San Jose began their third contest of the season against Nashville with Nolan Schaefer in net against Chris Mason and once again the two clubs would play a tight, one-goal affair. This time however, it was a shorthanded overtime tally by Alyn McCauley that gave San Jose a 3-2 victory and a four-game winning streak.
The first period began fast and furious as Nashville broke the ice just one minute and 35 seconds into the contest.On a two-on-one rush, Martin Erat took a Kimmo Timonen pass and fired it from the high slot.Schaefer got a piece of the puck, but not enough as it found the back of the net.
Four minutes later, Josh Langfeld fired a hard wrister on net that was deflected by Marcel Goc past Mason, tying the game at one.
No more than 30 seconds later, Nashville got a lucky break. An odd bounce took Schaefer out of the crease and Paul Kariya from behind the net centered the puck. Niko Dimitrakos was the first to the puck, but accidently knocked it into the open net.The two teams had scored in a few minutes what they did the entire game Oct. 22 in Nashville.
Jonathan Cheechoo had a shot while on a two-on-one with Marleau and the Moose Factory, Ontario native also had another prime opportunity that Mason turned away later in the first.
Nashville would take the 2-1 lead to the lockerroom.
The Sharks came out of the break ready to put pressure on Mason. After a puck was cleared from the zone, Patrick Marleau led a two-on-one charge, and at the last minute fed Milan Michalek right in front of the net. The puck was tipped in mid-air by Michalek, but it fluttered just wide.
Nashville had the next quality scoring chance as Paul Kariya lined up from the point and fired a slapshot that rang off the goalpost.
Midway through the contest Kyle McLaren and Darcy Hordichuck were both sent to the box as McLaren crushed Hordichuck to the ice. McLaren was called for boarding and Hordichuck for holding.Both squads had opportunities with the open ice, but neither could alter the score.
San Jose put 15 second period shot on the board, but Mason stood tall on several excellent chances and kept Nashville in the lead.
As San Jose approached the 30 shot plateau in third period, they were throwing everything but the kitchen sink at Mason, but the Predators netminder would not break.
For the third time in as many games with Nashville, it was a one-goal game in the third period. A Mark Eaton hooking penalty with 11 minutes remaining put Team Teal on the man advantage, but Nasvhille was tightening up the defense and the attack faltered.
When awarded another power play minutes later, San Jose would take advantage. Cheechoo found Marco Sturm down low near the goal. As the defense collapsed, Patrick Marleau dipped in to the slot. Sturm's pass was perfect and the captain unloaded a bomb that Mason has no chance to stop. For the fourth straight game, San Jose had rallied to tie a game in the third period.
And for the third time in four games, they would need overtime for find the winner.
Just one minute into the extra stanza, Nashville got a break when Rob Davison inadvertanly clipped Martin Erat with a high stick, giving the Predators a four-on-three power play.
Despite the adverse conditions, San Jose would find a way to win. Some incredible hard work by Alyn McCauley earned the victory. On the kill, he spent several seconds battling David Legwand for a loose puck. Brad Stuart quickly noticed McCauley gaining possession and moved up ice. McCauley found the open blueliner and the two were off to the races.
Stuart forced the defenseman to commit and then hit the wide open McCauley who banged home the game-winner for his first tally of the season and the 3-2 win.
Wayne Primeau missed the contest with back spasms and Scott Thornton sat due to a sore groin.Evgeni Nabokov and Vesa Toskala continue to be out on a day-to-day basis.
The Sharks will travel to Anaheim for a tilt with Anaheim.The game will not be televised, but can be heard on 98.5 KFOX, sjsharks.com and in many places on Comcast digital channel 975.
Then Saturday night, the Sharks return to HP Pavilion where they are undefeated on the season.San Jose hosts Minnesota at and tickets are still available at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and www.ticketmaster.com. The game will be televised on FSN Bay Area (in High Definition) and can be heard on .5 KFOX, sjsharks.com and in many places on Comcast digital channel 975.