The big storyline prior to puck drop was the scratch of Mike Ribeiro who has not been good this post season for the Predators. In stepped Pontus Aberg who wasn't the sole reason the Predators came out on top in Game 3 but perhaps the addition of him into the lineup which jumbled up the lines made the biggest difference in the decision.
The Sharks out Corsi'd the Preds 38-36 and out shot the Preds during 5-on-5 play by a count of 19-13 but that was all she wrote for San Jose. Nashville had 17 scoring chances while the Sharks managed 16 and Nashville's eight high-danger scoring chances outweighed San Jose's two.
The Predators also out hit the Sharks 37-25 during 5-on-5 play on top of winning 35 of the 61 face offs during the contest.
Aberg stepping in for a healthy scratched Ribeiro was the highlight prior to puck drop. Aberg finished the night with 8:27 of ice time, zero shots on net and an individual Corsi For of zero.
G3 #Preds:— Kristopher Martel (@kmartel_sports) May 4, 2016
The first period began in the back-and-forth style that was expected, but it ended up being the Sharks best period as they out shot the Predators 9-7.
Melker Karlsson was sent to the box as he was called for a hooking minor just 1:11 into the contest but the Predators had nothing going on the man advantage.
Patrick Marleau got the scoring going with a fantastic move to beat the extremely aggressively positioned Pekka Rinne with 6:47 left in the opening frame. Shea Weber simply could not get a handle of the bouncing puck, Marleau could and he lit the lamp to give the Sharks a 1-0 advantage.
Things heated up a bit following the Sharks go ahead goal. Anthony Bitetto was called for a cross check on Joe Thornton and the youngster even talked some smack to the veteran that looks 77-years-old following the play.
Anthony Bitetto talking smack to a guy 60 years older than him: pic.twitter.com/ooH1z4k6Xe— Mark Harris (@MCHisTweeting) May 4, 2016
During the final minute of the period things continued to lean toward the physical side, but the Preds could not warrant a call. Viktor Arvidsson caught a stick in the face that was missed while just seconds later he was flagged for a slashing minor.
Just as they did in the opening period, the Sharks started the middle frame with another penalty but this one went into the books as a double minor. Joonas Donskoi was sent to the box for a high-stick and Nashville was able to cash in on the man advantage.
With 7:03 left in the second stanza, Ryan Johansen dropped the puck to Mattias Ekholm who found James Neal positioned near the face off dot. The sniper let one rip and it found the back of the net to knot things up at 1-1.
James Neal ties things up at 1’s for the Preds: pic.twitter.com/E3OyZwYU3F— Mark Harris (@MCHisTweeting) May 4, 2016
Nashville was not done scoring in the second frame as Weber was able to give the Preds a 2-1 advantage. Matt Nieto was called for high sticking with 7:03 left in the second period that was then soon followed by a Craig Smith high stick forcing a 4-on-4 situation.
The puck bounced to an open spot on the ice and the captain let one rip which zipped past Martin Jones' glove to give Nashville a 2-1 advantage late in the second frame.
The Sharks ended up out shooting the Predators 9-6 in the second period while each team managed to create eight scoring chances.
The Predators and Colton Sissons opened the third period with a scary site with the young forward crashing into the net and boards before having to be helped off of the ice. Sissons later returned to the ice, but this is a scary sequence you never want to see.
Nashville put up an insurance marker with 13:05 left in regulation thanks to a rebound goal from Colin Wilson. The playoff envy winger grabbed the rebound off of Ryan Ellis' shot and put it into the back of the net to give Nashville the 3-1 advantage.
Wilson was excited.
Colin Wilson says BANG: pic.twitter.com/NcquV7YLwX— Mark Harris (@MCHisTweeting) May 4, 2016
The Predators didn't think a two goal advantage was enough so they decided to add onto their lead. With 4:11 left in the third period Filip Forsberg scored his second goal of the post season by delivering with his signature wrist shot that went bar down to push the Nashville lead to 4-1.
The third period was absolutely dominated by the Preds offensively as they managed six high-danger scoring chances while the Sharks did not manage a single one.
Jones showed that he was human for the first time this series for the Sharks in allowing four goals on 25 shots while Rinne continued to be strong in net in stopping 26 of the 27 shots he faced.
Mike Fisher was credited with the secondary assist on the Wilson goal and the veteran was all over the place in the offensive zone with nine individual scoring chances and four of the high-danger variety. Craig Smith ended the night with four scoring chances of his own while Roman Josi, Forsberg, Ellis and Weber had two to their name as well.
We couldn't agree more, Mr. DeBoer.