In Game 4 of their Western Conference semifinal, the Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks played 111:12 of playoff hockey. The Sharks lost in triple-overtime, and the series was tied.
So it was with great curiosity that the hockey world watched Game 5, waiting to see how the Sharks responded to that gut-punch. And they responded with a roundhouse of their own, winning 5-1 and moving one win away from their first conference finals appearance since 2011.
"You lose a little bit of sleep. But it's just the way it goes. You move on," said Sharks captain Joe Pavelski.
Pavelski had two goals and Patrick Marleau had a goal and an assist. Martin Jones made 24 saves.
Marleau got the scoring going at 10:47, converting a feed from in back of the net from Joonas Donskoi for his third of the playoffs.
Mike Fisher cut the lead with his fifth of the playoffs at 15:40. But then the Joes went to work.
Joe Thornton went to the boards on the forecheck. Pavelski was standing alone in the slot, without a Nashville Predators defender around him, and he gave Thornton a shout.
With his back to Pavelski, Thornton sent a pass right to his stick; the new captain snapped a shot after the pass from the former captain, and it was 2-1 Sharks after the first period.
They got right back to work in the third, as Logan Couture took a Donskoi pass and scored on a partial breakaway just 35 seconds into the period.
Pavelski then tallied again, at 19:22 and on the power play, for the 4-1 lead. The goal was assisted by Marleau and Thornton.
Melker Karlsson added the fifth goal with 50 seconds left in the third.
The game had its nasty moments, including Joe Thornton and Barret Jackman exchanging stick slashes to sensitive areas on the third period. Ryan Johansen and Mike Ribeiro of the Predators both earned misconduct penalties in the third.
Game 6 is Monday night back in Nashville.
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