At just over 111 minutes, the Nashville Predators competed in their longest game in franchise history; a triple overtime win over the San Jose Sharks. With the win on Thursday night that went into Friday morning, the Predators bring the series back to even at 2-2.
It was Mike Fisher that tallied that game-winning goal for Nashville at 11:12 of triple overtime. Fisher fired in a rebound past goaltender Martin Jones following a shot from defenseman Mattias Ekholm.
“We were just trying to do all we could do to just find a way, and everyone did a great job,” said Mike Fisher. “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) unbelievable and we tried to feed off of that a little bit too.
Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne was the second star of the game for the arena, but he’s the one that kept the team in the game time and time again. In total, he faced 45 shots, including 11 in the first overtime period.
“It’s a 2-2 series right now, and you can’t say enough about San Jose too,” said Pekka Rinne. “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.”
When teams are playing every other night in the playoffs and then play five and a half periods of hockey, it’s tough to continue on. Both teams faced this pressure. Fatigue begins to set in and they must find a way to continue to battle. Through tied legs, Rinne found a way to stop every that was thrown at him in overtime.
“You’re just trying to hold on to that tie that is going on, and give your team, and yourself a chance to win that,” said Rinne. “We did that as a team, I felt that guys did a great job. Our staff did a great job providing our guys with all kinds of drinks and snacks and whatever guys needed to be ready.”
Obviously, a win like this can give the team even more confidence going into Game 5 in San Jose.
“A win like this gives a boost of energy to everyone,” said Mattias Ekholm. “Just the way we played it and we knew if we lose this game it’s going down 3-1, and that’s a tough break. Now it’s 2-2 and it’s really open again. I think it just gives you an extra boost, if we would have won 5-1 it would have been nice, but when you win it like this it’s obviously extra nice.”
The Predators will travel to San Jose on Friday afternoon. Game 5 is Saturday evening at 9:00pm CDT, and with a win, Nashville can put the Sharks on the brink of elimination.
Photo credit: Christina McCullough