Carrying momentum from Tuesday night's win, the Nashville Predators defeated the San Jose Sharks 4-3 in triple overtime Thursday evening. After trailing 2-0 in the Western Conference Semifinals, the Preds will fly to the Bay Area with the series now tied up at 2-2.
Colin Wilson got the scoring underway 41 seconds into the game after a deflected Mattias Ekholm shot landed parallel to the net at the goal line. Amidst all the traffic, Wilson was able to slide the puck in for a 1-0 lead.
The Sharks would tie the game up with an even strength goal minutes later when Brent Burns wristed a shot past Pekka Rine from the right side of the ice. It appeared that Pekka Rinne got a piece of the puck but it ricocheted in to even up the score at 1-1.
Mike Fisher, most notably known as Carrie Underwood's spouse and not a professional hockey player, got the lead right back for Nashville at the 9:50 mark of the first period. Fisher buried the puck after James Neal's shot was saved by Martin Jones and landed right in front of the paint for him to clean up before Joe Thornton or Marc-Edouard Vlasic could clear it.
The Sharks' converted just seconds after their first powerplay of the game in the second period when Joonas Donskoi's shot (which was originally several feet wide of the goal) deflected off Ryan Ellis' stick and into the net. Moments earlier, Filip Forsberg whiffed on dumping the puck down the ice, which came back to bite the Predators as Donskoi would convert seconds later.
Peter Laviolette challenged the goal from the bench to see if the Sharks were offside during Forsberg's failed clear. It appeared that Joel Ward was offside before Paul Martin skated past the blue line with the puck, BUT after a lengthy review, the officiating staff determined that it was a good goal. You be the judge.
Regardless of what the call should have been, the Sharks scored the only goal in the second period to make 2-2 heading into the second intermission.
After Chris Tierney drew a kneeing penalty, the Sharks would cash in for their first powerplay goal just seconds into the man advantage during the third period. A clean face-off win by Joe Thornton lead to a slapshot from Burns which hit off the glove of Roman Josi, going into the net, and giving San Jose their first lead of the game.
The lead would be short-lived for the Sharks when Neal tied the game up at 3-3 on a rebound shot with less than five minutes to play in regulation. Neal's fourth goal of the Stanley Cup Playoffs would be the final goal scored by either team as the game continued into overtime.
A Joe Pavelski overtime goal was waved off due to goalie interference. Pavelski crashed into Rinne who no longer could protect his net, but Pavelski argued that he was pushed into Rinne by Paul Gaustad. After reviewing it for several minutes, "incidental contact' was called and play continued on.
Minutes later, Vlasic backhanded the puck out of play, resulting in a delay-of-game penalty sending Nashville to their fourth powerplay of the game. The Sharks would successfully kill the penalty which included several huge saves from Jones on Josi and Shea Weber.
A single overtime period wouldn't be enough as the game continued into the second overtime, turning Thursday night into early Friday morning in Tennessee.
With 2:03 left in double overtime, Shea Weber got penalized for a high-stick on Paul Martin. Despite Martin's noise being cut open, no double-minor was assessed to Weber as it seems like his note was cut open previous to taking the high stick. Even after taking their timeout, San Jose had trouble getting their powerplay unit set up and were unsuccessful in netting the game winner. The game would continue into a third overtime.
Wilson had as good of a chance as ever to win the game for the Preds when he had a breakaway opportunity with 12:42 left in the third overtime. Jones used his stick to deny Wilson of the five-hole attempt and fell on the loose puck.
Remember what I wrote earlier about Mike Fisher being known more that guy married to Carrie Underwood and not a hockey player? Well, he scored the game winning goal in triple overtime, 111:13 into the game, to give the Predators the win.
The series will resume on Saturday evening back in San Jose tied at 2-2 apiece. Now it's a best-of-three series and it wouldn't surprise me if this series went all the way to a Game 7.