Series (Game 3 of 4)

San Jose leads 2-1

Game 1: Tuesday, November 27th
Game 2: Sunday, December 23rd
Game 3: Tuesday, February 26th
Game 4: Tuesday, March 5th

Sharks 5

(31-17-3, 72 pts)

Predators 1

(23-26-0, 56 pts)

8:00 PM ET, February 26, 2002

Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee

1 2 3 T
SJ 3 0 25
NSH 0 1 01

T. Selanne (Sharks - RW): Goals: 2, Assists: 1

P. Marleau (Sharks - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 3

A. Korolyuk (Sharks - LW): Goals: 0, Assists: 3

Sharks extend winning streak to six games

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The San Jose Sharks were looking for a good start after the Olympics break. They got it at the hands of the Nashville Predators.

Teemu Selanne

The Sharks scored three first-period goals Tuesday night, two by Teemu Selanne, and never lost control en route to a 5-1 victory.

"We wanted to have a good start," Selanne said. "We knew Nashville was playing well and that it would be a tough game for us, but instead it ended up being a good confidence boost. It feels good to start a road trip this way."

Patrick Marleau and Alexander Korolyuk each had three assists as the Sharks extended their winning streak to six games. The Predators ended a five-game unbeaten streak.

"I feel good about our line," Selanne said. "Korolyuk and Marleau are playing really well. They are really hungry to make it to the playoffs and that is a good thing. The whole team is playing well and that is really the key to our playoff run."

Nashville opened with the first seven shots on goal, but the Sharks needed only 18 seconds to score twice and take control of the game.

"Nashville had a good start," Selanne said. "They got a few chances and Nabby (goaltender Evgeni Nabokov) made some good saves. When we got the momentum we really capitalized."

That was an understatement, as Marco Sturm skated down the right boards and turned to center ice where he fired a one-timer to beat Nashville goalie Tomas Vokoun at 8:45 of the first period.

At 9:03, Selanne scored his first goal.

Marleau took a shot from the left circle that bounced off of Vokoun. Selanne, standing alone in front of the crease, put the rebound over Vokoun who was still sprawled on the ice after making the save on Marleau's shot.

"They took a little steam out of us with that first goal," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "And then they came back and scored again. All of a sudden we were down 2-0 after really not playing that bad."

Selanne's second goal came with 27 seconds left in the first period.

In almost an instant replay of his first goal, Marleau shot from the left circle and the puck bounced off the left post.

Selanne shot the rebound over Vokoun who was once again flat on his back.

"We were buzzing around, while they were doing a great job defensively," Trotz said. "We were starting to play a little bit and set the tempo. But they scored again and it obviously took a lot of steam out of us."

In the second period, the Predators stopped Nabokov from picking up his eighth shutout of the season when Denis Arkhipov found Vladimir Orszagh with a centering pass. Orszagh, who went to his knees to make the shot, beat Nabokov to his glove side at 7:46.

Marleau picked up his third assist in the third period when he won a faceoff and got the puck to Gary Suter who skated across the goal mouth from the left side and put the puck in the wide open right side.

Marcus Ragnarsson closed out the scoring for the Sharks at 18:21 when he put in the rebound of a shot by Selanne. Korolyuk was credited with his third assist.

"We've got to start winning the battles the next game," Nashville's Bill Houlder said. "San Jose looked pretty good passing the puck. It was basically a matter of 1-on-1 battles in front of the net and we lost them. Those are things that can't be happening this time of the season. We've got to bear down."

Game notes

Nashville goaltender Mike Dunham, a member of the silver medal U.S. hockey team, did not dress for the game. Jan Lasak, who has spent the season with Milwaukee of the American Hockey League, was recalled to serve as a backup and will be returned Wednesday. ... Stu Grimson and Scott Walker of Nashville announced they would both be out for the rest of the season with post concussion syndrome. ... Linesman Thor Nelson left the game at 10:10 of the second period with a jaw bruise and didn't return. ... Captain Tom Fitzgerald became the first Predator to play in 300 games for the franchise. ... The Predators failed to score on seven power-play opportunities. ... San Jose Sports & Entertainment Enterprises agreed Tuesday to buy the Sharks for an undisclosed sum from George Gund, who has owned the team since they entered the NHL in 1990.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press