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Finally a win at home
Sharks play sloppy, but win
10/20/07 - by Mike Lee

The Sharks still have some things to work on in terms of execution, but they did enough right to win their first home game of the season, 3-0 over the visiting Nashville Predators. Evgeni Nabokov turned away 22 shots to earn his 1st shutout of the season for San Jose. After an off-season fire sale, the new look Predators were lighter in terms of team talent, but they still kept the game within reach through the middle of the 3rd period.

Both teams seemed apprehensive with the puck in the opening period. The Predators received two early power play opportunities, but failed to convert. The Sharks would try to counter on the man-advantage themselves later in the period, but San Jose's special teams play was ineffective.

Steve Bernier gave the crowd a scare, when he went flying headfirst into the end boards behind Nashville's net. Bernier was caught off balance as he fought for a puck with Ryan Suter, then speared the boards with his helmet and shoulder. He would skate away from the boards, escaping injury somehow.

Mike Grier missed on a golden opportunity early in the 2nd period after a bad bounce ended up on his stick with nobody between him and goaltender Chris Mason. Grier snapped a shot from 10 feet, but Mason snared it with his glove.

Scott Nichol was sent off a minute into de Vries penalty after he threw the puck over the glass for a delay of game penalty, giving the Sharks a 5-on-3 for almost a full minute. Jeremy Roenick would make the Predators pay with his 498th career goal. Joe Thornton slid a backdoor pass across the slot from the right dot and Roenick buried it for the 1-0 Sharks lead.

Christian Ehrhoff missed pushing the Sharks lead to 2 goals by bouncing a shot off the left post moments after Roenick's goal. Milan Michalek also missed on a one-timer from point blank range, after Thornton set him up with a pretty pass from behind the Predators net.

Milan Michalek had a short handed break midway through the 3rd period after Kyle McLaren was sent to the box for cross checking. Michalek grabbed a loose puck at center ice then sailed past Dan Hamhuis on the way to the Nashville net. Mason stood tall, denying Michalek who tried stuffing it inside the left post with a backhand move.

San Jose finally applied some sustained pressure with 8 minutes to play, controlling the puck in the Nashville zone for an eternity. Thornton, Joe Pavelski and Patrick Rissmiller cycled the puck between each other, wearing down the Nashville defense. On the ensuing shift Patrick Marleau took a pass from Torrey Mitchell at center ice, then ripped a shot that handcuffed Mason. The puck bounced up in the air and pin balled off Mason's paddle and into the net.

The goal finally gave the Sharks the buffer they needed to fend off the pesky Predators.

Nashville head coach Barry Trotz pulled Mason with 2 minutes to play, but the Predators could only generate one quality chance. Michalek buried an empty-netter late after Thornton picked off a pass in the defensive zone, then played patty-cake with Michalek down the length of the ice.

Although he faced a relatively light load, Nabokov had a textbook performance, stopping everything that Nashville threw at him. The Sharks netminder didn't help the Predators with big rebounds.

Game Notes:

Marcel Goc felt the rath of Sharks head coach Ron Wilson for his performance on Thursday against Detroit, and earned a seat in the press box Saturday night. Curtis Brown was also a healthy scratch. Wilson elected to go with 7 defensemen, suiting up both Douglas Murray and Rob Davison. Davison saw some time on offense.

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1 2 3 T
NSH 0 0 0 0
SJ 0 1 2 3
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, SJ, Roenick 3 (Thornton, Rivet), 4:52, (pp).
3rd period - 2, SJ, Marleau 2 (Mitchell, Ehrhoff), 13:39. 3, SJ, Michalek 4 (Thornton, Grier), 19:53, (en).
1st period - Thornton, SJ (hooking), 1:11; Ehrhoff, SJ (cross checking), 3:01; Nichol, NSH (roughing), 9:49; Bernie, SJ (roughing), 9:49; Suter, NSH (hooking), 10:57; de Vries, NSH (tripping), 18:06.
2nd period - de Vries, NSH (tripping), 3:21; Nichol, NSH (delay of game - puck over glass), 4:19; Erat, NSH (goaltender interference), 8:58; Pavelski, SJ (roughing), 11:46; Nichol, NSH (roughing), 15:31.
3rd period - McLaren, SJ (cross checking), 7:37; Thornton, SJ (interference), 10:22; Cheechoo, SJ (holding), 14:34;
Shots Saves
NSH - Mason 19 17
NSH - empty net10
SJ - Nabokov2222
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
NSH 10 4 8 22
SJ 7 9 4 20
Power Play Conversion
NSH 0 of 6
SJ 1 of 6
3 Stars of the Game
Evgeni Nabokov
Jeremy Roenick
Torrey Mitchell
Referees: Wes McCauley, Michael McGeough . Linesmen: Brian Mach, Mark Wheler.

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