Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sharks Punch Back at Predators

Last week, the Nashville Predators ended the San Jose Sharks home unbeaten streak with an overtime victory at HP Pavilion. It was probably small consolation to the franchise that was knocked out of the playoffs two years in a row by the Sharks, but it may have helped that it springboarded them to a three-game sweep of California teams to end their road trip.

Nevertheless, in the next chance they got after that loss, the Sharks punched back Monday night.

San Jose got on the board with two early tallies in the first period. On the first, Devin Setoguchi stood inside the face-off circle to goalie Dan Ellis' left and rocketed a one-timer pass from Joe Thornton; Patrick Marleau got the secondary assist on the power play goal. On the second, Jody Shelley got his first goal of the year in a scramble in front of the net; Brad Staubitz also got his first point of the season, and Rob Blake got the secondary assist.

After Tomas Plihal put home a slapshot 7:43 into the second, things got nasty. Jordin Tootoo tried to check Ryan Clowe and was knocked down. Unhappy with the embarassment, he went after a smaller target, Joe Pavelski. He received a cross-checking minor for it, but it led to more rough-stuff.

A couple shifts later, the Sharks scored again, Marleau put home a rebound of a Christian Ehrhoff shot (devin Setoguchi got the other assist), and Tootoo was immediately put back onto the ice to instigate.

But the Sharks punched back.

Tootoo dropped the gloves to fight Staubitz, but before Brad could even throw a punch, Tootoo landed a right to his head and dropped him. Inexplicably, Staubitz still got a fighting major, so Shelley tossed the gloves with Greg DeVries immediately. That fight ended in a draw, no matter how much announcer Randy Hahn wanted to claim it as a victory.

That was not the end of the fighting, either. Not only did both pairs have a round two (this time I would say Staubitz had a draw at best, but Shelley won), but Thornton danced with Scott Nichol and clearly won. I did not see this one start or either of Shelley's begin, but the Tootoo fights were clearly initiated by him.

But the Sharks punched back.

Unfortunately, at this point the Sharks seemed more interested in fighting than playing. Even on the power play, the Sharks gave up a short-handed goal to David Legwand, who took a Dan Hamhuis pass and got behind Ehrhoff for a breakaway. He put home his own rebound when the defence did not get to it; Radek Bonk got the secondary assist.

To that point, the Predators had a 13-1 shot advantage in the period, and ended up with a 16-8 edge in the third and 33-32 edge for the game. It was the second straight game in which the Sharks have been out-shot.

After back-to-back nights playing, with travel in between, the Sharks are staying one more night in Nashville to spend time with their fathers on the almost-annual father-son outing. After that, they get much-needed rest before hosting Washington Saturday.

No comments: