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Cat Chum?
Game 3 will tell
4/15/07 - By Ken Smyth

Okay, Monday night- the game we've been waiting for since the Sharks' dropped game six last year in Edmonton. Episode three of "Dancing With The Preds", and who'll get voted , err carted off this time? Naturally, the Nashville Predators would like payback by laying a four-straight loss pounding on the Sharks, and it looks like somebody studied the video of that Oilers series to see how it was done. Sharks have all the talent needed to take the Preds apart in ways that are illegal in seventeen states and four provinces, they just mysteriously go brain dead for two or three game stretches and that's all Nashville needs to win.

This is not the same team we saw a year ago. In 2006 Nashville went like kittens into the bag that got dropped into the Guadalupe River, this year they really are Predators and need to be handled as such. The Sharks need to put on some extra effort to win this series, effort they'll need anyway if they want to be playing in June.

Barry Trotz and Ron Wilson took the trash talk out of the dressing room and put it in the coach's press conference where it belongs. Way to go, guys! This year it's harder to find a spot above the fold in the "˜Tennessean" sports section between Nascar and outrage over Pac Man Jones; give both coaches honorable mention for doing their part to increase circulation.

If we're going to play out in the alley, the Predators are seriously undergunned with bantamweights Jordin Tootoo and Scott Hartnell and the Sharks want to be healthy for the next series against Detroit or Anaheim. While neither coach wants this to be a goon series; it is playoff hockey, attrition is a tactic and teams that aren't physical won't be playing in May.

After watching Minnesota and Anaheim bouncing around yesterday I really can't say the refs are calling this series any differently than any other. Expect some hard checking in the first period, and Mick McGeough (as is customary) will be putting a lot of guys in the box from both teams. What we need to see is Joe Thornton unleash that mean streak he usually keeps in second gear and maybe take a penalty or two against the smallish Nashville defensemen.

As for the real game, on the ICE (!), the Sharks weapon all season was the power-play and they need to use their speed and size to draw penalties and find a way to solve the Predators' penalty kill. Also, stop being so sloppy in their own end of the ice. The Predators are doing a great job picking up turnovers in the Sharks' zone, if they get a better percentage past Evgeni Nabokov the Sharks will be fishing soon. The loss of Alex Radulov will hurt the Predators Game three tonight, but Peter Forsbug and Paul Kariya will be enough to handle. Go Sharks!

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