— Brooks Bratten (@brooksbratten) May 6, 2016
Sleep be damned! It’s the playoffs. There is nothing like a three overtime game to get the heart racing and the coffee percolating.
As if Mike Fisher’s life couldn’t get any better, he got to be the hero in a record setting game for the Nashville Predators as they draw the series even.
The Predators struck first just 41 seconds into the game.
A Mattias Ekholm blast from the point was blocked by Marc-Edouard Vlasic and behind goaltender Martin Jones. Colin Wilson pounces on the puck and puts the Predators up 1-0.
Nashville set a couple of records in this game. This goal marked one of them as the fastest home playoff goal scored in team history. Wilson picked up a point in his fifth straight game to tied Joel Ward – who he is playing against – for a franchise playoff high.
The Predators scored on their first shot of the game. Not to be outdone, the Sharks followed up with a goal on their first shot.
Brent Burns joined Logan Couture on the rush. Couture passes the puck off the defenseman. From the side boards, even with the faceoff dot, Burns flings the puck on net and it beats Rinne.
Mike Fisher picked up his first of two goals to give the Predators the 2-1 lead.
Roman Josi made a swift drop pass to James Neal. Neal turns and rockets a shot off the blocker of Martin Jones. Fisher swoops in and punches the rebound into a wide open net.
The period closed with Nashville up 2-1.
The lone goal of the second period was a controversial one. With the Sharks on the power play, Joonas Donskoi’s sends a heavy one-timer on net. The puck appears to deflect off Ryan Ellis’s stick and into the net.
No harm, no foul, right?
Nashville took issue with the goal and challenged it for offsides. After a lengthy review, and consultation with the Situation Room in Toronto, this is what they concluded:
After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Linesman determined that the Sharks tagged up and entered the attacking zone legally prior to the goal.
Therefore the original call stands – good goal San Jose Sharks.
Here’s a better look at the play to show how the coach’s challenged worked well this time.
— Thomas Willis (@TomAWillis) May 6, 2016
The second period ended in a tie.
San Jose took advantage of the game early in the third when Barret Jackman was sent off the ice for kneeing.
Joe Thornton won the ensuing faceoff back to Brent Burns. Burns passes it over to Couture who returns it right away. Burns one times it on net and the puck deflects off Josi’s arm and into the back of the net.
Sharks up 3-2.
In one of the final media timeouts of the third period, the Nashville faithful got to their feet and and cheered the entire two minutes to whip the building into the frenzy.
It appeared to pay off.
With 4:21 on the clock, everybody’s favorite James Neal ties the game on another rebound left by Martin Jones.
Away to overtime we’d go!
The Sharks appeared to have won it after 4:08 in the start of the first overtime period when Joe Pavelski definitely gets the puck over the line.
Only problem was how it got there.
Unfortunately for the San Jose Sharks, [Pavelski] did so from his stomach, while laying on top of goalie Pekka Rinne, have barreled into him on a confusing, controversial play that ended with the Sharks have a goal waved off on the ice and then having the ruling confirmed by the NHL War Room.
Play went on and on and on…
At the 1:01 mark of the third overtime period, the game became the longest playoff game in Predators history.
Mercifully, Mike Fisher finally put the game to bed.
Just over midway through the third overtime, Fisher pounces on another rebound by Jones, this time off of an Ekholm shot. He dances around Jones in the crease and pots the game winner.
When asked to describe the game winning goal by Joe Micheletti of NBC Sports, Fisher said, “I’m so tired, I almost forget.”
While the goal was great. The reaction by the Predators bench was even better. From our buddy, Pete Blackburn:
Dudes literally just falling out of the Preds bench after 3OT win pic.twitter.com/safKYtUE8x
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) May 6, 2016
Two Preds players jump/climb out of the bench and slam on to the ice at exactly the same time. It was a long night for them, too.
Fisher’s biggest fan gave him some love on social media after the goal.
— Carrie Underwood (@carrieunderwood) May 6, 2016
This might be the only time he’s more popular in Nashville than his wife. Well, at least for the next 24-ish hours he is.
The series is now tied at two games a piece as the teams return to San Jose for Game 5.
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