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Sharks extend winning streak to six games

2/27/2002

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.

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.