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Solid outing gets SJ back on track
Power play powers Sharks past Predators
3/2/13 - By Mike Lee -

It's a new month, and hopefully a new beginning for the Sharks. They kicked off the month of March with a solid performance against a Nashville Predators team that has had their number this season. The Sharks lost the season series with a pair of losses earlier this season, but they were able to salvage a win in their third and final game against Nashville by 2-1 count at HP Pavilion. San Jose received quality output up and down the lineup, taking it to the Predators.

One thing Sharks head coach Todd McLellan wanted out of his lineup was more shots on goal. His team responded with a 39 shot night, peppering Pekka Rinne with rubber all night long. Rinne faced double digit shot-counts in each of the first two periods, including 16 in the opening period.

San Jose also focused on the power play, which has been down-right awful the past four weeks. The Sharks converted on two if their four chances to generate all the offense they would need. They had scored three power play goals in their previous 52 chances on the man-advantage, which has attributed to their inability to win many games in February.

Former Sharks Scott Hannan was sent off for throwing a pick 6:38 into the game, but the Sharks impotent power play whiffed on the man advantage. Antti Niemi was forced to bail out his teammates toward the end of the power play after a turnover near the Nashville blueline turned into a breakaway chance for the Predators.

Kevin Klein was forced to slash Logan Couture who had built a head of steam on his way around the Predators defense with 2:32 remaining in the period. This time, the Sharks made Nashville pay for their transgressions. Dan Boyle rifled a shot from the point past Pekka Rinne, as Joe Pavelski screened the Predators goaltender with a body in front of the net.

The power play went on a binge, when Joe Pavelski scored on the man-advantage 9:12 into the 2nd period after defenseman Ryan Ellis tripped Andrew Desjardins 15 seconds earlier). Pavelski jammed a puck past Rinne from the doorstep after Patrick Marleau sent a puck to the front of the net.

Joe Thornton earned the secondary assist, which netted him his 1100th career NHL point, moving him to 56th on the all-time scoring list. Thornton had to do a little cajoling to get the puck from linesman Jay Sharrers.

The Sharks 4th power play of the evening didn't turn out to be as rewarding. Rookie defenseman Matt Irwin got caught flat footed along the left wing boards as Gabriel Bourque chipped a puck past him, then raced up ice and beat Niemi with a short-handed goal to cut the sharks lead to 2-1.

The defense took a page out of the Predators playbook by blocking 26 shots in the game. Nashville only generated 19 shots throughout the evening, largely because of San Jose's insistence on getting in front of Nashville shooters. Douglas Murray turned in one of the more painful blocks, catching a puck off his left forearm after getting low to take a shot attempt late in the contest.

Nashville head coach Barry Trotz pulled Rinne with 1:25 left in regulation, but the Sharks pinched at the blueline made it difficult for the Predators to gain the zone.

Game Notes:

Martin Havlat did not play in the 3rd period, and was not present on the bench. Brandon Yip sustained an upper body injury late in the 1st period and did not return after the 1st intermission.



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Scoring
1 2 3 T
NSH 0 0 1 1
SJ 1 1 0 2
1st period - 1, SJ, Boyle 3 (Thornton, Couture), 17:47, (pp).
2nd period - 2, SJ, Pavelski 7 (Couture, Thornton), 9:12, (pp).
3rd period - 3, NSH, Bourque 5 (unassisted), 14:30, (sh).
Penalties
1st period - Hannan, NSH (interference), 6:38; Klein, NSH (slashing), 17:28; Sheppard, SJ (boarding), 18:28.
2nd period - Ellis, NSH (tripping), 8:56.
3rd period - Gausted, NSH (slashing), 13:08.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
NSH - Rinne 39 37
SJ - Niemi 19 18
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
NSH 6 6 7 19
SJ 16 14 9 39
Power Play Conversion
NSH 0 of 1
SJ 2 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Joe Thornton
Logan Couture
Dan Boyle
Attendence
17,546
Officials
Referees: Leggo, Walsh. Linesmen: Sharrers, Heyer.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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