Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 2/3/13
SAN JOSE -- Craig Smith scored on the backhand in the shootout, and goalie Pekka Rinne stopped three San Jose shooters as the Nashville Predators snapped the Sharks' season-opening, seven-game winning streak with a 2-1 victory Saturday night. San Jose's Martin Havlat hooked Nashville's David Legwand 2:48 into sudden death, but the Sharks killed their fifth short-handed situation of the game. Over the Sharks' past 21 short-handed situations over five games, they've allowed only one shot. Havlat tied the game 1-1 at 13:39 of the third period with a power-play goal. His backhand shot in close beat Rinne, who had turned away the first 23 shots he faced. The Sharks (7-0-1) finally converted on their fifth power play of the game, a result of Nashville's bench minor for too many men on the ice. The Predators (3-2-3) broke on top 59 seconds into the final period when Sergei Kostitsyn scored at even strength. Nashville's Colin Wilson skated along the right boards in the Sharks end and drew San Jose's Joe Pavelski and Brad Stuart his way before dishing a nifty back pass to an unmarked Kostitsyn on the right circle. Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle jumped out but was too late to deny the shot that beat San Jose goalie Antti Niemi. Kostitsyn's first goal of the season came on Nashville's 14th shot of the game. The Sharks came closest to scoring in the second period when slow-starting Ryane Clowe struck the far post on an effort that slipped between the pads of Rinne. Havlat skated into the crease and began to raise his hands in celebration before realizing the puck had failed to cross the goal line. A pile-up ensued before Havlat or any Shark could knock it in at 9:43. The teams skated to a scoreless first period with the Sharks holding a slim edge in shots, 8-6. Rinne wound up with 26 saves in regulation and overtime, while Niemi had 23 saves. San Jose finished 1-for-5 on the power play, while Nashville went 0-for-4. NOTES: Nashville was without leading scorer right wing Martin Erat (four points) after the right wing was unable to dress after taking a puck to his foot in practice on Friday. Right wing Brian McGrattan was a healthy scratch. ... Kostitsyn returned for the start of the second period after missing the final 7:32 of the first period after sustaining a facial cut when he got sandwiched by San Jose's Douglas Murray and Patrick Marleau. ... Defenseman Jason Demers made his season debut for San Jose. Matt Irwin sat for the first time in seven games as the rookie defenseman was joined by forward Tommy Wingels and defenseman Nick Petrecki as healthy scratches. ... Nashville has only Tuesday's stop in St. Louis remaining on a seven-game road trip that ties a club record in length. ... The Sharks return to action Monday against the Ducks in Anaheim. ... The Predators came into Saturday possessing the league's least potent offense, averaging 1.57 goals per game.
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