The plucky Predators won Game 6 on an overtime goal by Viktor Arvidsson – and forced a Game 7 in San Jose. Will any team win a road game in this series?
The San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues’ fates have felt linked throughout the 2016 playoffs. They each were said to have exorcised demons in Round 1, with San Jose defeating the Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis toppling the Chicago Blackhawks. The Sharks and Blues had the chance to finish off their respective series Monday night and book a date with each other in the Western Conference final…but it wasn’t to be. The Blues fell short at home to Dallas, and San Jose dropped a thriller in Nashville.
The Sharks and Preds started the third period at Bridgestone Arena tied 2-2. A Logan Couture power play goal had San Jose tasting victory, but red-hot Colin Wilson answered less than two minutes later. It was off to overtime, where Viktor Arvidsson took the stage, roofing this remarkable backhander past Martin Jones:
It doesn’t get any more top-corner than that. At first glance, it looks like a shot Jones should’ve had, but the backhander is the hardest shot for a netminder to track off the stick, even if it’s a clean look, and Arvidsson’s couldn’t have been placed any better. It also looks like it changed directions a bit off the blade of Sharks D-man Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s stick. It was his first career post-season goal and, because of it, the Predators are now deeper into the calendar than they’ve ever been in their history. They’d never won seven playoff games in one year until now. A road victory in San Jose in Game 7 would punch Nashville’s first Western Conference final ticket ever, though no road team has won a game in this series yet.
The Sharks still have to be viewed as favorites in Game 7, as they’ll play in their own barn and their power play continues to absolutely sizzle. But they have plenty of reason to quake in their skates a bit. The Preds really put the pressure on them in the third period and overtime of Game 6, and they’ve had the possession stat edge in 5-on-5 Corsi four times in the past five games this series. The Sharks will have to limit their shot attempts allowed in Game 7 – and find away to contain the dynamite line of Colin Wilson, Mike Fisher and James Neal.
Matt Larkin is a writer and editor at The Hockey News and a regular contributor to the thn.com Post-To-Post blog. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Matt Larkin on Twitter at @THNMattLarkin