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Game 1 Report Card
Grading the series
4/11/07 - By Mike Lee

Game 1 turned out to be a roller coaster ride for both teams. How did they fare in the fundamentals and how important was it to the outcome of the game? We rank the basics and tell you who the heros and goats were in the Game 1 Report Card:

Team Matchups San Jose Nashville
Offense B+San Jose showed great resolve when they had to in the 2nd period. Three consecutive goals in the period should have secured the win. BNashville got the job done in the 3rd period when the chips were down. Scoring the tying goal with 51 seconds left in regulation shows the Preds offens is the real deal.
Defense C+Marc-Edourd Vlasic led all skaters with 35 minutes of ice time. San Jose played solid defense for 40 minutes, then went into a prevent posture in the 3rd. They must play 60 minutes of of hockey. Craig Rivet and Scott Hannan had solid games CThe Predators let the Sharks push them around. The size matchup clearly hurt the Predators in the defensive end. The tell tale sign came in the 2nd period when Marek Zidlicky and Shea Weber backed into their own goal as a means of defending it.
Power Play D+The Sharks did nothing to respond to Cheechoo's injury on the resulting 5 minute major. They were disorganized and had a difficult time gaining the zone. They only converted, when skating with a 2-man advantage. DThe Predators were a discombobulated on the power play as San Jose was. No serious threats generated on 5 chances hurt the Predators chances of competing early in this game.
Penalty Kill B+Curtis Brown and Mike Grier may turn out to be the biggest acquisitons of the year for GM Doug Wilson if the tandem continues to shut down opposing power play units. The Predators failed to generate much on the power play. AThe Predators showed why they had the 2nd ranked penalty kill in the league during the regular season. The Nashville PK kept the Sharks from generating any serious scoring chances, including a 2 minute opportunity in overtime.
Goaltending A-Nabokov was big when he had to be. His stop of Jordan Tootoo's breakaway attempt gave the Sharks a chance to win. The score may not reflact his solid play, but Nabokov did his job well. 39 saves ina playoff game is nothing to sneeze at. B+Tomas Vokoun kep the Sharks from busting the game wide open in the 1st period. San Jose controlled the tempo of the game, but several big stops, including his sliding save on Ryane Clowe's breakaway attempt early was clutch. his stop on Patrick Marleau's scpring chance late in the 2nd overtime was huge.
Individual Matchups    
Hero  Patrick Rissmiller - His game winner was the second most impressive play on the night. His spin move along the end boards before setting up Mike Grier with the Sharks 2nd goal was something we haven't seen from Rissmiller in his career in San Jose.

Marc-Edourd Vlasic (Honorable Mention) - His 35 minutes of solid defense may have been the most impressive unnoticed thing all night. Vlasic was also a +! in 55 shifts on teh night.
 J.P. Dumont - Clutch goals, including the tally that tied the game at 4-4 got the Predators into the extra session. Dumont was the best skater on the ice for Nashville all night. Pretty impressive for a team that incudes Peter Forsberg, Paul Kariya and Steve Sullivan.

Alexander Radulov (Honrable Mention) - Sharks defenseman Kyle McLaren is still trying to figure out how Radulov got passed him en route to his second goal of the game. The 2 goal performance is pretty impressive for a guy that was playing in the QMJHL last year.
Goat  Patrick Rissmiller - His gaff in the final minute of overtime is a mistake that gets you deluxe seats in the press box for teh duration of the playoffs. Credit to Sharks head coach Ron Wilson for sticking with Rissmiller in the overtime periods.  Marek Zidlicky - Defensive lapses in the 2nd period allowed San Jose to capitalize. His soft play on Michalek's goal was the most obvious mistake, but he was also on the ice when Carle scored and bad positioning allowed Rissmiller to bag the game winner.

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