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Sharks starting to play like Sharks
Win streak extended to 3 with 3-1 win in Nashville
10/25/11 - By Mike Lee -
The Sharks continue to string together strong performances on the road, winning their third straight away from HP Pavilion on Tuesday night. San Jose turned in a workmanlike performance in Nashville to collect another two points in the standings. The win helped the Sharks keep pace with the Dallas Stars, who also won. Not typically an offensive powerhouse, Nashville tried lulling the Sharks into a mistake with a steady, almost methodical and grinding style.

Antti Niemi only faced 20 shots, which was almost half the rubber he saw in Boston on Saturday night.

San Jose grabbed the 1-0 lead 14:22 into the contest via a shorthanded tally by Logan Couture. With Justin Braun in the penalty box for holding, the Sharks penalty killers made the most of their opportunity. Couture and Martin Havlat tried working the puck deep into the Predators zone with a series of short passes to each other down the ice. With the puck on his stick, Havlat put on the breaks after crossing the Nashville blueline, then ripped a shot that bounced off the end boards. Lurking in the vicinity of the net, Couture swiped at Havlat's rebound, chipping the puck past Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne.

Havlat's assist, was his 3rd in as many games, extending his perfect scoring streak since making his Sharks debut last Friday night in New Jersey.

San Jose played the perfect period on the road, smothering the Predators offensive chances. The Predators were limited to a paltry 5 shots in the period.

Rinne was stingy as well, limiting the Sharks to the lone goal through the first two periods. The Predators netminder faced 27 shots in those first two periods, but kept is team close with solid goaltending.

Niemi's only blemish on the evening, came 13 minutes into the final period. Craig Smith deposited his 3rd goal of the season on a Nashville power play after Ryane Clowe was sent off for unsportsmanlike conduct. San Jose had been flirting with danger on the penalty kill, surrendering 4 power play chances throughout the evening.

Perpetual pest Jordin Tootoo laid out Couture with a hit in front of the penalty box, and Clowe took exception with the hit and tried to engage the Predators forward. The penalty proved costly for the Sharks, when Craig Smith sent a backhand shot off a deflection in tight past Niemi to tie the game at 1-1.

Joe Pavelski answered less than a minute later with his 5th goal of the season. The Sharks forward jammed a backhanded chance of his own past Rinne from past the right post with 5:51 to play. Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau helped work the puck behind the Predators net, where Pavelski gained control of it and put the puck on net with his feet well behind the goal line.

The defense puts the clamps on the Nashville the rest of the way, holding the Predators to only 8 shots in the final period.

Nashville head coach Barry Trotz didn't waste any time pulling Rinner with 75 seconds to play, but Pavelski added an empty-net 3 seconds later to put the kibosh on any Predators comeback.

Game Notes:

Thornton earned his 700th career assist on Paelski's second goal, making him the 50th player in NHL history to reach that mark.


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Scoring
1 2 3 T
SJ 1 0 2 3
NSH 0 0 1 1
1st period - 1, SJ, Couture 2 (Havlat), 14:22, (sh).
2nd period - None.
3rd period - 2, NSH, Smith 3 (Weber, Fisher), 13:12, (pp). 3, SJ, Pavelski 5 (Marleau, Thornton), 14:09. 4, SJ, Pavelski 6 (Marleau, Thornton), 18:48, (en).
Penalties
1st period - Braun, SJ (holding), 12:28; Spaling, NSH (holding the stick), 15:35.
2nd period - Kostitsyn, NSH (tripping), 4:42; Winchester, SJ (illegal check to head), 9:58.
3rd period - Braun, SJ (holding), 2:37; Clowe, SJ (unsportsmanlike conduct), 11:50.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
SJ - Niemi 20 19
NSH - Rinne 35 33
NSH - empty net 1 0
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 17 10 9 36
NSH 7 5 8 20
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 2
NSH 1 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Joe Pavelski
Craig Smith
Logan Couture
Attendence
15,121
Officials
Referees: O'Rourke, StLaurent. Linesmen: Galloway, Gibbs.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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