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Predators' first goal in 10 periods produces OT win

The SportsXchange

NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators set a franchise record during Tuesday night's game against the San Jose Sharks, having gone more than 176 minutes without a goal.

But when they potted their first goal in 10 periods, the Predators picked up two points and kept San Jose reeling.

Colin Wilson deflected Ryan Ellis' shot past Antti Niemi at 2:08 of overtime, giving the Predators a 1-0 victory that extended the Sharks' losing streak to six games.

It was the fourth goal of the season for Wilson, who cruised down the slot and got his stick on Ellis' wrister that was launched from about 30 feet out.

"We were just trying to get some pucks on the net," Wilson said. "I saw Ellie had it and drove down the middle. I guess I got a piece of it, and it trickled past (Niemi)."

It was Nashville's first goal since Paul Gaustad's tally in the first period of a 2-1 overtime defeat Saturday night at Minnesota. The Predators (6-3-4) were blanked 3-0 Sunday night by Chicago.

The Sharks (7-3-3) haven't won since a 3-2 decision Jan. 31 over Edmonton. It was their fourth one-goal loss in that stretch, which has seen them get outscored 17-7.

"You can see it and feel it," coach Todd McLellan said of his team's frustration. "We have to find ways to help them."

Pekka Rinne stopped 25 shots for his second shutout of the season, including a tough stop on Patrick Marleau 30 seconds into overtime, while Niemi turned back 24.

San Jose dominated the first period, not looking or acting like a team coming off a 6-2 loss Monday night in Columbus. The Sharks outshot Nashville 13-3 and produced a number of quality chances but came up empty against Rinne.

After watching his team flounder throughout the period, Predators coach Barry Trotz chewed out the players during the first intermission.

"I despised everything about the first period," he said. "We wouldn't have even been in the game in the first except for Peks. I told them how I felt, and they fixed it right in the room. They got angry at themselves and fixed it. That's the Predator way I know."

Wilson said, "We needed to be kicked in the butt. We all agreed that we didn't have much energy."

Nashville bounced back with a solid second period, outshooting San Jose 11-6 despite spending nearly half the stanza killing penalties. Right wing Martin Erat drew a double minor for high-sticking as well as minors for holding the stick and hooking, but the Sharks couldn't generate much of an attack.

Trotz said his team's penalty-killing unit, led by Gaustad, supplied necessary momentum.

"They dug in and got stronger and more determined," Trotz said.

Nashville continued to carry the attack to San Jose in the third period, recording 10 shots to the Sharks' three. Niemi stood tall and forced overtime with a big stop on Gabriel Bourque with 4.7 seconds remaining.

However, Niemi couldn't prevent Wilson from delivering the Predators' 25th goal this season, a total that ranks below that of every other team in the NHL but Colorado.

"One puck can change the game," Rinne said. "It was a typical overtime goal."

It was the second 1-0 loss for San Jose in its losing streak.

The Sharks next play Friday in Chicago against the Blackhawks -- the only team not to suffer a regulation loss.

"Tonight was a much more detailed effort, but we need to find a way to get some pucks past some goalies," McLellan said. "The game changed in the second period. We failed to do what made us successful in the first period."

NOTES: Gaustad entered the game at second in the NHL in faceoff efficiency, winning 60.9 percent of his draws, and he won 16 of 21 draws against San Jose. ... As a team, the Predators have blocked 209 shots in the first 13 games, just seven off the league lead that's held by Edmonton. Defenseman Scott Hannan has 31, good for 10th in the league, while center Mike Fisher leads all forwards with 22 ... McLellan is just five wins away from the team record for coaches, held by Ron Wilson with 206. McLellan was the second-fastest in NHL history to reach 200, doing it in 333 games ... Nashville defenseman Hal Gill was a healthy scratch as Trotz opted to go back to 12 forwards. Following an injury to Patric Hornqvist last month, the Predators had played seven defensemen and just 11 forwards.
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