Sharks shut out Preds, 3-0
Tuesday, 06.19.2012 / 1:13 AM
Despite controlling the play for large chunks of the game, and outshooting the San Jose Sharks 22-20, the Predators dropped their fifth straight decision, 3-0, at HP Pavilion on Saturday night. It was the first shut-out loss for Nashville since a 2-0 setback at Vancouver last March.
Special teams proved to be crucial in the first contest between the two teams since last season’s playoff series, as Jeremy Roenick’s game-winning goal came while the Sharks skated with a two-man advantage. The Predators failed to score on six power play opportunities, and several of the failures led to large momentum shifts for San Jose.
On the bright side for the Predators, goaltender Chris Mason looked strong in defeat, robbing the Sharks on several occasions in addition to stopping 17 of 19 shots fired his way. For the Sharks, Evgeni Nabokov stopped 22 shots to record his first shutout of the season, and the 35th of his career.
|Martin Gelinas collides with Evgeni Nabokov in the opening minutes of the first period.
For the second consecutive game, the Predators came out flying in the opening period, out-chancing San Jose and controlling the game’s pace for the first 20 minutes. But, just like in Anaheim three nights ago, they had nothing to show for it on the scoreboard. In addition to both outhitting and outshooting the Sharks, Nashville implemented an aggressive forecheck, causing the home team to cough up the puck in the neutral zone, or simply resort to a dump-and-chase style. Because of this, San Jose never got the opportunity to set up its bread-and-butter, the low-zone cycle, early in the game.
Mason possibly made his most spectacular save of the early season, diving across the crease to rob Mike Grier of a power play goal at 3:50 of the second period. But, a delay-of-game penalty on Scott Nichol 39 seconds later gave San Jose a two-man advantage and enabled them to become the fifth straight Predators opponent to score the first goal of the game.
Jeremy Roenick pulled within two tallies of 500 in his career by sneaking a one-timer past a sprawling Mason at 4:52 of the middle period. The shot was made possible by a crisp cross-ice feed from one of the best set-up men in the league, Joe Thornton.
Following the goal, the ice tilted in San Jose’s favor for the final 15 minutes of the frame, as it established the zone presence it lacked in the first period and limited Nashville to just four shots.
|Ryan Suter fends off Matt Carle as he chases down a puck
Some spunk returned to the Predators when they took the opening faceoff of the third period – they tested Nabokov with six shots and several more chances before the Sharks put their first shot of the period eight minutes in. A solid Sharks penalty kill turned the tides though, and a faulty dump-in and line change helped the Sharks take a 2-0 lead at 13:39 of the third.
Patrick Marleau got a step on the late-changing Preds d-men and fired a shot that deflected off Mason, and slowly fluttered over the goal line. Rookie Torrey Mitchell sprung the Shark captain on the rush, collecting his second career assist.
Milan Michalek rubbed some salt in the wound with an empty netter with seven seconds remaining.
Nashville travels back down the California coast to wind down its three-game trip to the state Tuesday night in Los Angeles’ Staples Center. Face-off with the Kings is slated for 9:30 p.m. CT and will be televised on FSN South. WGFX 104.5 The Zone will have all the action on Predators Radio.
: Nashville scratched Ville Koistinen and Darcy Hordichuk, and the Sharks sat Marcel Goc
, Alexei Semenov and Curtis Brown... In his season debut, defenseman Kevin Klein
played 7:54, had one shot on goal and one hit. He had been out since the Predators first preseason game Sept. 16 with a separated shoulder… A four-game point streak by Alexander Radulov
ended with the shut-out loss…The home team has now won 12 of the past 13 contests pitting the Sharks and Predators… Dan Hamhuis posted a game-high 25:20 played, while Jed Ortmeyer paced the team in shots on goal with four in his return to the lineup after being a scratch Wednesday in Anaheim.