When the puck entered the offensive zone with 7:13 remaining in regulation time of Game Three, not a single member of the Nashville Predators who eventually factored into their third and final goal of the game had hit the ice yet.
In fact, Austin Watson had time to enter the zone, complete his shift and return to the bench, all before play eventually stopped when Roman Josi's shot hit twine - 83 seconds after Viktor Arvidsson first pursued the puck.
At the 6:43 mark, Filip Forsberg looked to the bench for a swap in favor of Harry Zolnierczyk, completing the change with his linemates Watson and Mike Fisher. With 5:55 left, Fisher and Watson were gone, and Zolnierczyk knew time was almost up for him, too.
"I could tell that I had lost my centerman and winger, and so now I'm looking to ultimately make my change to complete the full change," Zolnierczyk said. "But it just happened that we still had some juice left."
That was all Zolnierczyk needed to find Colton Sissons on the far wall, who fed Josi. And then finally - 83 seconds and 12 Preds players later - it was 3-1.
Get all that?
When all was said and done, Ryan Johansen, Arvidsson, Forsberg, Fisher, Watson, Zolnierczyk, Sissons, Miikka Salomaki, P.K. Subban, Mattias Ekholm, Ryan Ellis and Josi had all been on the ice, all playing a role in one of the more memorable shifts in recent memory. And it was that effort that all but sealed a 3-1 victory over St. Louis in Game Three to give Nashville a 2-1 series lead in Round Two for the first time in club history.
In fact, with all that possession, Josi recorded the only shot of the entire shift, with the players on the ice electing to continue to cycle the puck instead of trying for something that wasn't there.
"Everybody did a great job being patient," Josi said. "[The Blues players] were out there for a long time, and I thought the guys did a great job staying patient and not forcing anything, just holding onto pucks. Whenever we had a chance to make something happen, we took a shot and luckily it went in."
Zolnierczyk, who says he was the beneficiary of hard work from Fisher and Watson, provided a screen on the Josi shot, taking away enough of Jake Allen's sightline.
"I picked up it behind the net, and the Blues defender dropped his stick trying to poke it, so I cut the other way and put it back out to Siss," Zolnierczyk explained. "Siss made a great play to Jos, and I just wanted to get to the front of the net to see if I could cause a little bit of havoc. Jos made an unbelievable shot, and it was a great feeling."
The Predators still had to fend off a final push from the Blues, but that shift and that goal at that juncture of the game? It can be elating for the victors, demoralizing for the opposition.
"The game isn't over with that goal, but you start to put a little bit of doubt in their mind," Zolnierczyk said. "It's so mental out there; you always want to have the upper hand, and to make it 3-1, it just kind of starts to sink that ship a little more on their side."
Preds Set Record Television Rating:
More than 17,200 were inside Bridgestone Arena on Sunday to see the Predators win Game Three, and there were plenty more who spent the afternoon glued to their television.
Sunday's Game Three against the Blues received a 9.4 rating in Nashville, the highest television rating the Preds have ever received in the market. The 60.0 share the game received means that for every television that was on in the city, 60 percent of them were showing the Predators.
It's just one more sign of the postseason fandom that is taking over Music City this spring, and it doesn't show signs of stopping soon.
"It's probably hard to put into words," Head Coach Peter Laviolette said of the playoff atmosphere. "You have to come on down to Bridgestone and see what it's all about. But it's an unbelievable environment. It's loud, there's energy, it's crazy."
"They've just been awesome," defenseman Mattias Ekholm said of the fans. "They never disappoint and they give us energy too. Just to put an emphasis on that, they really are the seventh man out there for us."
Preds Partner with Teamworks:
The Predators became part of an NHL-first on Monday, as Teamworks, the industry leader of mobile collaboration and communication software for athletic organizations, announced a partnership with the Preds, their first with an NHL club. Teamworks modernizes communication methods for the Preds, streamlining information for front office staff, players and coaches.
"Consistent, cohesive communication is paramount to an organization running smoothly," Predators General Manager David Poile said via a Teamworks release. "Teamworks consolidates our daily operation, acting as a central, secure platform for front office, staff and players to access information instantaneously. We're pleased to have the entire organization implement Teamworks, trading previously outdated methods and multiple systems for the software's comprehensive, mobile-first functionalities."
To read more on the partnership, click here.