Even if you take away what was at stake in Monday night's Game 6, the game would still be put into the history books as one of the greatest Predators games in franchise history.
Nashville went down 2-0 early and put together all in all a lackluster first period, but the next forty minutes plus was all Nashville as they mounted not only a comeback to tie it at 2-2 in the second period but tied things up at 3-3 late in regulation as well before forcing a Game 7 with their overtime winner.
The first period was mostly San Jose as they put eight shots on goal while Nashville managed just five. The Sharks also created more scoring chances in the opening period (11) while the Preds put together eight. Then, the Predators decided to throw anything and everything at the Sharks in the final two periods and manhandled the Sharks on the stat sheet.
When it was all said and done, the Predators out shot the Sharks 32-18, out chanced the Sharks 41-20 and had 13 high-danger scoring chances compared to San Jose's five. Oh, and let's not forget Nashville's Corsi For total in all situations of 76 compared to San Jose's mark of 45. The Preds showed the hockey world what kind of team they can be all while having their backs against the wall facing elimination.
Things got off to a bad start for the Preds. With 10:05 left in the first period Chris Tierney scored to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead. Marc-Edouard Vlasic threw a puck towards the net and Tierney was credited with a tip-in that fooled the screened Pekka Rinne who looked to be set and ready to make the save on the initial shot but not after the puck was redirected.
Then, less than two minutes later, Tierney struck again. This time the 21-year-old was in the right place at the right time as the deflected puck bounced right to his stick and he buried it into the seemingly open net.
The Predators were in a bad spot, a really bad spot in fact. Being down 1-0 was fine, but going down 2-0 early to a team like San Jose who has shown that they can play a lockdown style was not good.
Roman Josi grabbed some of the game's momentum back with 4:33 left in the frame as the Preds got their first bounce in nearly four periods of play dating back to the Game 5 debacle.
The Josi goal gave Nashville and Bridgestone Arena life again and from then on out it was all Nashville for the most part.
Ryan Johansen tied the game up right out of the gates in the middle frame for his sixth goal of the post season. Ryan Ellis had the assist on the goal thanks to his tremendous pinch along the wall and delicate pass to Johansen who then showed off his hands with the slo-mo move to the net and backhand between the legs of Martin Jones.
Ryan Johansen backhand magic. Preds and Sharks tied at 2’s. pic.twitter.com/LL4k8DwAos— Mark Harris (@MCHisTweeting) May 10, 2016
Johansen's goal 1:25 into the second period was the only goal scored in the frame. Nashville out shot the Sharks 14-4 in the middle period however and created five high-danger scoring chances. The momentum was in their favor and the puck was in the Sharks' end for the majority.
The third period began and just 2:07 into it the Predators received the game's first power play. Nashville put only one shot on goal however and created two scoring chances but the Preds' man advantage remained silent.
This hit happened, too. No penalty on the play, just a big time hit by a big man with a scary beard and two missing front teeth.
Brent Burns just unloaded on Craig Smith: pic.twitter.com/zAxvQMvIcu— Mark Harris (@MCHisTweeting) May 10, 2016
While the Predators did not manage anything on their power play the Sharks got a PP chance of their own with 11:01 left in regulation and they made it count.
Logan Couture received a pass from Brent Burns and as he received the puck Rinne completely lost his footing and fell to the ice. Couture pretty much had an open net and all of the sudden the Sharks had regained the lead, 3-2.
Pekka Rinne falls over. Logan Couture scores. Sharks lead the Preds 3-2 w/ less than 10 left: pic.twitter.com/fcXIQAvAX1— Mark Harris (@MCHisTweeting) May 10, 2016
Overhead look of Rinne falling over: pic.twitter.com/YE85hlKC5X— Mark Harris (@MCHisTweeting) May 10, 2016
Just when you were thinking 'no, not like this, please not like this' the Predators managed to answer right back on a beautiful goal scored by Mr. Playoffs himself, Colin Wilson. Mike Ribeiro sent a great pass to James Neal positioned on the right face off dot who then zipped a fantastic pass to a cutting Wilson who buried the tap-in to knot things up at 3-3 with 7:16 left in regulation.
Following the goal the Predators pieced together a number of chances to grab the go-ahead goal, but none better than this move by Neal.
But, as if there was any doubt, the game headed into overtime.
This overtime didn't last over 50 minutes like it did in Game 4; nope, the Predators needed just 2:03 of extra time to force a Game 7.
As the play began it did not seem like anything was going to come of it. Miikka Salomaki simply flipped the puck in the air towards the Sharks blue line, but the puck took a bounce between three different Sharks to Viktor Arvidsson. The forward who was promoted to the top-line for Game 6 skated on his weak side carrying the puck on his backhand.
Arvidsson then decided to throw the puck towards the net - a play we've seen from him game after game this year - but this backhand was different. It was perfect. It flew into the rigth-hand corner of the goal. This backhand from distance that didn't look like much kept the Preds' Stanley Cup hopes alive.
THAT is a backhand shot. Arvidsson pushes the Preds to Game 7: pic.twitter.com/VtE8BFNihg— Mark Harris (@MCHisTweeting) May 10, 2016
I suggest watching the full highlight.
That my friends was a hockey game.
The home team and underdog went down 2-0 in front of their fans in an elimination game. In front of fans that have never seen a Western Conference Final on that ice and fans that have seen the Preds crumble in similar situations but instead the Preds buckled up, fought and earned a Game 7 in San Jose.
The win makes this the first time the Predators have ever advanced past Game 6 of the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Preds are 1-0 this year in Game 7's in California. Will they make that record 2-0 on Thursday?
(Stats via War On Ice)