blue line. And just like their fourth opportunity at 4:40, the Predators made good as Alexander Radulov deflected Shea Weber’s slap shot at 14:53. Suter also had an assist on Radulov’s 12th goal to give Nashville a 3-2 lead.
 
The Sharks tied it almost a minute later. Marc-Edouard Vlasic got a pass in the slot from Bernier and fired a wrister by Vokoun for his third goal at 15:52 to even the game at 3-3.
 
That was the score at the end of regulation. Nashville got four shots on goal in overtime. With a half-second remaining, Kariya fired a point-blank shot at Nabokov, who made a glove save to send the game into a shootout.
 
San Jose started first, but Clowe missed. Radulov followed for Nashville and scored on a backhand. Joe Pavelski answered with a wrist shot past Vokoun. But that was the last goal for the Sharks. On Nashville’s fourth shot, Dumont got a low wrister past Nabokov.
 
Nashville outshot San Jose, 14-5, in the third period and 4-2 in overtime. For the game, the Predators had 32 to 30 for the Sharks.
 
WHO’S IN/WHO’S OUT
Two prominent members of the Sharks didn’t play on Wednesday night. Captain Patrick Marleau was scratched because of an upper body injury. Defenseman Scott Hannan took the night off because of a lower body injury. Left wing Patrick Rissmiller returned to the lineup after having missed Monday’s game against Anaheim. With Marleau and Hannan out of the lineup, defenseman Kyle McLaren was one of the team’s alternate captains for the game. Nashville was missing right wing Steve Sullivan, who shares the team goal scoring lead with center David Legwand at 22. Sullivan has been out for the last three games with back spasms.
 
WHERE’S CRAIG
Defenseman Craig Rivet, acquired from Montreal on Sunday, is scheduled to arrive in San Jose after the game tonight. He will practice with the team on Thursday in San Jose and accompany them on their three-game road trip that starts in Anaheim on Friday.
 
POWERING UP
Bernier’s first period power play goal has given the Sharks a man advantage goal in each of the last six games. San Jose also recorded at least two power play goals in a game for the first time since Feb. 13 at St. Louis. Oddly enough on that night, new Shark Bill Guerin recorded a hat trick in San Jose’s 6-5 win.
 
LINE COMBINATIONS
Guerin – Thornton – Cheechoo
Michalek – Pavelski – Bernier
Clowe – Brown – Grier
Bell – Goc – Rissmiller
 
McLaren – Carle
Vlasic – Ehrhoff
Murray – Davison
 
Nabokov – Toskala
 
NEXT GAME
San Jose hits the road for three straight starting Friday night in Anaheim. The game can be heard on 98.5 K-FOX, the Sharks Radio Network and sjsharks.com. The game telecast begins at 7 p.m. on FSN Bay Area HD.
 
FINAL SO 1 2 3 OT SO T
Nashville   1 0 2 0 1 (2-4) 4
San Jose   2 0 1 0 0 (1-4) 3
Video Highlights 
Official Scoresheet Official Super Stats
Boxscore Faceoffs
Play-by-Play Shift Chart
Rosters TOI - NSH|SJS
Shootout Details
NSH: FIDDLER, V. (16:34 in 1st), ERAT, M. (PPG, 06:29 in 3rd), RADULOV, A. (PPG, 14:53 in 3rd)
SJS: BERNIER, S. (PPG, 12:07 in 1st), CARLE, M. (PPG, 18:50 in 1st), VLASIC, M. (15:51 in 3rd)
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