for this game

Marleau scores twice as Sharks eliminate Predators

Apr 21, 2007 - 6:03 AM
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) -- The Nashville Predators paid plenty of attention to Joe Thornton. Unfortunately for coach Barry Trotz's team, they did not direct enough toward Patrick Marleau.

Marleau scored his second goal of the game with 4:21 remaining in the third period, snapping a tie and leading the San Jose Sharks to a 3-2 series-clinching triumph over the Predators in Game Five of their best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinal matchup.

Ryane Clowe also tallied and Evgeni Nabokov made 22 saves for the Sharks, who eliminated the Predators in the quarterfinals for the second consecutive postseason.

"They played us tough and really physical," Marleau said. "We didn't want to play any more games than we had to against them. It was a physical series."

"Coming into the series, we didn't expect to win again in five games," San Jose coach Ron Wilson added. "It's almost a carbon copy of last year. The difference was, our power play wasn't great, but our 5-on-5 play was excellent."

Trotz disagreed with his counterpart on the similarity of the two series.

"San Jose will probably admit we were a tougher kill this year than we were last year," he said. "Last year, they ripped us apart on the power play. This year, we stopped their power play, for the most part."

Trotz did, however, admit the Sharks also are a stronger team than last year.

"They played a real strong team game," he said. "They are big, they are fast, they have all of the elements to win the Stanley Cup. Their depth, they have four lines. That's what makes them real strong."

San Jose's captain, Marleau cashed in during a five-minute power play late in the second period to forge a 2-2 tie. He came through again in the latter stages of the third to give the Sharks their third straight berth in the conference semifinals.

"He was awesome. He deserved it," Nabokov said. "He was working his butt off. It was great to see him score the winning goal."

Thornton, who led the NHL with 92 assists during the regular season, held the puck behind Nashville's net as defenseman Shea Weber and Vernon Fiddler stood on either side waiting. That left Marleau alone in front, and after receiving a pass from Thornton, he swept a shot past goaltender Tomas Vokoun, giving San Jose a 3-2 edge.

"I was just working down low with Joe and Billy (Guerin)," Marleau said. "Joe, with his great vision and skill, found me. I think there was one guy going at Joe and one guy looking at him. He just found the opening, like he always does. You get that sustained pressure, you might get them running around, and we were able to find the hole."

"He played a great game tonight," Thornton said of Marleau. "Every night we need him to play big, he plays big. Just like last year, he scored the clincher for us, and he does it again tonight. He is a big-time player."

Wilson instructed Thornton to work his magic in order to get his team the win.

"What I said to Joe with 10 minutes left to go in the game was, 'Joe, it's time to dominate,'" Wilson said. "He went out and dominated, without a doubt."

"Ronnie put us out on the offensive draw and said, 'Hey, do something this shift,'" Thornton said. "Patty kept the puck alive a couple of times and Billy did a great job, and ultimately, it just went in the back of the net. It was a good hard-working shift."

Despite a furious attempt to get the equalizer, the Predators managed just two shots on goal the rest of the way as the Sharks held on for the victory.

Jason Arnott and Fiddler tallied for Nashville, which has yet to win a playoff series (0-3) since joining the league in 1998-99.

"It's extremely hard," said Vokoun, who made 34 saves. "If I could have done anything to change the outcome, I would. It's going to be a tough offseason for me. This is going to hurt for a while. ... I wish we could have given (our fans) a better run than this."

Clowe opened the scoring at 8:21 of the first period with his third goal of the postseason. Steve Bernier drove to the net from the right side but had his shot stopped by Vokoun. But Clowe swooped in and buried the rebound for a 1-0 lead.

"They played well in the first period," Predators center Peter Forsberg said. "They got it down in our zone and we didn't play as well as we wanted. We didn't get pucks deep in the corners, like we wanted, all the way. They were able to regroup and come down in our zone."

Nashville drew even early in the second on a power-play tally by Arnott. With Sharks defenseman Craig Rivet in the penalty box for roughing, Weber fired a one-timer from the left point that was slowed by Nabokov but trickled toward the goal line.

Blue-liner Scott Hannan stopped it and attempted a backhanded clear. But he put the puck right on the stick of Arnott, who had an easy tap-in from the left side of the crease at 3:47 for his second tally of the playoffs.

Fiddler put the Predators ahead just 39 seconds later, taking a pass from behind the net by Forsberg and beating Nabokov from the slot for his first career postseason tally.

"I thought in the second period, we came back and played really well and had the momentum there," Forsberg said. "We scored two goals in a minute and had it going."

But Scott Nichol was given a major penalty for spearing defenseman Christian Ehrhoff with 5:02 remaining in the period, and San Jose used the ensuing power play to forge a 2-2 tie.

"I just tried to get my stick between his legs," Nichol said. "I barely touched him, and he went down."

From below the left faceoff circle, Guerin fired a cross-crease feed to Marleau, who put a shot into a vacant right side of the net to increase his franchise-best playoff goals total to 30.

"It was just a maze of people in front," Marleau said. "I was just able to get it off of my skate and onto my stick and pop it in."

The tally came on the 16th of 17 shots in the period for the Sharks, who held a 31-17 advantage after 40 minutes.








  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    SAN JOSE 1 1 1 3
    NASHVILLE 0 2 0 2 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: SAN - RYANE CLOWE 3 (STEVE BERNIER, MARCEL GOC) 8:21
    2ND PRD: NAS - (PP) JASON ARNOTT 2 (SHEA WEBER, KIMMO TIMONEN) 3:47
    NAS - VERNON FIDDLER 1 (PETER FORSBERG, GREG ZANON) 4:26
    SAN - (PP) PATRICK MARLEAU 2

    Apr 20 11:42 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL SAN JOSE 3
    NASHVILLE 2
    3RD PRD: SAN - PATRICK MARLEAU 3 (JOE THORNTON, SCOTT HANNAN) 15:39

    Sharks vs. PredatorsApr 20 11:30 PM
  • 9
    roots
    RUWTbot Took away 46 roots

    Sharks vs. PredatorsApr 20 11:30 PM
  • 55
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 23 roots

    Sharks vs. PredatorsApr 20 11:25 PM
  • 32
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 32 roots

    Sharks vs. PredatorsApr 20 11:25 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    SAN JOSE 1 1 2
    NASHVILLE 0 2 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: SAN - RYANE CLOWE 3 (STEVE BERNIER, MARCEL GOC) 8:21
    2ND PRD: NAS - (PP) JASON ARNOTT 2 (SHEA WEBER, KIMMO TIMONEN) 3:47
    NAS - VERNON FIDDLER 1 (PETER FORSBERG, GREG ZANON) 4:26
    SAN - (PP) PATR

    Apr 20 10:45 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL SAN JOSE 2
    NASHVILLE 2
    2ND PRD: SAN - (PP) PATRICK MARLEAU 2 (BILL GUERIN, CRAIG RIVET) 17:46

    Sharks vs. PredatorsApr 20 10:40 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL SAN JOSE 1
    NASHVILLE 2
    2ND PRD: NAS - VERNON FIDDLER 1 (PETER FORSBERG, GREG ZANON) 4:26

    Sharks vs. PredatorsApr 20 10:14 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL SAN JOSE 1
    NASHVILLE 1
    2ND PRD: NAS - (PP) JASON ARNOTT 2 (SHEA WEBER, KIMMO TIMONEN) 3:47

    Sharks vs. PredatorsApr 20 10:14 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    SAN JOSE 1 1
    NASHVILLE 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: SAN - RYANE CLOWE 3 (STEVE BERNIER, MARCEL GOC) 8:21
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    SAN 14 14
    NAS 8 8
    GOALIES: SAN - EVGENI NA

    Apr 20 9:48 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL SAN JOSE 1
    NASHVILLE 0
    1ST PRD: SAN - RYANE CLOWE 3 (STEVE BERNIER, MARCEL GOC) 8:21

    Sharks vs. PredatorsApr 20 9:27 PM