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Nashville knocks off SJ in OT
Predators win with 16 seconds remaining
1/31/04 - by Mike Lee

The Sharks ended their short two-game road trip by salvaging a point in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Nashville Predators on Saturday night. You could say that the Predators let the Sharks off the hook by even allowing the extra period. The Sharks were outplayed for much of regulation, but Evgeni Nabokov kept things close after his defense failed him on numerous occasions. Disorganization has been the disturbing pattern over the last two games, and Saturday's performance ended with a slap in the face after Marek Zidlicky scored with 16 seconds remaining in the extra period.

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1 2 3 OT T
SJ 0 2 0 0 2
NSH 0 1 1 1 3
1st period - NONE
3rd period - NSH, WALKER(LEGWAND), 07:22
1st period - NSH, ORSZAGH, 11:39 - Hooking
2nd period - S.J, EHRHOFF, 02:18 - Holding NSH, TIMONEN, 05:53 - Holding stick S.J, PRIMEAU, 10:01 - Roughing S.J, MCLAREN, 13:29 - Unsportsmanlike conduct NSH, JOHANSSON, 13:29 - Unsportsmanlike conduct S.J, HANNAN, 18:07 - Hooking
3rd period - NONE
Overtime - S.J, NABOKOV, 01:49 - Unsportsmanlike conduct NSH, WALKER, 01:49 - Unsportsmanlike conduct
  Shots Saves
SJ - Nabokov 30 27
NSH - Vokoun 26 24
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
SJ 5 15 5 1 26
NSH 9 8 7 6 30
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 2
NSH 1 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Scott Walker
Marek Zidlicky
Evgeni Nabokov
Zidlicky scored on a rebound off a Scott Walker shot after the Sharks turned the puck over in the neutral zone and allowed the Predators to waltz in on Nabokov. The Predators had already peppered Nabokov with five shots in the overtime period, but Walker took advantage of just one of many breakdowns.

Walker tied the game at 2-2 at 7:22 of the 3rd period by snapping a shot past a fallen Nabokov from point blank range. Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart and Scott Hannan seemed lost on the ice for much of the evening, and neither was in Walker's vicinity after the two loaded the opposite side of the ice. David Legwand's initial shot kicked out to Walker on the left wing, leaving Nabokov exposed with no help.

The Sharks looked as if they might steal a win after taking a 2-1 lead late in the 2nd period after Wayne Primeau scored his sixth goal of the season.

San Jose received a gift in the 1st period when game officials ruled that Patrick Marleau's chip shot out of a scrum on the Predators doorstep crossed the goal line. Video replay did not show any conclusive evidence that the puck crossed the line, but Marleau was credited with his 22nd goal of the season after a lengthy review.

Legwand opened the games scoring with a power play tally just four minutes into the contest.

Play of the Game
Zidlicky's game-winning overtime tally was justice for the Predators, who had outworked San Jose all night long. Tough break for Nabokov who actually deserved a better fate after making 27 saves.

The Turning Point
Walker's goal was a back breaker, because the Predators are not a team blessed with a lot of offensive power, speed or anything else that helps generates scoring. Consider that the Predators weren't throwing a ton of shots at Nabokov in the period is further evidence that the Sharks were just out of synch all evening.

Save of the Game
Vokoun and Nabokov made several key stops throughout the evening, but none was more important that a kick save that the Predators goalie made on a Marco Sturm shot midway through the 3rd period. The Sharks drew the Predators to the right side of the net and a deflection kicked out to Sturm breaking in the opposite direction. His shot looked destined for the back of the net, but Vokoun's right pad lashed out at the last moment, deflecting the shot.

Box Scores Do No Justice
Nabokov drew an unsportsmanlike penalty in the overtime period along with Walker after the Predators forward took a poke at the Sharks netminder in front of the Sharks net. Play had been whistled dead when Walker started mixing it up with Hannan in the crease. Nabokov tried to get out of the crease, but he ended up taking two shots to the mask. He responded by throwing a couple of quick jabs himself. So much for protecting goaltenders.

Honorable Mention
Sharks rookie defenseman Christian Ehrhoff continued to struggle on Saturday. After making several mistakes in the Sharks loss to Dallas on Friday night, Ehrhoff extended his streak of gaffs with three plays that resulted in scoring opportunities for the Predators.

"We had our opportunities to put the game away, and unfortunately, we didn't. When you don't finish a team, if somebody's a little off or makes a mental mistake, they are going to get paid back in spades." - Sharks head coach Ron Wilson

"Every game we play, it's kind of a joke. We come in here and say, `This is the biggest game of the year.' Then we come back the next game and say, `This is the biggest game of the year.' They're all huge for us because we are playing so many teams in our conference." - Scott Walker

"The Sharks' line was tired so I figured I would just drive to the net. I ended up crashing the net and Zidlicky came in and buried it." - Walker

The Dallas Stars moved to within three points of the Sharks Pacific Division lead with a 5-4 win over the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night. The Sharks enjoyed a nine point lead in the Pacific as recently as two weeks ago.

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