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Sharks stink but still win
Dan Boyle saves SJ with late goal
11/10/09 - By Mike Lee -

Playing struggling teams should be a prime opportunity to rack up points in the standings. The Nashville Predators haven’t exactly been lighting up the league early this season, so Tuesday night’s affair with the Sharks at HP Pavilion should have been as easy as shooting fish in a barrel to come up with a point or two. Problem is, the Sharks turned in one of the most uninspired performances of the year. San Jose managed to squeeze out a win on a last minute goal by Defenseman Dan Boyle, but the Sharks those may have been the most undeserved points of the season.

Call it a let down after their inspiring play against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night, or playing down to an opponent. In either case, it wasn’t the kind of perforce the coaching staff was looking for.

Backup goaltender Thomas Greiss probably would have preferred more offensive support early on, but his play was sufficient to earn his second win of the season.

"I'm not sure it was the game we wanted to see," said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan. " I guess what we have to make clear is we won a game tonight. We found a way to come from behind in the third period. Those are positives, and we got a pretty good start from our goaltender that hasn't played for a while. And then after that I don't think we played very well individually or collectively. We made far too many turnovers, the odd-number rushes that we gave up in the first and second periods were way too many, and as a result anytime we got the puck we gave it back to them and ended up chasing them all night. So very little offense, a lot of frustration probably on our team, so obviously we have a little bit of work to do."

Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski teamed up to the put the Sharks up 1-0 midway through the opening period. Marleau drove to the net, carrying the puck outside the right post, before spotting Pavelski cutting down the slot, and sliding a pass back to his linemate. Pavelski one-timed a shot that roofed over Predators goaltender Dan Ellis.

Greiss made things a bit more adventurous moments later, after he lost his stick during a rush by the Predators. Steve Sullivan started the wild sequence with a partial break that ended with him in the net, but thankfully for San Jose , without the puck.

Nashville continued to push the play, but Greiss was able to make a nice glove save with 2 minutes remaining in the period. Greiss wouldn’t be so lucky after the next faceoff. Martin Erat put a shot on goal from the right side that deflected off Greiss, popping straight up into the air.

The puck floated past Greiss, landing behind him in the crease. Nashville center Michael Santorelli dashed into the crease with Manny Malhotra pursuing, but the Predator got a stick on the puck, knocking into the Sharks goal to knot the game at 1-1.

Jamie McGinn put the Sharks back on top at 2:33 of the 2nd period. Brad Staubitz put a shot on goal from the left side that kicked out to McGinn, who was breaking in on the off wing. McGinn gathered the deflection and lifted a shot that sailed over Eliis’ glove hand for his 3rd goal of the season.

A Derek Joslin cross checking penalty put the Predators on the power play at 6:32 of the period. The Sharks made things even more interesting when Scott Nichol was injured on the penalty kill and McGinn broke his stick all with the puck deep in the Sharks zone. With the sharks defending the goal opposite their bench, they couldn’t get either play off the ice. Nichol stuck with things and managed to clear the puck, diverting the dicey situation.

Former Sharks forward Marcel Goc made his return to HP Pavilion and bit his former team with his 1st goal of the season at with 5 minutes remaining in the period. Not known for his scoring prowess when he wore teal, Goc put a head fake on rookie defenseman Jason Demers at the left dot before snapping a shot just inside the right post.

San Jose ’s flat play would get flatter in the 3rd period and that would bite them in the form of a simple play. Patric Hornqvist would throw a puck on net from the left point, and screens from two Shark defenders would allow the puck to weave past Greiss to put the Predators on top.

"Going on the road and coming home that first game, what's different between the first game and the second game?" pondered McLellan. "You're home and you're prepared. Ultimately its respect for your opponent, which I believe we have, a lot of respect for that team they're very well coached and they work extremely hard. But its doing it right all the time. You can't pick and choose when you would like to have proper execution when you'd like to do it the right way and not take shortcuts. I don't think tonight we were 100% in that area."

The goal would generate a little life in the Sharks. Devin Setoguchi would tie the game 4 minutes later with a blast from the top of the left circle. The goal was notable, because it was Setoguchi’s first game back since suffering an injury on October 24th.

Nashville defenseman Cody Franson would be whistled for holding Nichol’s stick at 13:50, giving the Sharks their first power play of the game. Nashville would deny San Jose from converting, which also seemed to re-energize them.

That energy would almost spell doom for the Sharks. Nashville held the puck in the Sharks zone and just missed on a golden chance when David Legwand found himself all alone in front of the Sharks net. The former first round draft pick would whiff on a pass through the slot, helping to preserve the tie.

With the game headed to overtime, the Sharks got one of those moments of divine intervention with a minute left in regulation. Dan Boyle took a simple feed from Ryane Clowe after crossing the Nashville blueline, then sent a shot from the bottom of the right circle that Ellis appeared to have clearly in his sights. With the netminder on his knees, the puck somehow managed to slip through Ellis’s pads, trickling across the goal line for the game winner.

"Their just a really good, deep team," said Nashville head coach Barry Trotz. "To this point, they are the most talented team we have played. Their first two lines would be the number one line in the league. They have good character guys. We know a couple of them, Nichol and Ortmeyer. Their aspirations are the Stanley Cup."

Game Notes:

Setoguchi wasn’t the only Sharks making his way back to the lineup. Ryan Vesce, who was also injured against the Atlanta Thrashers at the end of October, made his way back to the ice.


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1 2 3 T
NSH 1 1 1 3
SJ 1 1 2 4
1st period - 1, SJ, Pavelski 2 (Marleau, Heatley), 10:01. 2, NSH, Santorelli 2 (Erat, Thuresson), 18:20.
2nd period - 3, SJ, McGinn 3 (Staubitz, Vlasic), 2:33. 4, NSH, Goc 1 (Tootoo, Franson), 14:49.
3rd period - 5, NSH, Hornqvist 4 (Hamhuis), 9:29. 6, SJ, Setoguchi 8 (Boyle), 13:26. 7, SJ, Boyle 4 (unassisted), 19:00.
1st period - None.
2nd period - Joslin, SJ (cross checking), 6:32.
3rd period - Clowe, SJ (tripping), 3:13; Franson, NSH (holding the stick), 13:50.
Shots Saves
NSH - Ellis 29 25
SJ - Greiss 26 23
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
NSH 11 4 11 26
SJ 8 7 14 29
Power Play Conversion
NSH 0 of 2
SJ 0 of 1
3 Stars of the Game
Dan Boyle
Thomas Greiss
Scott Nichol
Referees: Martell, Leggo. Linesmen: Cameron, Lazarowich.

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