Stop me if you've heard this before: as a Marvel movie tops the box office, the Sharks have a chance to advance to the Western Conference Final against a Central Division opponent, with whom they share a playoff history.
That was the case in 2011, the last time the Sharks made it past the second round, and that remains the case today. Swap Captain America: Civil War for Thor, and the Nashville Predators for the Detroit Red Wings, and you have the context for tonight's Game 6 five years later.
Just as they did then, the Sharks hold a 3-2 lead heading in tonight's Game 6. The Sharks hope to avoid the pitfalls of five years ago, and eliminate the Predators on their home ice, instead of returning to (what is now) the SAP Center for a decisive Game 7.
Unlike that series against the Red Wings, San Jose enters tonight's Game 6 on the heels of arguably their best performance this postseason, and one that they hope to build off of to propel their playoff hopes into the next round.
Tale Of The Tape
|46-30-6||Regular Season Record||41-27-14|
|3rd in Pacific||Regular Season Finish||4th in Central|
|53.3%||Regular Season Even Strength, Score-Adj. Fenwick||53.7%|
|100.4||Regular Season PDO||99.4|
|22.5||Regular Season PP%||19.7|
|80.5||Regular Season PK%||81.2|
Joe Pavelski scored twice, while Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, and Joonas Donskoi each scored two points as the Sharks dominated Nashville, 5-1.
- Something's gotta give: Nashville is 2-0 this postseason in elimination games, while San Jose is 1-0. The Sharks are also 2-0 all-time in elimination games in Nashville.
- After being held scoreless in the first two games of the series, Patrick Marleau has now scored twice in the last three games. He was also one of the Sharks' best forwards at even strength in his return to the second line. Marleau's coming off of one of the worst regular seasons of his career, but has scored in bunches throughout his career. Hopefully, that remains the case this postseason and he rides a long hot streak the rest of the postseason.
- They managed to score Nashville's lone goal in Game 5, but the Sharks did a stellar job shutting down the Neal-Wilson-Fisher line. The trio were three of the Predators' four worst forwards at even strength, as Vlasic and Braun saw the bulk of the ice time against them. Pete DeBoer doesn't have last change at his disposal tonight, but will need to do everything he can to get that pairing against Nashville's best line.