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Rinne steals the Preds a point, but Sharks win in OT…

Inside the Shark Tank (Amanda DiPaolo)

When the third period started, Preds fans everywhere were wondering “will that critical third goal come?” After all, their team is just 3-20-8 when they score less than three.

Well, you better make that 3-20-9.

The Nashville Predators finished out their last multiple-game road trip of the year by losing to the San Jose Sharks, 3-2 in overtime. In front of a sold out 17,562 inside HP Pavilion in Northern California, the Preds got goals from Joel Ward and Shea Weber but, as it always is without three goals, it wasn’t enough for the Preds.

Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne finished with 30 saves on 33 San Jose shots and single handely gave his team a point in the standings as the Sharks fired 13 shots on goal when the game was tied in the final regulation frame.

The Preds are now 0-6 in the overtime session this season.

The home town team got the scoring started early in the first when Ryane Clowe deflected a centering pass off his left skate and into the net. They briefly reviewed it but quickly determined there was no “distinct kicking motion” so the goal was allowed to stand, putting the Sharks up 1-0.

Ward, the power play specialist, tied the game with a strong move off the end boards to the net. And we don’t necessarily mean that sarcastically. Five of his eight goals on the year have come with the man advantage. Ward was able to slide the puck under Niemi’s right pad to make it 1-1. Martin Erat continued his scoresheet onslaught as he assisted on the goal.

San Jose rookie blueliner Justin Braun used a Shane O’Brien hooking penalty to make it 2-1 before Nashville answered on the power play of their own. Weber snuck in back door and slammed the puck home to make it 2-2 after a David Legwand pass found him on the other side of the crease. Erat collected yet another assist on the play as well, giving him 18 points in his last 18 games.

After a scoreless third in which the Sharks outshot the Preds 13-4, Patrick Marleau scored his second straight overtime winner against Nashville, giving San Jose the win.

The Predators will now travel home to Middle Tennessee and focus on the remainder of the regular season in which they have zero multiple game road trips.

The Minnesota Wild are next up for Nashville. The puck will drop Thursday night at 7:05pm and it’ll be a huge game for both teams. The Wild are currently in 9th place with 77 points in the Western Conference. Nashville has 76 and is in 10th. A huge two points is on the line Thursday night.

So bring the noise Preds fans. See you at the rink.

LEFTOVER THOUGHTS:
* Sergei Kostitsyn has just one point in his last nine games.
* It had been 22 games since the Predators had scored two power play goals in the same game.
* The Preds are 5-8-6 this season when tied going into the third.
* Defenseman Kevin Klein blocked a shot off the ankle late in the game and never returned.
* Legwand has eight points in his last six games.
* 12 of the final 15 games of the regular season are in the friendly confines of Bridgestone Arena.
* Big thanks to Willy Daunic and Jeremy Bennefield for having me in the studio for the Daily’s Post Game show.

THE THREE STARS OF THE GAME:
1) Antti Niemi (SJ)
2) Patrick Marleau (SJ)
3) Ryane Clowe (SJ)

PHOTO CREDIT: Amanda DiPaolo // predlines.com (used with permission)