The San Jose Sharks fell to the Nashville Predators 5-0 on Wednesday night, keeping them one point behind Anaheim (who also lost on Wednesday night) for the Pacific Division lead. The Sharks looked to leapfrog the Ducks and pull within four points of Nashville for first place in the West, but were outmanned by a fresher Nashville squad.
for video highlights from Wednesday’s game.
Just 10 months after dominating the Predators in the opening round of the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the San Jose Sharks returned to Nashville for Wednesday night’s matchup between the two teams. The game opened without much pace as the Sharks looked to replicate their six-goal outburst and tighten up their defense which allowed five goals one night earlier in St. Louis.
With 13:38 to play in the first, Nashville’s early-strike offense got on the scoreboard first. Predators forward J.P. Dumont broke into the Sharks zone one-on-one against Matt Carle. Carle forced the Nashville forward out wide to Vesa Toskala’s right, but Dumont beat the Sharks netminder with a perfectly placed slap shot to give Nashville the early 1-0 lead.
Dumont’s early goal seemed to jump start the Nashville offense as the Predators dominated the next two shifts, sustaining pressure in the San Jose zone. Nashville’s pressure proved to be too much for the Sharks as the Predators struck again at the midpoint of the first. Preds defenseman Shea Weber fired a laser off the post past Toskala, chasing the netminder from the game and giving Nashville a 2-0 lead.
Evgeni Nabokov, in a relief appearance for Toskala, was tested early but stood tall and preserved the two-goal deficit.
With 6:00 to play in the first, newly-acquired Predators defenseman Vitaly Vishnevski, who had earlier lunged at Curtis Brown with a cheap shot knee-to-knee hit, again took a cowardly run, this time targeting Captain Patrick Marleau
. Mike Grier responded by cross-checking Vishnevski who quickly turtled to avoid the blows as Grier was whistled for a double-minor on the play.
Nabokov made key saves during the four-minute man advantage as the Sharks regrouped defensively and stopped the slide at two goals. After 20 minutes of play, the Predators lead 2-0.
The second period opened with the same tough luck that the Sharks experienced in the first period. With 16:03 to go in the second, Jonathan Cheechoo was whistled for boarding, a highly questionable call as the winger chased down the puck on an icing call. The Sharks easily killed the third consecutive Nashville power play as San Jose continued to look for their first power play of the game.
Milan Michalek was the next victim to get bit by the penalty bug as Nashville went on their fourth consecutive power play. With just over a minute remaining on Michalek’s minor, Alexander Radulov took a hooking penalty, sending the Sharks on their first power play after a minute of four-on-four action. Predators goaltender Tomas Vokoun made the saves he needed to, keeping it a 2-0 game in favor of Nashville.
With 1:07 to go in the second, Martin Erat caught Mark Bell with a high-stick sending the Sharks on the power play. However, the second period closed without any scoring as the Sharks went into the locker room trailing 2-0.
As the third period opened, Nashville killed the remaining 53 seconds, then scored 20 seconds later making it a 3-0 lead. Erat’s goal deflated the Sharks comeback efforts and Nashville really took control of the game.
Nashville would pile on two more goals by Weber, his second, and David Legwand. Weber again would find the back of the Sharks net from the point with 13:33 to go in the third making it a 4-0 game. Legwand’s goal with 7:31 remaining was on a slick redirection that slid just inside the post and under Nabokov’s pad to his left, giving Nashville the 5-0 lead.
San Jose’s attempts to foil Vokoun’s shutout bid were unsuccessful as Vokoun earned the unspectacular but efficient shutout victory, 5-0.
Wednesday night’s game featured a pair of former teammates in Juniors that are now battling on opposite squads in the NHL with both pairs sharing the same incredible distinction. San Jose’s Josh Gorges and Nashville’s Shea Weber were teammates for the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL from 2001-04, winning the Memorial Cup in their final season as teammates in 2004. San Jose’s Marc-Edouard Vlasic
and Nashville’s Alexander Radulov were teammates for the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL from 2004-06, winning the Memorial Cup in their final season as teammates in 2006.
Evgeni Nabokov met the team in Nashville on Wednesday after missing Tuesday’s game to spend time with his family and his newborn son. With Nabokov’s return, Nolan Schaefer was returned to the Hershey Bears of the AHL. Doug Murray and Rob Davison swapped spots in the lineup, the only lineup change among skaters. Davison played left wing for the first time this season, paired with Marcel Goc and Scott Parker on the fourth line.
Michalek – Marleau – Grier
Clowe – Thornton – Cheechoo
Rissmiller – Brown – Bell
Davison – Goc – Parker
Hannan – Vlasic
Carle – McLaren
Gorges – Ehrhoff
Toskala – Nabokov
The Sharks continue on their season-long, eight-game road trip as they travel to Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets on Friday night. Game time is set for 4:00 PM (Pacific) and will be broadcast on FSN Bay Area, KFOX 98.5 FM, Sharks Radio Network affiliates and SJSHARKS.com.
|FINAL ||1 ||2 ||3 ||T |
| ||San Jose ||0 ||0 ||0 ||0 |
| ||Nashville ||2 ||0 ||3 ||5 || |
|NSH: ||DUMONT, J. (06:22 in 1st), WEBER, S. (10:02 in 1st), ERAT, M. (01:13 in 3rd), WEBER, S. (06:27 in 3rd), LEGWAND, D. (12:29 in 3rd) |