Sharks 2, Predators 1
NASHVILLE, Tenn. --
Led by goals by Joe Pavelski
and Milan Michalek as well as 26 saves by Evgeni Nabokov, the Sharks earned their tenth-straight victory and first place in the Pacific Division with a 2-1 win over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.
|San Jose Sharks center Joe Pavelski, right, smiles at the official's call of a goal scored by Pavelski against the Nashville Predators in the second period of an NHL hockey game in Nashville, Tenn., Tuesday, March 11, 2008. Defending for Nashville are Dan Hamhuis, at left in the net, goalie Dan Ellis, and right wing Martin Erat of the Czech Republic, rear. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Michalek notched the game-winning goal 37 seconds into the second period following a controversial Pavelski tally on the power play at 15:32 of the first. San Jose killed off a six-on-four man advantage with one minute reamaining in the game to secure their eighth-straight road victory and sweep the season series over the Predators.
Going into the game, the Sharks had maintained a perfect record against the Predators. The teams have battled three times previously with San Jose defeating Nashville 3-0 on Oct. 20, 5-2 on Dec. 29 and 4-3 on Feb. 9. And these two teams share a storied past that includes San Jose bouncing the Preds from the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs two years running.
When the puck dropped in Nashville, the Sharks offense came out firing. San Jose had four scoring opportunities in the first two minutes including a Christian Ehrhoff shot that hit off the post.
Things heated up in the eighth minute when Jordin Tootoo took a run at Ehrhoff and Jody Shelley responded with some pushing and shoving. Predators left wing Darcy Hordichuk jumped in the mix, exchanging words and trying to intimidate, but Shelley stayed right with him. There was tension on the ice on the ensuing faceoff, but neither player dropped the gloves.
The teams exchanged power plays in the first when Nashville was called for too many men at 14:33 and Shelley was called for interference at 18:01. The Sharks failed to convert on their attempt and their second ranked penalty killing unit shut down Nashville’s power play.
After twenty minutes of play, the Sharks and Predators were in a scoreless tie.
|Nashville Predators goalie Dan Ellis reaches for the puck as San Jose Sharks center Joe Pavelski (8) scores a goal in the second period of an NHL hockey game in Nashville, Tenn., Tuesday, March 11, 2008. Also defending for Nashville is Greg Zanon (5). (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Nashville was called for three penalties in the second period and the Sharks were able to capitalize on their third power-play attempt on a controversial goal by Pavelski.
The play started when Pavelski brought the puck over the blueline and fed Jonathan Cheechoo who was streaking along his left side. The Moose Factory, Ontario native beat his defender around the outside and fed the puck back to Pavelski in the crease. ‘Little Joe’ battled to get two shots away and although he was cross checked from behind on his second attempt, Pavelski was able to knock the puck across the crease for his 16th goal of the season.
The play was reviewed and even Sharks center Jeremy Roenick, who was offereing color commentary alongside Sharks broadcasters Randy Hahn and Drew Remenda, didn't believe the referees would award the goal. However, after minutes of deliberation, the referee pointed to the red line and the Sharks had a 1-0 lead.
After the second intermission, San Jose wasted no time getting on the board again. Michalek notched his 22nd goal of the season by using his speed to get around two Nashville defenders and poke home the Sharks second goal of the game 37 seconds into the third period.
Nashville responded five minutes later and the energy shifted in the Predators favor. After Jason Arnott scored on the power play, the Nashville crowd was back in it and the Sharks were on their heels.
|Nashville Predators right wing Alexander Radulov (47) of Russia gets tied up with San Jose Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic (44) in the third period of an NHL hockey game in Nashville, Tenn., Tuesday, March 11, 2008. The Sharks won 2-1. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
At 17:53 of the third period, Marc-Edouard Vlasic
tried to clear a loose puck away from the side of the goal and hit Rich Peverly in the face, drawing a double minor when the center's face began to bleed. Nashville elected to pull goalie Dan Ellis for a six-on-four advantage in the last two minutes of the game and put a full court press on the Sharks.
The Predators had numerous scoring opportunites as they swarmed the Sharks net. Defenseman Shea Weber fired a shot just over the crossbar and Nabokov was able to turn aside shots by Arnott and defenseman Marek Zidlicky. Even in the last seconds of the game, Nashville was on the Sharks doorstep, but Nabokov turned everything aside and the Sharks defeated the Predators 2-1.
Michalek – Thornton – Cheechoo
Marleau – Pavelski – Setoguchi
Rissmiller – Mitchell – Grier
Shelley – Goc – Plihal
Murray – Campbell
Vlasic – Ehrhoff
Rivet – McLaren
Nabokov - Boucher
The Sharks return to HP Pavilion on Friday, March 14 when they play hosts to the St. Louis Blues at 7:30 (PM) Pacific. The game will be broadcast on FSN Plus, 98.5 KFOX FM, Sharks Radio Affiliates and SJSHARKS.com.
From the AP Wire
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -Joe Pavelski and Milan Michalek each scored goals, Evgeni Nabokov made 26 saves and the San Jose Sharks beat the Nashville Predators 2-1 Tuesday night for their franchise-record 10th straight win.
The first goal was decided after a lengthy video review in the second period. On the power play, Jonathan Cheechoo was skating close in on the left side when he passed the puck to Pavelski in front of the net, pulling Dan Ellis out of position. Pavelski and Nashville's Greg Zanon got tangled in front of the net but Pavelski was able to get off a shot from close range. It looked like Zanon, who was lying down in the net behind the goal line, had stopped the puck.
|Nashville Predators defenseman Greg Zanon (5) and San Jose Sharks center Joe Pavelski (8) dig the puck out of the corner in the second period of an NHL hockey game in Nashville, Tenn., Tuesday, March 11, 2008. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
The review ruled the puck had crossed the goal line.
Jason Arnott scored his 25th goal for Nashville.
Thirty-seven seconds into the third period the Sharks extended the lead to 2-0. Michalek skated past Greg de Vries and shot the puck between the leg pads of Ellis from close range.
Ellis made 40 saves.
The Predators ended Nabokov's shutout bid at 5:29 of the third period. Jason Arnott took a shot on the power play from the left circle that went high over the shoulder and outstretched glove of Nabokov.
Nabokov leads the NHL with 31 wins. He won all four games against the Predators this season.
Notes: Coach Barry Trotz was behind the bench for his 727th game with the Predators, moving him into 11th place all-time in games coached for one NHL team. He passed former Boston Bruins coach Milt Schmidt. David Legwand missed his second game in a row for the Predators due to a deep bone bruise of his left foot. The Sharks swept the series with the Predators 4-0 this season.
|Three star selections