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No answers in Nashville
Losing streak extends to four games
10/22/05 - by Mike Lee

After sleep walking through their last two games, the Sharks finally woke up and played with the intensity required to dig them out of the malais that has plagued them on the road this season. The problem is, even with 60 minutes of high energy hockey, it wasn't enough to get them over the hump and into the win column. Playing the hottest team in the NHL right now didn't help matter either.

San Jose subsequently tripped up for the fourth consecutive game on their current six-game sojourn away from home, with a 2-1 loss to the Nashville Predators in Tennessee on Saturday night. The Sharks buckled once again in the 3rd period, allowing the Predators to steal a victory and extend the Sharks road woes.

"We got great goaltending from Tomas Vokoun," Predators head coach Barry Trotz said. "He was absolutely spectacular in the last 1½ minutes. Tomas was the reason why we won the hockey game."

Vokoun stood on his head in the final five minutes of regulation to deny the Sharks, who have only three points in seven games away from HP Pavilion this season. The Predators goaltender was almost knocked out of the game after taking a shot off his neck, but the Predators goaltender stayed in the game and finished with 37 saves on the evening.

San Jose elevated its game after being embarrassed in Columbus the night before to the league's worst team. The Sharks peppered Vokoun in the 2nd period with 18 shots on goal, and threw everything they had at him in the final two minutes of the game.

"The effort was incredible," San Jose coach Ron Wilson said. "I can't fault it. I feel like we played more than well enough to win, but we didn't. We took a step in the right direction."

San Jose may have been better prepared to win the game had they not succumbed to dumb penalties in the middle period. With Kyle McLaren already about to be sent off for slashing, Keith Primeau committed a holding penalty during the delayed penalty.

With two full minutes of 5-on-3 hockey to work with, the Predators took advantage and converted on a blast by Yannic Perreault, which split Sharks goaltender Vesa Toskala's pads.

"San Jose did a lot of good things that took us out of our game," Trotz said. "There were a lot of chances and a lot of shots. You have to do certain things against San Jose and if you refuse them you give up turnovers."

Jonathan Cheechoo had staked the Sharks to a 1-0 lead four minutes earlier on a 5-3 goal himself. Cheechoo poked in a rebound after Tom Preissing's shot bounced off Vokoun.

Scott Hartnell scored the game winner on a rebound off Toskala midway through the 3rd period. David Legwand rifled the puck at Toskala from the point, the puck bounced out to Hartnell, who was breaking in from the left wing. The Sharks failed to get a bovy on Hartnell and the game was decided.


The Sharks held a players only meeting after the loss on Friday night. San Jose held a similar meeting eight games into the 2003-04 season after starting the season poorly. The meeting raises the question, why not hold the meeting in training camp???

The Sharks recalled goaltender Nolan Schaeffer, who served as Toskala's backup. Evgeni Nabokov did not suit up after sustaining an upper body injury on Friday night.

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1 2 3 T
SJ 0 1 0 1
NAS 0 1 1 2
1st period - None
2nd period - 1, San Jose, Cheechoo 3 (Preissing, Hannan), 3:17, (pp). 2, Nashville, Perreault 3 (Hamhuis, Hall), 7:35, (pp).
3rd period - 3, Nashville, Hartnell 3 (Legwand, Suter), 11:34.
1st period - Walker, NAS (hooking), 1:13; Legwand, NAS (holding the stick), 3:20; Sturm, SJ (hooking), 10:09; Kariya, NAS (hooking), 10:22; Hannan, SJ (tripping), 15:02; McLaren, SJ (interference), 17:33; Michalek, SJ (slashing), 18:33.
2nd period - Allison, NAS (interference), 1:30; Hamhuis, NAS (tripping), 2:30; Nichol, NAS (slashing), 4:03; McLaren, SJ (slashing), 6:15; Primeau, SJ (holding), 6:15.
3rd period - Hannan, SJ (hooking), 7:22.
  Shots Saves
SJ - Toskala 30 28
NAS - Vokoun 38 37
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 9 18 11 38
NAS 11 8 11 30
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 6
NSA 1 of 7
3 Stars of the Game
Scott Hartnell
Tomas Vokoun
Vesa Toskala
Referees: Mike Hasenfratz, Shane Heyer. Linesmen:Pierre Racicot, Tony Sericolo.

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