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Shark-bit again

Last night's 2-1 loss to San Jose was a classic tale of the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly:

The Good: Jason Arnott scored his 25th goal of the season from his favorite haunt on the power play, near the faceoff dot to the right of the opposing goaltender. Also, owner David Freeman has clearly been bitten by the hockey bug, as he was stewing over calls (and non-calls) by the officials; it's always good to see an owner get that worked up over what's happening on the ice. Dan Ellis turned in a solid effort as well. He gave his team a chance to win even when perhaps they didn't deserve it.

The Bad: More dumb-dumb penalties for the Predators gave San Jose all the momentum in the 2nd period. In the 3rd, Radulov took a senseless tripping penalty after getting frustrated by the officials not calling Craig Rivet for interfering with him; the bottom line is that you have to fight through that stuff and keep working. It seemed like the refs were in the Predators' heads just as much as the Sharks were, as Scott Nichol flopped to the ice during a penalty kill, trying to draw a makeup call. The Sharks scored just moments later to take the 1-0 lead.

The Ugly: That first goal triggered what might have been the longest video review I've ever seen. While the puck did indeed cross the line, my only question would be whether the whistle had blown before that occured. In Toronto, they were looking at not just where the puck was, but whether it was kicked or shoved by Joe Pavelski, so it took close to 10 minutes before the goal was ruled valid.

The Ugly, Part 2: The league should really look at what Evgeni Nabokov did to Jordin Tootoo in the 1st; as Tootoo came in hard to pursue a puckcarrier behind the San Jose net, Nabokov waved his stick and clipped Tootoo in the head, sending Jordin slamming into the end boards. That's a classic high-sticking foul; Nabokov has to be responsible for his stick, even if he didn't intend to actually hit Toots.

The bottom line last night was that the Sharks looked like a very good team playing a disciplined game, while the Preds struggled to build momentum and suffered mental lapses that San Jose took advantage of. Thursday night the Kings come to town for a game that the Predators simply must win; if they can't put together a focused, determined effort against a bottom-dweller like L.A., those playoff hopes will start fading away...

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