NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- It was an improvement, but it still wasn't a victory.
Twenty-four hours after an embarrassing loss that players said needed to be a wake-up call, the Sharks dropped their sixth consecutive game, a 1-0 overtime loss Tuesday night to the Nashville Predators in which San Jose tightened up its defense but still couldn't buy a goal.
"We've got to find a way to get over the hump and get one by some goaltenders and find some wins here," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said of his team that began 7-0-0 and now finds itself at 7-3-3.
For his second consecutive start, Sharks goalie Antti Niemi shut out an opponent for three periods and didn't get the win. This one was decided at 2:08 of the extra period when Predators forward Colin Wilson's redirection of a shot by defenseman Ryan Ellis squeezed between Niemi's blocker and his body.
That was Nashville's first shot in an overtime that saw Predators goalie Pekka Rinne make three saves and then manage to keep the puck out of the net with Joe Pavelski on his doorstep.
"It's laying there, it's so close," Pavelski said of the puck. "The way it was tonight, there were other chances."
What the Sharks were able to do was shake off any aftereffects of a 6-2 humiliation in Columbus the night before. McLellan held a 20-minute team meeting Tuesday morning, going over video of what went wrong and letting players know how unacceptable that performance was.
"A much better
One element of the Sharks' game that took a step backward was the power play, which did score a goal in Columbus but went 0 for 6 against Nashville, including 41 seconds of a two-man advantage.
There were lineup changes between the two games, and McLellan tinkered with his forward combinations because of them.
The Sharks called up their leading scorer from Worcester, Tim Kennedy, and immediately put him on the second line with Logan Couture and Ryane Clowe while reuniting Patrick Marleau with Joe Thornton and Pavelski on the top line.
McLellan kept his third line of James Sheppard, Michal Handzus and Tommy Wingels together but dropped Marty Havlat to the fourth line where he skated alongside TJ Galiardi and Adam Burish.
The Sharks did come out strong in the first period, outshooting Nashville 13-3, but were unable to get the puck past Rinne, whose biggest save might have come at 12:15 when Couture set up Kennedy in the slot. Nashville increased the pressure in the middle period, and this time it was Niemi making the tougher saves.
"I thought the game changed a little bit in the second when we failed to shoot," McLellan said. "We wanted to make plays into the middle, and they're such a strong backchecking team that they started to pick those off and go the other way. We'll have to look at that and fix it."
Nashville stayed in control during most of the third period as the Sharks got only three shots on net while Niemi had to make 10 saves. Two in the game's final 30 seconds -- including a quick glove on a shot by Predators forward Gabriel Bourque -- earned San Jose its one point.
"I saw the puck laying around and nobody had it, so I thought it might be a quick shot, and that's what it was," Niemi said of the save on Bourque.
Twice San Jose has been shut out and twice scored only one goal during this six-game streak without a victory. And that, Niemi almost reluctantly acknowledged, does put more pressure on the goalie.
"Either way you want to play well, even if your team is scoring a lot," Niemi said, "but maybe a little bit."
What Tuesday night's loss did is simply get the Sharks back to where they were before their game in Columbus. And that only puts the spotlight back on lack of scoring.
"Getting shut out two of three games isn't going to win in this league, so we need to get it done," Couture said. "It's frustrating."
"A smart player, skilled player, a slick kind of guy," Couture said of his new linemate, comparing Kennedy to former Shark Benn Ferriero. "He jumped right in and did a wonderful job tonight. He didn't look like he was out of the NHL for too long."
Kennedy had 13 goals and 24 assists in 37 games with Worcester this season.
In both cases, the coach said, it was a combination of both health and their recent play to one degree or another. For Burns, who was activated last week, it was a case of having to play three games in four nights, "but also his play wasn't very good in Columbus," McLellan said.
Gomez, he added, was more a reflection on the flu bug than his play.
Sharks (7-3-3) at Chicago (10-0-3). 5:30 p.m. CSNCA
The Sharks' record in February after going 7-0-0 in January.