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Positive results after heart to heart
Sharks win in shootout following team meeting
3/19/09 - By Mike Lee -

It’s tough to say if the team meeting San Jose held after their disappointing loss to the Phoenix Coyotes did anything to motivate the Sharks, but a steady performance resulted in a win on Thursday night. It took a shootout to decide things, but the Sharks used their game in hand to climb back to within a point of Detroit in the Western Conference standings.

San Jose overcame a miscue in the opening period and slugged their way to the shootout, where Je Pavelski and Jonathan Cheechoo scored goals for the second consecutive home game.

We've got to move forward," said Cheechoo. "Keep building on this and come and play solid for 60 minutes the rest of the way through now. We can't have any mental lapses going into the playoffs."

A pair of Predator penalties 42 seconds apart gave the Sharks a two-man advantage, and Rob Blake made Nashville pay. The Sharks defenseman took a Joe Thorton feed near the left circle and one-timed a shot past Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne.

The goal was Blake’s 10th, marking the first time the Sharks have had two defenseman with 10+ goals in the same season. Dan Boyle eclipsed the 10 goal mark earlier this season.

The Predators tied the game at 16:40 when a Dan Hamhuis shot from the point that deflected off of Joel Ward before bouncing past Evgeni Nabokov.

Super pest Jordin Tootoo was sent off for boarding with 2:21 to play in the period, and the Sharks promptly committed a costly mistake. With the power play setup in the Nashville zone, Pavelski failed to control the puck at the blueline. Vern Fiddler scooped it up and raced up the ice, before putting a backhand shot past Nabokov for the 2-1 lead.

Milan Michalek salvaged the period with a gritty goal with 4 seconds remaining in the period. After bouncing a shot of Rinne’s mask from behind the right post, the sharks forward jammed the puck back in the direction of the, deflecting off the goaltender’s elbow and into the net.

"I didn't like the fact that in the first period, we took too many penalties," said Predators head coach Barry Trotz. "That's just too dangerous against the Sharks, with the way they move around and the personnel they have. I thought in the second and third, we did much better. We stayed out of the box, and we battled real hard against these guys - we played last night - and we'll take the point. It was a well-deserved point."

The Sharks leaned on their 3rd line, who stepped up the physical play start the middle period. As the hitting picked up, the Predators started to take exception. Tootoo finally decided to engage with Brad Staubitz, which turned out to be a mistake. Staubitz used his reach advantage to land a series of punches, opening up Tootoo’s face.

"The boys were excited," Staubitz added after the game. "They were pretty pumped up for me. So it was good. When you see two guys battling like that, it sparks both teams."

San Jose controlled most of the possessions in the 3rd period, holding the Predators to no shots on goal through the first 10 minutes of the period. David Legwand almost capitalized on a miscommunication on a line change, when he found himself on a break with 2 minutes to play in regulation. Nabokov stood up the Nashville forward to preserve the 2-2 tie.

J.P. Dumont also put the puck on net in the final 10 seconds to put one final scare in the sellout crowd, but Nabokov snuffed out the chance.

Neither team generated any serious scoring chances in the overtime.

"I thought we played pretty well, and I thought they played pretty well," addewd Trotz. "Both teams played with pretty good intensity, we had to go to shootout, and anything can happen. We had a great chance with two minutes to go, Legwand had the breakaway and got the puck off the rebound and shot it out the back door, sort of. If we'd scored there, you never know."

In the shootout Pavelski scored with his same stutter step move that he used against Los Angeles last Saturday night. Fiddler used the same backhand shot to put a shot past Nabokov to even things up. Dan Boyle missed on a wrist shot, then Steve Sullivan followed with a miss. Cheechoo put a delayed backhand past Rinne and Legwand sent a shot wide of the net to end things.

"I thought Cheechoo has a spark in him that we've seen throughout the year but not on a consistent basis," said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan. "It makes me really excited about coming to the rink tomorrow and putting him back on that line. I thought Setoguchi had a little spark going there, too."

Game Notes:

Add another player to the injury list. Ryane Clowe was a scratch after suffering a lower body injury which will reportedly sideline him for a week. Ryan Vesce was called up to replace the forward. Vesce leads the Worcester Sharks this season, and was in the lineup for the big club.


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1 2 3 OT SO T
NSH 2 0 0 0 0 2
SJ 2 0 0 0 1 3
1st period - 1, SJ, Bake 10 (Thornton, Boyle), 14:27, (pp). 2, NSH, Ward 15 (Hamhuis, Deumont), 16:40. 3, NSH, Fiddler 10 (unassisted), 18:04, (sh). 4, SJ, Michalek 20 (Setoguchi, Goc), 19:56.
2nd period - None.
3rd period - None.
Overtime - None.
Shootout - SJ: Pavelski (goal), Boyle (miss), Cheechoo (goal). NSH: Fiddler (goal), Sullivan (miss), Legwand (miss).
1st period - Setoguchi, SJ (interference), 11:32; Legwand, NSH (interference), 12:29; Fiddler, NSH (tripping), 13:11. Tootoo, NSH (boarding), 17:39.
2nd period - Tootoo, NSH (fighting major), 7:29; Staubitz, SJ (fighting major), 7:29; Murray, SJ (holding), 8:06.
3rd period - Nichol, NSH (holding), 7:00.
Overtime - None.
Shots Saves
NSH - Rinne 38 36
SJ - Nabokov 26 24
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
NSH 8 11 6 1 26
SJ 14 12 8 4 38
Power Play Conversion
NSH 0 of 2
SJ 1 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Rob Blake
Pekka Rinne
Brad Staubitz
Referees: Koharski, Pochmara. Linesmen: Galloway, Nelson.

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