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Sharks can't swim in tar
Predators and questionable call upend Sharks
1/7/14 - By Mike Lee -

The new year is turning out to be one big challenge for the Sharks. After fighting a flurry of injuries, San Jose learned that Logan Couture would be shelved for 3 to 4 weeks recovering from hand surgery. They limped into Nashville on Tuesday night and met the same fate as their last trip to Tennessee three weeks earlier. San Jose fell by a 3-2 score as they did on December 14th to the Predators. San Jose didn't exactly light things up in Nashville, but their efforts were marred by a questionable call in the 2nd period which resulted in the Predators cashing in on the game winning goal.

* Devoid of any superstar power on offense, the Predators rely on shutdown hockey that grinds the game to a painful state, devoid of any flare. It works for Nashville, and for whatever reason the Sharks seem to fall victim to the style all too often. Tuesday evening's affair was no different. Most of the 1st period resembled a beginner ice skating lesson, with the players pinched up against the boards kicking the puck up and down the rink. No ebb, no flow. Just a boring game, absent of any rhythm.

* San Jose fell into the trap, generating a paltry 7 shots in the opening period. Nashville lulled the Sharks to sleep before striking.

* David Legwand snapped a scoreless tie 3:35 into the 2nd period, after the Predators worked a cycle near the right corner. Legwand took a pass near the right dot before lifting a shot over Antti Niemi's left shoulder. The goal was Legwand's 7th of the year.

* Joe Pavelski tied the game with his 19th goal of the season after Mattias Ekholm was sent off for lifting a puck over the glass in his defensive zone. Dan Boyle fired a shot from the right point that Pavelski redirected from 8 feet out, redirecting the blast past Predators goaltender Marek Mazanec.

* The tie lasted all of 27 seconds. Ekholm atoned for his penalty by scoring his 1st NHL goal on a tip in front of Niemi at 7:16 of the 2nd period. Legwand fired a shot on net from the right side, but Niemi was screened by several bodies in front, including Ekholm.

* The Predators made it a 3-1 game on one of the most ridiculous non-calls of the year. Roman Josi was credited with his 4th goal of the year after Colin Wilson sat on Antti Niemi's right leg. The Sharks goaltender was essentially pinned on the right side of his crease, unable to make a play on Josi's shot as Wilson lay in the center of the crease. Sharks head coach Todd McLellan pleaded his case with referee and Nashville native Mike Hasenfratz, but McLellan's ended up accomplishing nothing other than delaying the Sharks demise by a minute.

* The Sharks didn't exactly put on a shot clinic, but that was difficult given Nashville's mudbog style of hockey. They outshot the Predators 11-5 in the final 20 minutes, but they were forced to play catch-up against a deficit that would be too difficult to overcome.

* Patrick Marleau made it a one-goal game late when he tipped home a Matt Nieto shot after San Jose was forced to pull Niemi. Nieto circled along the top of the right circle before snapping a shot toward the Nashville net. Marleau was cutting through the slot when he got his stick blade on Nieto's shot, redirecting it past Mazanec.

* Nashville owned the Sharks in the faceoff circle, winning 32 of 52 faceoffs (62%). Joe Pavelski won a mere 31% of his draws. Fresh off his Olympic snub, Joe Thornton sleep walked through the faceoff circle, winning 1 of 12 draws (8%).


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1 2 3 T
SJ 0 1 1 2
NSH 0 3 0 3
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, NSH, Legwand 7 (Smith, Webber), 3:35. 2, SJ, Pavelski 19 (Boyle, Demers), 6:49, (pp). 3, NSH, Ekholm 1 (Legwand), 7:16. 4, NSH, Josi 4 (Weber, Hornqvist), 11:30.
3rd period - 5, SJ, Marleau 20 (Nieto, Demers), 18:38.
1st period - Thornton, SJ (hooking), 0:10; Cullen NSH (interference), 8:57.
2nd period - Ekholm, NSH (delay of game - puck over glass), 6:11; Spaling, NSH (holding the stick), 13:38.
3rd period - Weber, NSH (hooking), 4:05; Brown, SJ (delay of game), 9:37; Clune, NSH (delay of game), 9:37.
Shots Saves
SJ - Niemi 28 25
NSH - Mazanec 28 26
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 7 10 11 28
NSH 10 13 5 28
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 4
NSH 0 of 1
3 Stars of the Game
Matthias Ekholm
Marek Mazanec
David Legwand
Referees: Hasenfratz, Burchell. Linesmen: Henderson, Pancich.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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