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Wild finish in Music City
Win streak at 10 games
3/11/08 - by Mike Lee

The streak hit double digits on Tuesday night. San Jose came out flying, scored a pair of goals, then held on for a wild win in Nashville. The victory extended their franchise record winning streak to 10 games. Rookie goaltender Dan Ellis kept the host Predators close by stopping 40 shots, including 20 in the 2nd period alone. Evgeni Nabokov topped Ellis with a 3rd period goaltending clinic, which ended with a Predators 6-on-4 power play.

Ellis was forced to face an onslaught of scoring chances early in the contest, but he weathered the storm. The first 5 minutes of the game was a bit more wide open than the Sharks are used to, but San Jose took the edge in quality chances.

That pressure carried forward to the 2nd period, where the Sharks out-shot Nashville 20-3. When the Sharks finally cracked the scoreboard, Ellis wasn't even in the net to keep the shutout alive. With Dan Hamhuis in the penalty box for tripping, Jonathan Cheechoo sent a puck on net that hit Greg Zanon as he was falling into the Nashville net. As Joe Pavelski tried getting a stick on the puck, he was cross-checked by center Jerred Smithson, forcing him to fall into the crease. As he fell to the ice, the puck bounced off his arm, then trickled over the goal-line.

Referees, Paul Devorski and Brian Pochmara seemed befuddled with how to call the play, deciding to go upstairs to video replay. After a lengthy stoppage to review replays, the video replay judge conferred with Devorski in order to figure out if a whistle had been blown before the puck crossed the goal line. 5 minutes later, the play was ruled a goal, Pavelski's 16th of the season.

Milan Michalek put the Sharks up 2-0 just 37 seconds into the 3rd period after beating Greg de Vries to a dump in that settled in the slot. Michalek had a jump on the Predators defenseman, and raced around him to grab the loose puck, before putting a shot on Ellis. The Nashville goaltender made the initial save, but the puck kicked back out to Michalek who tapped it home for his 22nd goal of the season.

Nashville cut the Sharks lead to 2-1 on a power play at 5:29 after Kyle McLaren was sent of for roughing after retaliating against J.P. Dumont, who speared Marc-Edouard Vlasic behind the Sharks net. Jason Arnott took a Shea Weber feed along the left win boards, then fired a shot through traffic that beat Evgeni Nabokov to the upper right corner of the net.

The goal was Arnott's 49th career point against the Sharks.

McLaren would give the Predators a crack at tying the game just before the mid-point of the period by taking another penalty. Nabokov stoned Alexander Radulov moments later on a point blank shot to preserve the Sharks lead, but it would only be a warm up for the Sharks netminder. Nabokov kicked out his left pad as Radulov's shot sailed several inches above the ice on a bee-line for the Sharks net.

Vlasic would setup the wild finish by cutting Dumont with a high stick with 2:07 remaining in regulation. The double-minor to Vlasic would have allowed the Predators to potentially tie the game, and carry the extra 2 minutes into the overtime had they scored within the first two minutes of the penalty.

The Predators burned a minute of the penalty, before Nashville head coach Barry Trotz called timeout to rest his power play unit and pull Ellis in favor of the extra attacker. Arnott almost cashed in with a shot from 15 feet out, but Nabokov made the save of the game by snaring the puck with his glove hand.

Game Notes:

Jeremy Roenick was a scratch for the 3rd consecutive game. He is expected to play Friday when the Sharks return home to play the St Louis Blues. Matt Carle, Alexei Semanov and Sandis Ozolinsh were healthy scratches. The Sharks swept the season series with Nashville 4-0.


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1 2 3 T
SJ 0 1 1 2
NSH 0 0 1 1
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, SJ, Pavelski 16 (Cheechoo, Campbell), 15:32, (pp).
3rd period - 2, SJ, Michalek 22 (unassisted), 0:37. 3, NSH, Arnott (Weber, Erat), 5:29.
1st period - Team, NSH (too many men), 14:33; Shelley, SJ (interference), 18:01.
2nd period - Hlavas, NSH (holding), 2:28; Nichol, NSH (slashing), 4:19; Hamhuis, NSH (tripping), 14:41.
3rd period - Radulov, NSH (tripping), 2:18; McLaren, SJ (roughing), 5:16; McLaren, SJ (hooking), 9:43; Vlasic, SJ (high sticking - double minor), 17:53.
Shots Saves
SJ - Nabokov 27 26
NSH - Ellis 42 40
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 8 20 14 42
NSH 12 3 12 27
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 5
NSH 1 of 5
3 Stars of the Game
Dan Ellis
Evgeni Nabokov
Milan Michalek
Referees: Devorski, Pochmara. Linesmen: Pare, Brisebois.

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