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Sharks finally lose
Win streak snapped by Predators in the Shootout
2/2/13 - By Mike Lee -

The streak is over. Facing one of the weaker teams in the NHL, San Jose fell to the Nashville Predators 2-1 in a shootout after one of the stranger games of the season. The Sharks succumbed to a Predators team that lured them into a grinding game that played into Nashville's strength. Martin Havlat went from goat to hero to goat within a 30 minute span to have one of the most interesting games of his professional career.

The Predators weren't going to light up the score sheet, so they bogged down the game by clogging up the defensive zone and then waited for a select offensive opportunity. That opportunity would come a minute into the 3rd period via an Sergei Kostitsyn goal.

Nashville had only 13 shots on goal through the first two periods but their first of the 3rd period beat Antti Niemi. Kostitsyn slid into the slot from the right side, using a screen by Dan Boyle to block Niemi's view of the low trajectory shot. Boyle was forced to step away from the net to cover the Predators winger, but Kostitsyn whipped a shot between the Shark defender's skates.

The goal put the Predators ahead, but only because the Sharks blew a chance to take the lead a period earlier.

That's where Havlat enters the story.

With the Sharks struggling to get any rubber to the net, Ryane Clowe fired a shot through a screen. The puck slipped through Pekka Rinne's pads before hitting the left post and perching itself on the goal line. Havlat was first to the puck, but he assumed it had crossed the goal line. Rather than tap home a sure goal, the Sharks forward began to lift his arms in celebration, before realizing that Clowe's shot didn't cross the goal line.

The Predators defense was able to collapse on the loose puck and stuff it into Rinne's pads to cash in Havlat's gift.

Havlat would atone for his gaff later in the 3rd period after the Predators were penalized for having too many men on the ice at 12:26. The Sharks worked the puck into the left corner, before Scott Gomez found Havlat cutting toward the goal from the left wing boards.

Havlat took Gomez's pass and lifted a backhand shot just inside the left post as he cut across the slot.

Niemi stopped a Mike Fisher shot that materialized in a flash after Colin Wilson worked a puck off the end boards and flipped it to the front of the Sharks crease with 4:40 left in regulation. Niemi was wide enough to over the goal mouth and keep the game tied.

Nashville outshot the Sharks 9-7 in the 3rd period but the teams were forced to try and decide things in extra time.

Nashville looked poised to decide things in the overtime session when David Legwand put a shot on net from 6 feet out with 2:39 left, but Niemi stuck his left pad out to stone the Predators centerman.

Havlat's evening took another turn for the worse moments later, when he took a hooking penalty at 2:48. San Jose was forced to try and kill the 4-on-3 penalty with little chance to pull out a win in the overtime. The penalty kill made two key blocks that kicked the puck out of the Sharks defensive zone. The penalty expired with 7 seconds left in the overtime period, stirring the sellout crowd into a frenzy.

Rinne silenced them by stopping Michal Handzus, Clowe and Joe Pavelski in the shootout. Craig Smith beat Niemi by faking right, then cutting left before lifting a backhand shot top shelf for the only goal Nashville would need.


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1 2 3 OT SO T
NSH 0 0 1 0 1 2
SJ 0 0 1 0 0 1
1st period - None.
2nd period - None.
3rd period - 1, NSH, Kostitsyn 1 (Wilson), 0:59. 2, SJ, Havlat 3 (Gomez), 13:39, (pp).
Overtime - None.
Shootout - SJ: Handzus (miss), Clowe (miss), Pavelski (miss). NSH: Legwand (miss), Smith (goal).
1st period - Yip, NSH (holding), 0:59; Murray, SJ (slashing), 2:56; Blum, NSH (interference), 16:15; Boyle, SJ (interference), 19:39.
2nd period - Murray, SJ (interference), 4:29; Fisher, NSH (slashing), 6:05; Marleau, SJ (high sticking), 7:07; Legwand, NSH, (tripping), 17:01.
3rd period - Bench, NSH (too many men), 12:26.
Overtime - Havlat, SJ (hooking) 2:48.
Shots Saves
NSH - Rinne 27 26
SJ - Niemi 24 23
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
NSH 6 7 9 2 24
SJ 8 11 7 1 27
Power Play Conversion
NSH 0 of 4
SJ 1 of 5
3 Stars of the Game
Pekka Rinne
Antti Niemi
Sergei Kostitsyn
Referees: Dwyer, Meier. Linesmen: McElman, Murchison
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees


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