San Jose Sharks Falter As Predators Force Game 7

May 9, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; San Jose Sharks goalie Martin Jones (31) reacts as he is unable to stop the game tying goal from Nashville Predators center Colin Wilson (33) during the third period in game six of the second round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
May 9, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; San Jose Sharks goalie Martin Jones (31) reacts as he is unable to stop the game tying goal from Nashville Predators center Colin Wilson (33) during the third period in game six of the second round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /
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This series is heading to a Game 7 after San Jose couldn’t hang on to a pair of leads as Nashville takes Game 6 in overtime.

For the second straight game in Music City, the San Jose Sharks came up one shot short. After holding a two different leads throughout Game 6, the pesky Nashville Predators just wouldn’t go away.

These two teams would need overtime once again, and just like in Game 4, it was the home team that found the game-winner. Viktor Arvidsson would corral a bouncing puck that eluded Melker Karlsson and lifted a perfectly placed backhander just 2:03 into overtime for his first career Stanley Cup playoff goal to give Nashville a 4-3 victory and send this series to a decisive Game 7 on Thursday night.

San Jose got the start they were looking for in this one as they stifled the Nashville attack while sending plenty of rubber towards Nashville netminder Pekka Rinne. The Sharks would strike first after some great work down low.

Tomas Hertl fed Marc-Edouard Vlasic whose shot from the point was deflected home by Chris Tierney for his second goal of the playoffs. It was perfect execution from team teal who didn’t allow their first shot on goal until past the midpoint of the first period.

San Jose would keep the pressure on the Predators, and it would pay dividends less than two minutes later as the Sharks were able to initiate their offense from the point once again.

This time it was a Brent Burns blast from the point that was kicked out to Matt Nieto, and his shot rebounded right to Tierney who backhanded home his second goal of the night as the Sharks established a 2-0 lead 11:51 into the game.

Nashville would begin their push back and a fortunate bounce would get the home team right back into things. After a turnover at their own blue line, the puck would find Roman Josi whose backhand attempt appeared to deflect off a Sharks defender in front and flutter in past Martin Jones to cut the team teal lead in half after one period of play.

It was a flukey goal from Nashville but one that jump-started the entire building which had been awfully quiet following the early San Jose goals.

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The Predators would carry over the momentum from late in the first period and would strike early in the second frame as the Sharks were once again caught on their heels.

A great pinch along the boards from Ryan Ellis allowed the puck to come to Ryan Johansen who walked right around Justin Braun before sliding the puck between the legs of Jones for his fourth goal of the playoffs to knot things up at two just 85 seconds into the second.

From there, it was all Nashville who came at San Jose in waves, outshooting the visitors by a 14-4 margin. Luckily, Jones was able to thwart the Predators and prevent the puck from finding the back of the net as the Sharks defense barely hung on as the two teams were knotted up at two after 40 minutes of play.

It was a tentative start to the third as neither team wanted to make a mistake that would become the potential game-winning goal.

After the Predators failed to convert on their first power play of the game, the Sharks would get a big opportunity when Mikka Salomaki was called for high-sticking Jones in front of the San Jose net.

It would prove to be a costly one as Logan Couture would bury his sixth of the postseason into a gaping net as Rinne just fell down as he was trying to shuffle over into position. The goal was Couture’s fifth goal of this series and reclaimed the lead for team teal just past the halfway point of the third.

But the lead wouldn’t last for long as Nashville’s best players in this series connected once again to tie things back up for the Predators. A simple entry into the Sharks zone allowed James Neal to hit Colin Wilson all alone in front for an easy tap-in goal just 1:40 after Couture gave San Jose the lead.

It was a brutal defensive zone break down for the Sharks in coverage and one that couldn’t happen at that point in the game when three players were back in white.

Following the goal, it was all Predators again as they continued the barrage against Jones who was able to hold on long enough to send things to overtime for the second consecutive game in Music City.

San Jose had the first couple of chances with Rinne denying Joonas Donskoi before a puck hopped right over Burns’ stick with an open net chance.

Then, a simple flip out of the defensive zone was misplayed by Karlsson which allowed Arvidsson to swoop in and send the home crowd into a frenzy as the home team has won every game thus far in this series.

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It was a really tough night for team teal who never were able to find their footing after the Predators scored their first goal. From that moment on, the Sharks felt like they were hanging on for dear life as Nashville was clearly the more desperate and dangerous team.

Despite all that, San Jose still had an opportunity to win the game but couldn’t get the job done. They’ll need to regroup and be much better in Game 7 in order to close out this Predators team that just won’t quit.