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9th road win in a row
3rd period fireworks pace Sharks
12/29/07 - by Mike Lee

At this pace, the Sharks may never want to come home. The Sharks scored 4 unanswered goals, including 3 in the 3rd period, to beat the host Nashville Predators 5-2 at the Sommet Center on Saturday night. The win was the 9th straight on the road for the Sharks, who climbed back to within a point of the Dallas Stars in the Pacific Division standings. Five different Sharks scored, including teve Bernier, who added 2 assists.

The Sharks road recipe has been simple. Stay close with solid defense, then take advantage of opponent's mistakes late in the game.

Goals have been few and far between for Marcel Goc, but he opened the game's scoring with his 2nd goal of the season. Goc gobble up a rebound of a Patrick Marleau shot near the bottom of the right circle. Goc's shot beat Predators goaltender Chris Mason for the 1-0 lead.

Evgeni Nabokov picked up right where he left off on Friday night by making several big stops. Nabokov stoned Gelinas on a breakaway attempt late in the period, then kept a JP Dumont shot from finding the back of the net with a crazy sliding stop at the end of the period.

Nabokov's shutout streak would end just 1:07 into the 2nd period, when Dumont slipped a shot through traffic into the Sharks net.

The Predators would take a 2-1 lead at 6:31 of the period when Kevin Klein threw another shot on net, that weaved it's way through traffic. Nabokov was screened on the play and reacted late as the puck sailed over his left shoulder.

Crai Rivet would knot the game up at 2-2 with 8 minutes remaining in the period. Rivet sent a shot in from the right point near the right wing boards. The puck cut across the slot, catching the inside of the left post.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic gift wrapped the goal on his own doorstep after misfiring on a clearing attempt with 30 seconds remaining in the period. Nabokov snuffed out the scoring chance by making another key save in tight. Marleau almost converted for the Sharks with 5 ticks left in the period, carrying the puck in on net, only to be denied by Mason.

The Sharks would turn up the heat in the 3rd period, scoring three more goals to seal the win.

San Jose took a 3-2 lead on a Matt Carle power play goal at the 4:00 mark of the 3rd period, after Jason Arnott was sent off for hooking Milan Michalek just outside the Predators blueline. Carle cranked a shot from the point, catching the top of the right corner.

Torrey Mitchell made it 4-2 at 8:25, after the Predators coughed up the puck in their own zone. Patrick Rissmiller picked Predators defenseman Ville Koistinen's pocket in the slot, before feeding Mitchell at the bottom of the left circle as he was falling backwards. Mitchell snapped a shot from a severe angle, finding a hole between Mason's right shoulder and the left post for his 7th goal of the season.

Kyle McLaren was forced to haul down Dumont on a partial breakaway, but the Sharks killed off the Predators 5th power play of the season, which was helped by a Greg de Vries slashing penalty with 9 seconds left in McLaren's visit to the penalty box.

The Sharks would put the game out of reach right after de Vries' penalty ended, when Steve Bernier punched home a rebound from just outside the crease. Carle would earn the primary assist by putting another shot on goal from the point. After Mason made the save on Carle's shot, the puck dropped to his feet. All Bernier had to do was swat at the puck, putting it riht between Mason's skates for this 9th goal of the year.

Game Notes:

The victory gave the Sharks at least one point in their last 12 games. Curtis Brown was a healthy scratch. Douglas Murray, who is nursing a sore knee, was also scratched.

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1 2 3 T
SJ 1 1 3 5
NSH 0 2 0 2
1st period - 1, SJ, Goc 2 (Marleau, Bernier), 10:25.
2nd period - 2, NSH, Dumont 11 (Radulov, Bonk), 1:07. 3, NSH, Klein 1 (Zanon), 6:31. 4, SJ, Rivet 2 (Michalek, Thornton), 12:04.
3rd period - 5, SJ, Carle 2 (Michalek, Bernier), 4:00, (pp). 6, SJ, Mitchell 7 (Rissmiller), 8:25. 7, SJ, Bernier 9 (Carle, Thornton), 14:16.
1st period - Vlasic, SJ (tripping), 13:10; Nabokov, SJ (trippin), 15:46; Tootoo, NSH (diving), 15:46; Ehrhoff, SJ (tripping), 17:27; Bonk, NSH (tripping), 17:52.
2nd period - Nabokov, SJ (slashing), 6:55.
3rd period - Arnott, NSH (hooking), 3:30; Marleau, SJ (tripping), 4:23; Mcaren, SJ (hooking), 10:20; de Vries, NSH (slashing), 12:11.
Shots Saves
SJ - Nabokov 21 19
NSH - Mason 29 24
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 10 9 10 29
NSH 5 10 6 21
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 3
NSH 0 of 5
3 Stars of the Game
Steve Bernier
Matt Carle
Milan Michalek
Referees: Chris Lee, Kelly Sutherland. Linesmen: Pat Dapuzzo, Thor Nelson.

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