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Opening night flop
Out of tune in Music City
10/5/05 - by Mike Lee

So much for the undefeated preseason and all the hoopla surrounding the Sharks chances to compete for a Stanley Cup. All those things didn't mean squat on Wednesday night as the NHL Unveiled it's new brand of hockey, including an opening night showdown in Nashville between the Predators and San Jose. The Predators rallied for two goals in the 3rd period to christen the new season with a 3-2 win over the NHL's preseason dominators.

Scott Hartnell flipped the puck on goal from 40 feet, fooling Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov and sending the Predators home winners. The Sharks sloppy play late in the game cost them on a night where new rules and new game tempo was at center stage.

Paul Kariya, the big free agent that San Jose chose not to pursue during the summer, bit the Sharks with a goal early in the 3rd period to erase a 2-1 Sharks lead. Kariya tapped in a rebound on a David Legwand shot that Nabokov could not corral.

San Jose turned the tide of the game in the middle period with up tempo skating and a ferocious forecheck, but they packed it in the 3rd period and Kariya and Hartnell would make them pay.

Nashville opened the game with a Scott Walker goal 8:24 into the game. Walker redirected a cross-ice pass from Steve Sullivan who undressed Tom Preissing with a series of dipsy-doodle moves while cycling around in the left corner.

San Jose got on the board late in the 1st period after Patrick Marleau scooped up a deflected shot on the penalty kill and raced up ice to beat Tomas Vokoun on a short handed attempt.

Nils Ekman gave the Sharks the lead midway through the 2nd period on a tip in from the left post. Milan Michalek made a nice pass to Ekman from the right wing after drawing Vokoun to the right post. Michalk slipped a backhanded pass across the top of the crease to Ekman who had broken past a Predator's defender.

Sharks head coach Ron Wilson has plenty to readdress with his team, which lost 38 of 55 faceoffs and failed to generate any offense in the final period. The Sharks were also 0-for-6 on the power play, which is an area the Sharks must excel if they intend on being successful in the new look NHL this season.

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1 2 3 T
SJ 1 1 0 2
NSH 1 0 2 3
1st period - 1, Nashville, Walker 1 (Sullivan, Suter), 8:24. 2, San Jose, Marleau 1, 19:53, (sh).
2nd period - 3, San Jose, Ekman 1 (Michalek), 7:09.
3rd period - 4, Nashville, Kariya 1 (Legwand), 1:10. 5, Nashville, Hartnell 1 (Markov), 15:47.
1st period - Kariya, NAS (interference), 4:32; Erat, NAS (hooking), 11:53; Hannan, SJS (holding), 14:13; McLaren, SJS (holding stick), 18:17
2nd period - Suter, NAS (delay of game), 7:48; Johnson, NAS (hooking), 17:16
3rd period - Suter, NAS (holding stick), 2:12; Sullivan, NAS (delay of game), 5:50; Clowe, SJS (goalie interference), 9:12
  Shots Saves
SJ - Nabokov 25 22
NSH - Vokoun2422
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 5 11 8 24
NSH 8 5 12 25
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 6
NSH 0 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Scott Hartnell
Paul Kariya
Patrick Marleau
Referees: Mike Hasenfrantz, Shane Heyer. Linesmen: Greg Devorski, Vaughan Rody.

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