Mike Fisher scored at 11:12 of the third overtime in Game Four against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night at Bridgestone Arena to even the Second Round series at 2-2. It’s the first time the Preds have won a postseason game in overtime at home, a game that has already made its mark on the franchise.
“We were just trying to do all we could do to just find a way, and everyone did a great job,” Fisher said. “Everyone in the lineup played solid, played hard. That was a great hockey game, and our fans had as much energy as anyone. Going out for that third [overtime period] they were unbelievable, and we tried to feed off of that a little bit too.”
Game Four couldn’t have gotten off to a better start for the Preds, as it took only 41 seconds for Colin Wilson to deposit his team-leading fourth goal of the postseason for a 1-0 lead. Mattias Ekholm’s point shot eventually found its way to the stick of Wilson, and the forward snuck it off the post and past Martin Jones for the fastest goal at home from the start of a postseason game in franchise history.
Brent Burns got it back for San Jose at the 3:08 mark of the opening frame, but Mike Fisher scored his first at 9:50, collecting a rebound at the side of the net and capitalizing for his third of the postseason to extend his point streak to four games and give his club a 2-1 advantage headed into the first intermission.
The only goal of the second stanza came on the power play for San Jose, as Joonas Donskoi’s shot found its way through the pads of Pekka Rinne. Nashville challenged the call for offside prior to the goal being scored, but the linesmen deemed the play to be valid, producing a 2-2 tie after two periods.
Burns got his second of the game to give San Jose their first lead of the night at 6:48 of the third period, but Nashville didn’t go away. After striking two posts to begin the third period, the Preds finally got one under the bar with less than five minutes remaining in regulation. James Neal pounced on a loose puck to the right of Jones and slammed it home for his fourth of the postseason to send the Preds to overtime for the first time in the 2016 playoffs.
Once OT was underway, the teams went back and forth. San Jose pushed a puck past Rinne, but the goal was disallowed due to goaltender interference. After that, it was save after save for Rinne – who ended up with 44 in total, before Fisher finally ended the contest after 1 a.m. (CT).
“You have to give credit to Pekka,” defenseman Mattias Ekholm said. “He kept us in the game all OT and all game long. We are going to be tired coming into the second overtime and third. Usually it’s just a simple shot and a rebound that will decide these kinds of games, and that was the case tonight, and we’ll take it. It’s a huge win for us, and we’ll enjoy it tonight, forget about it tomorrow. It’s a new game on Saturday.”
While the series is far from over, Thursday night’s/Friday morning’s contest was one that won’t soon be forgotten. The hope in the Preds locker room is that the result will pay dividends moving forward, but for now, Game Four will undoubtedly go down as one of the best in franchise history.
“I don’t care how these wins come if we have to play all night.” Rinne said. “It’s a 2-2 series right now, and you can’t say enough about San Jose too. They have a great team, and they played a strong game, but like I said, it shows a lot of character when you pull out a win like this.”
“Certainly, I think that our guys are playing confidently right now, and I said that about Game Two, Game Three and now with Game Four,” Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “It was a good game for us, so I thought our guys did a good job.”
Gif of the Game:
Don’t worry if you can’t stop watching this celebration. You’re not alone.
Peter Laviolette on winning in triple overtime:
“The guys played so hard, and when you get that deep into a game, there is a lot invested. I’m so happy for our guys for pulling it out and getting the win. We invested a lot. There is a lot of character in our room, and to win a game like that is big. If you think about the other scenario, it would have been 3-1 the other way. One win and three losses. This ties it up 2-2. It shortens the series, and our guys played like champs tonight.”
Colin Wilson scored his 10th career postseason goal on Thursday night, putting him alone in second place in the category in Predators franchise history.
Wilson’s five-game, postseason point streak has tied former Preds skater and current Sharks winger Joel Ward for the longest such streak in club history.
At 111:12, Game Four was the longest in Predators franchise history, eclipsing the old mark set last postseason in Game Four of Round One against Chicago.
Nashville is now 3-7 all-time in postseason overtime games and 2-3 all-time in games that go to multiple overtimes.
Mike Fisher’s goal on Thursday was his second-career, playoff overtime game-winning goal. His last was April 18, 2004 (versus Toronto) in the second OT (21:47 time elapsed)
Game Five between the Preds and Sharks is set for Saturday night in San Jose, a 9 p.m. (CT) start (TV coverage on NBCSN). Game Six, which is now necessary, comes Monday night in Nashville. A start time has not yet been announced.
Mike Fisher scores the biggest goal in Predators history and earns first start honors.
Infographic: Triple Overtime Win