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Top 10 games of 2015-16 season

Sharks-Predators triple-overtime thriller leads NHL Network panel's list

NHL.com @NHL

The 2015-16 NHL season ended with the Pittsburgh Penguins raising the Stanley Cup after defeating the San Jose Sharks in a six-game Stanley Cup Final. The victory not only capped Pittsburgh's incredible run to the championship, but another memorable season in the League.

A group of researchers and producers from NHL Network picked their top 10 games of the season for a special program to be broadcast over the summer. Here is a look at what they selected:

1. Predators 4, Sharks 3 (3OT)
Western Conference Second Round, Game 4
May 5, Bridgestone Arena, Nashville

The longest game of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs saw the Nashville Predators twice rally from down two goals against the San Jose Sharks to force overtime. Nashville then got new life when officials overturned a would-be San Jose goal after ruling Sharks captain Joe Pavelski gloved the puck into the net at 7:34 of the first overtime.

After 51 minutes, 12 seconds of extra time, Sharks goalie Martin Jones mishandled Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm's initial wrist shot, and Nashville forward Mike Fisher put the rebound past Jones for his second goal of the game, at 1:03 a.m. local time.

"Play simple, try and help each other out," Fisher said. "You knew it was going to be one of those plays where you just get pucks to the net, rebounds, whatever."

Fisher's goal evened the best-of-7 series 2-2 and sent the Predators bench into a state of bedlam.

Tweet from @PredsNHL: BREAKING: WE WON���� >> https://t.co/dyJJdZ4e25 #Preds #SJSvsNSH pic.twitter.com/2Ibt6o9iTq

2. Blues 3, Blackhawks 2
Western Conference First Round, Game 7
April 25, Scottrade Center, St. Louis

The St. Louis Blues already were feeling the heat after losing two straight games. The defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks won Game 5 in St. Louis in the second overtime, then scored five straight goals in their 6-3 win in Game 6. After falling behind early in Game 7 in St. Louis, Chicago rallied from down 2-0 with goals from Marian Hossa and Andrew Shaw.

After Blues forward Troy Brouwer redirected Robby Fabbri's shot off the post and then whiffed on the rebound, he found the puck and scored at 8:31 of the third period.

"That was the ugliest goal I've ever scored and probably the most timely goal I've ever scored," said Brouwer, who helped the Blackhawks win the Cup in 2010.

Tweet from @StLouisBlues: The #stlblues didn't give up & neither did @TroyBrouwer36 on tonight's game- & series-winning goal! #WeAllBleedBluehttps://t.co/kosA4VavPk

Goalie Brian Elliott made 31 saves, leading the Blues to their first Game 7 win since 1999 and dealing the Blackhawks their earliest playoff exit since 2012.

3. Penguins 4, Capitals 3 (OT)
Eastern Conference Second Round, Game 6
May 10, Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh

Four straight third-period penalties from the Pittsburgh Penguins. A Washington Capitals rally from a 3-0 hole while facing elimination. A series-saving stop in overtime by Capitals forward Jay Beagle.

In short, Game 6 had it all.

Washington defenseman John Carlson's 5-on-3 goal, on which he one-timed a pass from Alex Ovechkin past Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray, capped a furious comeback and tied it 3-3 at 13:01 of the third. With Pittsburgh buzzing for the game-winner in overtime, Beagle bailed out Capitals goalie Braden Holtby by lunging to stop a shot by Patric Hornqvist early in overtime to keep Washington alive.

But Nick Bonino's goal at 6:32 of the extra period, after Holtby stopped Carl Hagelin's initial shot, sent the Penguins to the Eastern Conference Final and the Presidents' Trophy winners home.

Tweet from @penguins: Bonino the goal! Bonino the goal! Bonino the goal! BONINO! Here are our favorite calls from the Game 6 OT tally.https://t.co/7cRddtVlLG

"It's the best feeling in the game right there: to win a series and have your teammates around you," Bonino said after the win. "I can't put it into words right now. I still have chills, a little bit."

4. Penguins 3, Sharks 1
Stanley Cup Final, Game 6
June 12, SAP Center, San Jose

Tweet from @penguins: There are no words. pic.twitter.com/QTyjSLB31x

Exactly seven years removed from their previous Stanley Cup championship and three days after blowing an opportunity to clinch Pittsburgh's first major sports championship within city limits since 1960, the Penguins put forth a defensive clinic, limiting the Sharks to 19 shots overall and two in the third period of their Cup-clinching victory.

"In order to win championships, you've got to keep it out of your net," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "You have to become a team that is stingy defensively. Everybody has to buy in to that idea for us to get to where we want to go. To their credit, they did, down to a man."

Sidney Crosby had two assists, including the primary assist on Kris Letang's game-winning goal at 7:46 of the second period, and Hornqvist's empty-net goal with 1:02 in the third period sealed the championship for the Penguins. Crosby was named winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the playoffs.

5. Blues 6, Blackhawks 5 (OT)
Nov. 4, United Center, Chicago

It may have been the first regular-season game between the Blues and Blackhawks of 2015-16, but it did not take long for these Central Division rivals to get reacquainted.

A wild first period saw seven goals scored, including Andrew Shaw's penalty shot and Patrick Kane's power-play goal at 17:52 that gave Chicago a 5-2 lead. Blues goalie Jake Allen replaced Elliott, who had allowed three goals on six shots in the first 6:35, but Allen remained in the net for 41 seconds before St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock put Elliott back in.

However, Elliott was forced from the game later in the first with an upper-body injury after allowing four goals on 15 shots. Allen made saves on 26 of 27 shots, and the Blues roared back to tie the game with three goals in the second period. David Backes scored from a sharp angle with 33.8 seconds left in the second to cap the comeback.

A wild third period that saw 21 shots, 14 from the Blackhawks, yielded no goals. Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko scored at 3:54 of the 3-on-3 overtime to give St. Louis the win. Tarasenko took a pass from Alex Pietrangelo and ripped a shot from between the circles past the glove of Chicago goalie Corey Crawford.

"We came out on our heels a little bit, and they came out flying as they usually do in this building," Allen said. "It wasn't a good first period. We know that, but we came back and proved that we can play."

6. Kings 4, Capitals 3 (OT)
March 9, Staples Center, Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Kings came out flying in Mike Richards' and Justin Williams' return to Staples Center, scoring three times in the first period and outshooting the League's top team 14-6.

Tweet from @LAKings: Moment #8 Williams & Richards Return to LA!https://t.co/mzHdt56E8K

The Kings took a 3-0 lead into the third period, but the Capitals stormed back, firing 18 shots at Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick and scoring three straight goals. Washington defenseman Dmitry Orlov stick-handled through the Kings defense and backhanded the puck past Quick at 16:38 of the third period to tie it 3-3 and force overtime, stunning the crowd at Staples Center.

But Jeff Carter, who won the Stanley Cup with Williams, Richards and the Kings in 2012 and 2014, took a pass from Milan Lucic and scored past Holtby at 2:50 of overtime.

"We played a real good first period and then got away from our game a little bit," Carter said. "We'll learn from it, and we'll be there."

7. Oilers 5, Blue Jackets 1
Feb. 2, Rexall Place, Edmonton

It didn't take long for Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid to impress in his return after missing 37 games with a fractured left clavicle.

In the first game back for the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, McDavid had one of the greatest individual performances of the season, earning the game's First Star with three points and scoring a goal for the ages.

McDavid picked up the puck in the neutral zone, split defensemen Jack Johnson and Justin Falk in the Columbus Blue Jackets zone, and then deked around goalie Joonas Korpisalo for a breathtaking goal at 9:58 of the second period that broke a 1-1 tie and stood up as the game-winner.

Tweet from @NHL: McDAVID. IS. BACK.https://t.co/J2vjqimBcJ

"It was a nice goal, I guess," McDavid said. "It was three months of waiting around and a lot of grumpy days and all that. It definitely felt really good to get that one."

8. Islanders 2, Panthers 1 (2OT)
Eastern Conference First Round, Game 6
April 24, Barclays Center, New York

It may have taken a little longer than expected, but the New York Islanders ended their 23-year playoff series win drought, advancing behind their captain and the No. 1 pick of the 2009 NHL Draft, John Tavares.

With Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss pulled at the other end, Tavares stashed a rebound of Nikolay Kulemin's shot past Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo, tying it 1-1 with 53.2 remaining in the third period.

Midway through the second overtime, Luongo stopped a shot by Tavares, who then took the rebound behind the net and scored a wraparound goal at 10:41 that won the game and pushed the Islanders into the second round.

"You can't even really process it," Tavares said. "I'm glad it went in because my leg started cramping in that pile. I'm glad I didn't have to skate back down. It was obviously just amazing to look around and just see all the orange and blue. Just incredible."

Tweet from @NHL: Game over. Series over. #FLAvsNYI #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/ufHUG3Kh2z

9. Lightning 6, Jets 5 (SO)
Feb. 18, Amalie Arena, Tampa

Fans go wild for drama, big hits, goals, 3-on-3 overtime and shootouts, and this game had all of it.

After Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice was ejected at the start of the third period, the Jets rallied with four goals in 8:39 to take a 5-4 lead on Mathieu Perreault's goal with 5:20 remaining.

But 24 seconds later, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov answered with a highlight-reel goal. After he nearly collided with teammate Tyler Johnson, Kucherov's wrist shot from the hash marks went past the outstretched arm of Winnipeg goalie Ondrej Pavelec to tie it 5-5.

"We gave up so many goals in the third," Kucherov said. "I got the puck and was able to get through, and luckily it went in the net."

After scoring his 299th NHL goal earlier in the game, captain Steven Stamkos won it for the Lightning when he beat Pavelec with a wrist shot in the fifth round of the shootout.

10: Kings 3, Oilers 2
Oct. 25, Rexall Place, Edmonton

Tanner Pearson's power-play goal with 3:26 left in the third period gave the Kings a 3-2 lead, but Edmonton peppered the Los Angeles net looking for the game-tying goal. The Oilers had 15 third-period shots against Quick, who made 14 saves.

But it was Quick's final save of the night that was most memorable.

In the final seconds, Taylor Hall's shot from a sharp angle hit Quick's stick and bounced to McDavid. The Oilers center backhanded the puck toward the wide-open net, but Quick lunged back with his glove hand and stopped it with one of the best saves of the season with 3.8 seconds left to preserve a Kings victory.

The play was reviewed but came back inconclusive.

"He made a good save," McDavid said. "I thought it could have gone in. Obviously, it's pretty tough to see if his glove kind of covered it up over there. Tough play."

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