Final

Series (Game 1 of 4)

Nashville leads 2-1

Game 1: Thursday, October 24th
Sharks2Final
Predators1
Game 2: Thursday, November 7th
Predators2Final
OT
Sharks2
Game 3: Wednesday, November 27th
Sharks2Final
Predators4
Game 4: Saturday, December 7th
Predators4Final
Sharks2

Sharks 2

(2-4-0, 4 pts)

Predators 1

(0-4-2, 3 pts)

8:00 PM ET, October 24, 2002

Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee

1 2 3 T
SJ 1 1 02
NSH 0 0 11

T. Selanne (Sharks - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

M. Kiprusoff (Sharks - G): Saves: 20, Save Pct.: .952

T. Vokoun (Predators - G): Saves: 32, Save Pct.: .941

Predators lose sixth game of year by one goal

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Backup goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff's timing might need some work.

Miikka Kiprusoff
Kiprusoff

Two days after top goalie Evgeni Nabokov ended his holdout by signing a new contract, Kiprusoff stopped 20 shots for his first victory as the San Jose Sharks beat the winless Nashville Predators 2-1 Thursday night.

"Kipper was great tonight," Sharks center Mike Ricci said. "He gave us the opportunity to win."

Kiprusoff struggled in his other three appearances, giving up nearly six goals per game with a save percentage of only .772. Against Nashville, he lost his bid for his third career shutout in the third when Andy Delmore scored a power-play goal at 9:54 off an assist from goalie Tomas Vokoun.

San Jose began a six-game road trip with only its second victory this season. Teemu Selanne scored and Jonathan Cheechoo helped seal it with a second-period goal, the first point of his NHL career.

The Sharks gave up 22 goals in their first five games with Nabokov holding out, but they improved to 4-0-1-0 against the Predators in Nashville as they killed off five of six power plays by a team that ranks eighth in the league in that category.

"I thought that our penalty-killing was outstanding," San Jose assistant coach Lorne Molleken said. "Your best penalty killer has got to be your goaltender, and Kiprusoff certainly played well for us there."

The Predators (0-4-1-2) have lost six games by one goal, but this one shouldn't have been that close as San Jose took a season-best 34 shots.

"We would like to get to win and get this off our back," Vokoun said.

The Predators tried to change their luck by switching goalies, going with backup Vokoun instead of Mike Dunham. It didn't help. Vokoun couldn't find Selanne's shot off an assist from Patrick Marleau 2:07 in, and the puck slid under Vokoun's right leg for a 1-0 lead.

"He shot it through somebody because I never saw the puck," Vokoun said. "I saw it on his stick, and I saw he was going to shoot it, and I really can't explain it."

Nashville outshot its opponents in four of the previous six games, but the early goal took some of the life out of the Predators. They were timid near the net and passed up shots repeatedly on the power play, going 1-of-6 with the man advantage.

"That pattern is something we have to break," Nashville forward Brent Gilchrist said. "That was pretty harmless. It hit a stick and a skate and maybe we were a little loose on the coverage. But we can't let those ones beat us. Those happen to everybody."

The Sharks weren't much better. They took 20 shots in the second period and only scored when Cheechoo faked out Vokoun and caught him leaning and put a wrister past him at 17:21.

Cheechoo said he gave such an excited shout he might have scared Vokoun.

"Everyone is going to be so pumped about this. I'll probably get a lot of calls from all the relatives up there," said Cheechoo, who was born in Moose Factory, Ontario. "Anytime you can help the team out with a win, it just makes it that much more special."

Game notes


San Jose didn't need Nabokov, who was 5-2-1 in the Sharks' last eight games against Nashville. He signed a new contract Tuesday and made the road trip. ... Ricci has three points in three games with his assist on Cheechoo's goal.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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