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Preds deal Sharks their first loss of the season…

Coming into the night, the San Jose Sharks were 7-0-0. The Nashville Predators? 2-2-3.

You could almost see this coming.

In front of 17,562 at HP Pavilion in San Jose, the Preds got back to their hard-working ways and beat the heavily favored Sharks, 2-1, in the shootout.

Nashville netminder Pekka Rinne got his seventh start of the year and turned in a 26-save performance for his second win.

After a scoreless two periods for both sides, Sergei Kostitsyn finally broke through. After receiving a pass from Colin Wilson along the half wall, Kostitsyn used Dan Boyle as a screen, firing a puck through his legs and eventually through Antti Niemi for the 1-0 lead.

Martin Havlat would get the equalizer after Nashville took a too many men penalty in the final frame. The Sharks power play has been potent all season long, clicking at 30.8% and the Preds escaped trouble by successfully killing off their first four opportunities. But on the fifth, the Sharks finally bit them. Tonight, they were 1-for-5 but that one conversion got them a point in the standings as it tied the score and forced overtime.

The Predators controlled the extra session but failed to get one over the goal line so a shootout — for the fifth time this season for Nashville — was required.

Craig Smith was the Predators’ second shooter and froze Niemi with a kick-fake in the high slot. Once the Sharks netminder over-committed by going down, Smith made a move and buried the game-winner.

Nashville will now fly home for a day before heading to St. Louis to take on the Blues on Tuesday night. Puck will drop at 7:00pm Central and the Preds will look to make up for their miserable 13-shot performance the last time the two teams met.

You can catch all the action on Fox Sports Tennessee and 102.5 The Game.

1) Pekka Rinne (NSH)
2) Antti Niemi (SJ)
3) Sergei Kostitsyn (NSH)

PHOTO CREDIT: Melissa Grissom (used with permission)