Support TheFeeder, visit our sponsors
Support this community by becoming a Sponsor
  HOSER of the WEEK
  Contact Us
  Meet the Staff
  Join the Team
  Our Sponsors

Sharks push Preds to the brink
Another solid win for SJ
4/18/07 - by Mike Lee

The Nashville Predators held the best record in the NHL for much of the regular season, but a late season drop-off has them on the verge of elimination from the Stanley Cup Playoffs after the San Jose Sharks took a 2nd straight victory at HP Pavilion. San Jose used its size again to wear down the smaller Predator lineup, then outscored them 3-2 before 17,496 delirious Sharks fans.

Milan Michalek book ended a Joe Pavelski goal to provide all the offense the Sharks would need, as the host Sharks move to within one victory the conference semi-finals. Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov stopped 23 shots to earn his 21st career playoff victory.

Nabokov came up huge early, as the Predators turned up the heat from the opening faceoff in order to draw even in the series. 14 of Nashville's 23 shots came in the 1st period, but the Predators couldn't solve the Sharks netminder.

"They wanted to turn it into a track meet, which would probably be to their advantage, said Sharks head coach Ron Wilson, of Nashville's high energy start. "If it's going back and forth, they don't have to pay a price down low in their end."

J.P. Dumont had a chance to make a statement in the first 2 minutes of the game, when he found himself streaking up the right wing boards with nothing but clear ice in front of him. Dumont tried pumping a shot past Nabokov from 20 feet, but his shot sailed wide left.

"The first period, they came out hard," said Sharks defenseman Scott Hannan. "They had a lot of shots in the 1st, but let's face it, Nabby bailed us out."

Michalek would make that miss sting, by scoring his 3rd goal of the series at the 3:29 mark. Michalek snapped a wrist shot from 8 feet out after Joe Thornton backhanded a pass just outside the right post from behind the Predators net. Michalek started a rush up ice that ended with the puck bouncing across the crease to Jonathan Cheechoo who put a shot into Tomas Vokoun's pads. Alexander Radulov tried defending on the play, but ended up in his own net, which tied up Vokoun as the puck pin-balled to Thornton down low.

Joe Pavelski put the Sharks up 2-0 just 1:09 into the 2nd on a 40-foot laser beam from the high slot after taking a blueline to blueline pass fro Kyle McLaren. Pavelski crossed into the Predators zone before uncorking a shot that was screened by Predators defenseman Greg Zanon. Vokoun didn't pick up the shot until it was too late, letting it sail over his blocker for Pavelski's 1st career playoff goal.

"I just had to hold it just for a second," Pavelski said of his goal. "I was able to catch an opening. It was pretty cool. The most important part was that we got the win, but it was pretty cool (scoring).

Nashville immediately picked things up on the forecheck, preventing the Sharks from getting the puck out of their own end. Jason Arnott would capitalize on a one-timer from the same spot that Michalek scored his goal. Dumont setup the play with a pass from behind the Sharks net for his 6th point of the series.

San Jose would start to wear down the Predators. Their physical strategy would pay dividends at 12:53, when Michalek scored his 2nd goal of the game. After a Nashville turnover in their own zone, the speedy Sharks forward looped around the back of the Predators net from right to left before curling back with a backhand attempt that ricocheted off Kimo Timonen's skate. The puck redirected past Vokoun for the 2-goal lead.

"We wanted to play the same way…get the puck deep, and work their (defense). Just be in their zone, so they couldn't score," Michalek said.

That lead would prove invaluable for the Sharks who surrendered a power play goal to Scott Hartnell with just under 3 minutes to play in regulation. With Ryane Clowe in the penalty box for hooking, Predators head coach Barry Trotz pulled Vokoun for the extra attacker.

The 6-on-4 advantage would pay off. With several players collapsing on the Sharks net, David Legwand tried punching a shot past Nabokov from outside the right post, but the puck bounced back to the Predators forward, it appeared that Legwand kicked the puck through Nabokov's pads, sliding it to the center of the crease, where Hartnell jammed it home.

"The 3rd period, I thought we were even better tonight, until we took the penalty than we were the other night," Wilson said. "I don't think they had a chance until they got that last power play."

Trotz tried pulling Vokoun again as time ticked off the game clock, but the Sharks forechecker's kept the puck in the Nashville zone. The Predators finally managed to get the puck pas the Sharks blueline, but a final faceoff with 13.2 seconds left didn't provide the time Nashville needed to knot the game up.

Now Nashville finds itself deep in a 3-1 hole.

"I expect a desperate team," Hannan said of the Predators. "They're going to be flying, they're going to have their fans behind them. We just want to focus in on playing our game."


Martin Erat was scratched from the game, with what is likely a recurring injury to his knee. Erat was knocked out of Game 3 when Mike Grier gave him a shot along the boards. The Predators forward skated the length of the ice in the morning skate then headed to the dressing room.

What did you think of this article? Post your comments on the Feeder Forums

What did you think of this game? Post your comments on the Feeder Forums
1 2 3 T
NSH 0 1 1 2
SJ 1 2 0 3
1st period - 1, SJ, Michalek 3 (Thonrton, Cheechoo), 3:29.
2nd period - 2, SJ, Pavelski 1 (McLaren, Hannan), 1:06. 3, NSH, Arnott 1 (Dumont, Tootoo), 2:32. 4, SJ, Michalek 4 (Thornton, Cheechoo), 12:53.
3rd period - 5, NSH, Hartnell 1 (Legwand, Kariya), 17:08, (pp).
1st period - Clowe, SJ (hooking), 3:57; Hartnell, NSH (goaltender interference), 11:59.
2nd period - Forsberg, NSH (elbowing), 3:46; Legwand, NSH (hooking), 6:23; Tootoo, NSH (hooking), 10:33; Grier, SJ (elbowing), 14:13.
3rd period - Radulov, NSH (hooking), 10:02; Clowe, SJ (hooking), 15:40.
  Shots Saves
NSH - Vokoun 23 20
SJ - Nabokov 25 23
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
NSH 14 8 3 25
SJ 5 8 10 23
Power Play Conversion
NSH 1 of 3
SJ 0 of 5
3 Stars of the Game
Evgeni Nabokov
Milan Michalek
Mike Grier
Referees: Marc Joannette, Don Koharski. Linesmen: Jay Sharrers, Mark Wheler.

Privacy Statement   |   Contact Us   |   Advertise
Copyright 2007 All rights reserved.
This website is an unofficial and independently operated source of news
and information not affiliated with any team, or league.