That loss will sting for a while. Unlike game three's relatively anti-climactic conclusion, the Sharks had chance after chance to win game four on Thursday night. It took three overtimes for Nashville to score a game-winner, but the Sharks' missed chances loomed large after Mike Fisher scored to tie this series at two games apiece.
The no-goal ruling on Joe Pavelski's apparent tally in overtime can't be ignored, of course. It looked, to me, to be the game-winner and the Sharks ended up on the wrong side of bad officiating. Still, even after that goal was canceled out the Sharks had chances to win. Tomas Hertl received a perfect pass from Joe Thornton but couldn't beat Pekka RInne. Joel Ward earned a wraparound scoring chance but couldn't turn it into a goal.
By the time the seventh goal of the game hit the twine, the Sharks led in score-adjusted fenwick, score-adjusted corsi and, hell, in both of those categories without score adjustments, too. San Jose didn't play all that well during the first three periods of the game, but the Sharks turned on the heat in overtime and, quite frankly, looked to be the better team.
If there's a positive to take from this devastating loss, it's that the Sharks played a better game once the third period horn sounded. That's small consolation to take from a game that could have all but put this series away, but if the Sharks are to regroup in this series, it should be around that solid overtime effort. Hell, that's what the Predators had to do.
After game two, a contest the Sharks played merely okay in, the Predators took some encouragement from their strong play despite the loss. If the Sharks want to go on a deep playoff run, they'll have to find similar motivation entering game five on Saturday. All this loss does is put the series in the same position it was in entering game one. If the Sharks hold serve at home, we'll be talking about a gutty series win.
A second-straight mediocre performance by Martin Jones will, for the first time in this postseason, awaken cries for James Reimer. It would be tough to hang this loss on Jones, who made a couple of spectacular saves in overtime to keep the game alive, but it's hard to deny the allure of a fresh goaltender who put up some excellent numbers in the regular season.
Little will be remembered from Thursday's loss beyond Pavelski's no-goal, but if the Sharks are going to win this series, they'll need to remember the things they did right in overtime. Those missed chances need to be wiped from the mind as quickly as possible — we've got a nerve-wracking game five on Saturday to fret about.