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Associated Press
4/13/2007 11:19:32 PM


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Nashville Predators spent the off-season adding size after being embarrassed by the San Jose Sharks in the playoffs last year.

They showed Friday night they're big enough now not to back down from anyone.

J.P. Dumont scored an unassisted short-handed goal, then added a power-play goal 2½ minutes later, and the Predators evened their Western Conference quarter-final by beating San Jose 5-2.

Game 3 of the best-of-seven series is Monday night in San Jose.

Peter Forsberg scored two goals, rookie Alexander Radulov had a goal and an assist in the first period, and Marek Zidlicky had two assists as the Predators made sure this series will return to Nashville for Game 5.

Craig Rivet scored for San Jose, which outshot Nashville 24-22.

These teams haven't been happy with each other since Wednesday night.

San Jose forward Jonathan Cheechoo was knocked out of that game with a sprained knee. The Sharks keep calling it a dirty hit, which the Predators called an unfortunate collision that should not have resulted in Scott Hartnell's ejection.

With emotions high, the teams combined for 25 penalties - 10 in the first period alone - with officials busy separating players. Nashville coach Barry Trotz yelled at officials from the bench after Hartnell was called for a tripping penalty in the first session.

When Forsberg clinched the victory with an empty-net goal with 65 seconds left, things disintegrated with three separate fights off the ensuing faceoff and five players ejected.

The worst of the rugged play came much earlier. Radulov skated up and elbowed Steve Bernier into the boards at 4:44 of the second, snapping Bernier's head back before the Sharks forward fell face-first onto the ice. A stretcher was called for before Joe Thornton and Marcel Goc helped him off.

Officials gave Radulov a five-minute major and game misconduct. But San Jose could not score, not even with a 5-on-3 advantage for 61 seconds at the end of that major.

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