Thrust into the starter’s role with an injury to Tomas Vokoun, Chris Mason made the most of his first career playoff start, stopping 31 shots to lead the Predators to a 4-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks and a 1-0 lead in their 2006 Western Conference Quarterfinal series.
On the other end of the rink, the power-play unit made the most of its opportunities, notching all four Nashville goals. Paul Kariya served as the contingent’s catalyst, assisting on all four markers to set a franchise record for points in a playoff game that still stands today.
"There's no question the power play has been an impactful part of our game all year, and tonight it showed it's worth," head coach Barry Trotz said.
Nashville fell behind 1-0 just 4:12 into the game, but came storming back with goals by Mike Sillinger, Shea Weber
and Martin Erat
before the conclusion of the first period. San Jose cut the lead to 3-2 in the second period, then tied it midway through the third. A too many men on the ice penalty against the Sharks one minute later set the stage for Adam Hall's deflection goal at 12:06 that put Nashville ahead by the final score of 4-3.
Mason’s best stops came during a final San Jose barrage in the last minute of regulation when the Sharks pulled their goaltender and threw all they had at the Predators.
"It was just crazy," Mason said. "You know once they get it in the zone, their guys are so big they get it down low and they keep moving it around. They get it back and put it on net. Someone came across and knocked my stick out, so Dan Hamhuis had to give me his. We were just scrambling. When the buzzer went it was just relief."