After thoroughly dominating game five, the Sharks got their butts kicked on Monday night in Nashville. Sure, the scoreline only read 4-3 in favor of the Predators, but any other metric shows what really went down at Bridgestone Arena. The Sharks got lucky to send the game to overtime but that luck didn't continue in the extra period.
So now they get to regroup over the next two days. The Sharks host the Predators on Thursday for game seven of the second round series, their 10th in franchise history. Their record in those games sits at 5-4, including a double overtime victory against the Calgary Flames in 1994. San Jose lost their last two game sevens, both to the Kings, in 2013 and 2014. So...good news, the Sharks don't have to play the Kings on Thursday.
They do have to play the Predators. A team that has oscillated between looking quite good and quite bad a few times in this series. The version of Nashville that showed up after the Sharks went up 2-0 is terrifying — or perhaps more accurately, the version of San Jose that started playing after that pair of Chris Tierney goals is horrifically bad. Let's take a quick look at the possession chart, friends.
This score-adjusted fenwick chart shows a couple things. The first is that the Sharks played pretty well in the first period! The second is...right...they played like trash starting in that period and it got ugly when the third period rolled around. Glass half full is that the Sharks managed to stay in the game despite being wildly outplayed...glass half empty is that they played like trash, leaving an incredibly poor taste in fans' mouths.
So...game seven. We all root for these as neutral fans of other series, but...well, hey, this is the worst. I feel good about the Sharks' chances because over the course of the season San Jose has proven to be a great team both 5v5 and on the power play. Still, you're lying if you say you're not at least a little nervous — one unlucky game will end San Jose's season a bit prematurely.
Not that it applies to Thursday's game seven, but here's a look at the Sharks' history in game sevens.
|Date ▾||Tm||Opp||Result||G||PP||SH||S||GA||PP GA||SH GA||SA||DIFF|
|5/19/1995||SJS||CGY||W 5-4 (2OT)||5||0||0||30||4||1||0||60||1|
I'd feel a lot better about this if the Sharks were playing the Red Wings. San Jose is 2-1 in home game sevens — they lost to the Kings 5-1 in 2014 but beat the Red Wings in 2011 and Calgary in 2008. Again, don't read too much into these as it applies to game seven — they just add a bit of context. We'll dive deeper into this over the next two days. For now, let's put this one in the rear view mirror and focus on what the Sharks need to do in game seven.