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Back to basics, check
SJ takes 2-1 series lead with 3-1 win
4/16/07 - by Mike Lee

With their attention focused back on the game plan, the Sharks manhandled the Nashville Predators in a 3-1 victory in Game 3 of their Western Conference Quarterfinal match-up on Monday night. The Sharks used their size to pound the Predators into submission, then chipped away with 3 unanswered goals before a sellout crowd at HP Pavilion. The victory gave the Sharks a 2-1 series lead, which continues on Wednesday night in San Jose.

With 4 lines rolling all night, the Sharks kept a constant dose of fore-checking and puck control in the Predators end of the rink to keep Nashville from mounting any serious charge. Mike Grier and Bill Guerin led the charge by buzzing around the rink all night.

Grier led the Sharks with 7 shots on goal, and added 4 hits and 2 steals. His check on Martin Erat midway through the 2nd period, sent the Predators left wing to the bench for the rest of the evening.

The Predators claimed Erat suffered an injury to his right leg, but Erat seemed to be favoring his shoulder while slouched over on the bench following the Grier leveling.

Tomas Vokoun was a busy man, facing 41 shots from the Sharks, including 18 in the 2nd period. A constant barrage of pucks on net would eventually wear down the Predators after staking them to a 1-0 lead midway through the opening period.

Having been out-shot 11-7 in the period, the Predators still took a 1-0 lead into the 1st intermission after Ryan Suter scored his 1st goal of the playoffs. Nashville used a series of passes that opened up a shooting lane on a rush up ice. David Legwand took a cross-ice feed from J.P. Dumont as the Predators entered the zone, before sending the puck to Suter through the slot. Evgeni Nabokov was forced to cutoff Legwand's angle, which exposed the entire right side of the net. All Nabokov could do was flail at Suter's shot as it sailed into the Sharks net.

Nabokov kept San Jose in the game with a nifty pad stop on Jason Arnott 4 minutes into the middle period while the two teams skated 4-on-4. Nabokov was forced to extend his right leg out to cover the left post as Arnott tried stuffing the puck home.

After misfiring on a series of passes early on, the Sharks finally got things clicking offensively when Craig Rivet sent a puck on net from the right point. Milan Michalek was running interference in the lane and tipped the shot past Vokoun for the 1-1 tie.

Matt Carle would setup the Sharks 2nd goal of the period with a cross-ice pass of his own from the left circle at the 12:18 mark. Carle found Ryane Clowe on the off wing, for a one-time attempt that slipped inside the right post for the Sharks lead.

The one-goal lead that San Jose held was put to the test when Scott Hannan was sent off for cross checking at 18:14 of the period, then again when Michalek was called for a questionable goaltender interference penalty 6 minutes into the 3rd period. On both occasions, the Sharks used the body to gain control of the puck deep in their own zone before clearing it.

Patrick Marleau would finally give the Sharks some breathing room with 4:26 remaining in regulation by scoring his 1st goal of the series. Marleau created the scoring chance by forcing a turnover deep in the Predators zone. Continuing with the fore-check theme, Marleau forced Predators defenseman Dan Hamhuis to make an errant pass from his own end boards. Hamhuis' pass was picked off by Bill Guerin, who changed directions in the slot and sent a shot on net. Marleau tipped Guerin's attempt as he cut across the slot.

Vokoun tried in vane to leave the ice for the extra attacker, but the Sharks kept pressing between the bluelines. He managed to get to his own bench with 40 seconds remaining in regulation, but it was too late for Nashville to mount any semblance of an attack.


A moment of silence was observed before the game for former Sharks goaltender's coach Warren Strelow who died last Wednesday, and for the victims of the Virginia Tech University shooting on Monday. San Jose had intended to recognize former Sharks Gaetan Duchesne, who died on Monday morning from a heart attack, but the Va Tech incident precluded it.

Steve Bernier was in the lineup after getting knocked out of Game 2 from a cheapshot by rookie forward Alexander Radulov. Radulow was in the press box, serving his 1-game suspension for the hit.

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1 2 3 T
NSH 1 0 0 1
SJ 0 2 1 3
1st period - 1, NSH, Suter 1 (Legwand, Dumont), 11:53.
2nd period - 2, SJ, Michalek 2 (Rivet, Thornton), 8:38. 3, SJ, Clowe 2 (Carle, Ehrhoff), 12:18.
3rd period - 4, SJ, Marleau 1 (Guerin), 15:34.
1st period - Fiddler, NSH (tripping), 14:06; Suter, NSH (holding), 17:16.
2nd period - Forsberg, NSH (roughing), 2:59; Grier, SJ (roughing), 2:59; Suter, NSH (slashing), 5:06; Kariya, NSH (slashing), 10:08; Timonen, NSH (holding), 13:43; Smithson, NSH (cross checking), 14:24; Hannan, SJ (cross checking), 18:14.
3rd period - Michalek, SJ (goaltender interference), 6:01.
  Shots Saves
NSH - Vokoun 41 38
SJ - Nabokov2019
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
NSH 7 7 6 20
SJ 11 18 12 41
Power Play Conversion
NSH 0 of 2
SJ 0 of 6
3 Stars of the Game
Mike Grier
Bill Guerin
Tomas Vokoun
Referees: Dave Jackson, Michael McGeough. Linesmen: Jay Sharrers, Mark Wheler.

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