Bad Officiating Call Costly- The San Jose Sharks are not going to have very fond memories of Nashville this season. Baring a playoff series this spring against the Predators, the Sharks won’t see the Nashville city limits again until the 2014-15 season, which still may be too soon. For the second time in three weeks the Sharks lost a 3-2 decision to the Nashville Predators Tuesday night deep in the heart of Tennessee. The Sharks did not play their best game either time. However Tuesday night a controversial non-call by an officiating crew who chose look the other way as opposed to making the correct call played what would prove to be a determining role in the outcome of the game. On a play where Sharks goalie Antti Niemi was clearly interfered with, a goal by the Predators Roman Josi (Yo’see) in the second period giving Nashville a 3-1 lead at the time was allowed to stand. All replays clearly showed Niemi was pinned down in the goal crease by the Predators’ Colin Wilson who dove on top of him. This prevented Niemi from being able to get into position to make a play on Josi’s shot on goal. As things would turn out on the evening this was the game winning goal for Nashville. There is nothing the Sharks can do about this since complaining to the league will only earn the franchise a large fine. It will be a tough thing for the Sharks to move on from this however that is what they ultimately must do as they return home to play the Detroit Red Wings Thursday night.
Predators More Advantageous- Even without the obvious officiating gaff, the Predators came out as the team that had a lot more energy going for them early as the Sharks really could not sustain any offensive pressure for a good deal of the opening period. The absence of Logan Couture was apparent as Team Teal needs to see now what line combinations will work out during his one month hiatus. The Sharks only managed seven shots on goal on Predators goalie Marek Mazanec who had little trouble making saves. Niemi saw more rubber launched in his direction but was able to handle all 10 of Nashville’s shots on goal. The second period played out much like the first period except this time the Predators were able to get the jump on the Sharks. Just 3:35 into the middle period the Predators won a faceoff in the Sharks defensive zone. Craig Smith got the puck over the Shea Weber at the left point. Weber with his knowledge of his home arena was able to drill the puck off of the boards to the right of Niemi. The puck bounced over to David Legwand who quickly drilled a wrister past Niemi to give Nashville the game’s first goal. Over two and a half minutes later the Sharks would go on a power play when Mattias Ekholm would find his was to the penalty box on a delay of game infraction. Just 38 seconds later Joe Pavelski tipped in a slap shot from Dan Boyle past Mazanec to tie the game at a goal apiece. Unfortunately for the Sharks the tie did not last more than just 33 seconds. Losing yet another face off deep in their own zone, the Sharks allowed Ekholm to atone for his penalty as he took the puck around the back of the Team Teal net before back-handing a shot past Niemi that the Sharks netminder apparently wasn’t expecting. The Predators continued to carry the play for most of the period as again they would outshoot the Sharks 13-10.
Controversial Goal- Towards the end of the second period the Predators would take a 3-1 lead thanks to a goal that should have never been allowed. The Preds’ Roman Josi was able to get to a rebound off of Niemi of Shea Weber’s shot on goal, then took the puck around the back of the net with Brent Burns in pursuit. During the play Colin Wilson, who fed the puck to Weber initially skated towards Niemi and got around Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Wilson jumped on top of Niemi just as Josi was getting ready to shoot the puck. Being pinned down all Niemi could do is watch the puck fly over him and into the net. The Sharks on the ice and on the bench immediately were calling for goalie interference. The officials on the ice not only refused to call it but also went out of their way to explain why there was not a call and perhaps justify their very ignorance in the process.
Late Come Back Falls Short- The third period was a difficult one for the Sharks who would outshoot Nashville 11-5 but were frustrated by the Predators Mazanec who had a solid night in the net for the home team. Just like in their first trip to Nashville three weeks earlier, Patrick Marleau would score with 1:22 remaining to give the Sharks some brief hope at 3-2. Marleau was able to tip in a pass from Matt Nieto, with an assist also going out to Jason Demers. The goal was Marleau’s 20th of the season. However even with the extra attacker the Sharks simply could not get any closer as time ran out on them. The Sharks did not have their best game and were clearly missing a few from the line up. Even with that it’s tough to win when those who are supposed to oversee the game fail to see something that unfolds in front of them. In the end not much can be done about that except to move on to the next game.
Post Game Comments- Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan in an angry tone at the post game news conference told the press gathering, “That’s a blown call. Even if there was a touch of contact there, you’re not allowed to jump on top of the goaltender. We all know that.” McLellan continued, “I understand mistakes because I make a lot of them behind the bench, but when you get an explanation from a group of people and it didn’t happen, it’s disappointing,” McLellan said. “There is also protocol to follow in our league which is that you get together and you discuss it, and that didn’t happen, either.” **
Next Sharks Game- The Sharks return home to take on their old and former conference rival in the Detroit Red Wings. The Sharks beat the Red Wings 1-0 October 17th in a game at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. The Red Wings make their only appearance at the Shark Tank Thursday night at 7:30pm PT. The game will be carried on TV by CSN in Northern California as well as the Sharks Radio Network.
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**Source- San Jose Mercury News: http://www.mercurynews.com/sharks/ci_24865760/san-jose-sharks-lose-3-2-nashville-predators