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Predators Bite Into Sharks 4-2

After keeping the San Jose Sharks scoreless for two periods, Nashville Predators goaltender Mike Dunham wasn't about to start dreaming of a shutout.

Sure enough, the Sharks came back from a 3-0 deficit Tuesday night to score twice in the final period, before the Predators came away with a 4-2 victory.

"I've learned over the years you can't do that. San Jose outworked us in the third period," Dunham said. "Tonight we escaped with the win."

Dunham, who stopped 33 shots, earned his fifth victory, matching his total last season with New Jersey.

"Dunham played an outstanding game. He kind of inspired us to play harder," said Cliff Ronning, who had Nashville's first goal of the night. "He just played so well, then they got kind of a crummy goal on him, but he hung in there in the end."

Ronning's goal against San Jose goalie Mike Vernon came just 1:40 into the game. He needs one more goal to reach 200 for his career.

To open the second period, Sergei Krivokrasov took a pass from Greg Johnson and beat Vernon from out in front of the crease. Krivokrasov leads the Predators with eight goals and five assists.

Darren Turcotte, a former Shark, stole a pass in front of Vernon's net and got his first goal of the season with 5:27 left in the second period, giving the Predators a 3-0 lead. The goal brought boos from an increasingly hostile crowd at the San Jose Arena.

The Sharks finally scored at 4:24 into the third period when defenseman Mike Rathje's long shot hit Dunham's pad and slid just over the line before hitting the corner and bouncing out. It was Rathje's third goal, matching his total last season.

Then with 4:14 left, San Jose's Jeff Friesen sped the puck down the ice and flicked it to Andrei Zyuzin, who scored. The assist extended Friesen's scoring streak to six games.

Friesen said it was too little, too late.

"You can't play one period of hockey and move anywhere in the standings," he said. "We need some wins."

Scott Walker added an empty-net goal with 12 seconds left for the Predators.

Sharks coach Darryl Sutter was visibly distressed after the game. The Sharks have just two victories this season fewest in the NHL.

"You can't win when two or three guys try to do it all for us," he said.

Vernon, who stopped 16 shots, had allowed two or fewer goals in his last three starts going into Tuesday night's game. He still needs just one more victory to tie Gump Worsley for ninth on the all-time victories list with 334.

The Predators, in the middle of a six-game road trip, have not been home since Oct. 31. In a rare show of allegiance to a visiting team, a brave group of Predators fans had a sign reading "Here fishy, fishy.

©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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