NHLN Playoff Notebook: St. Louis is Seeing (Too Many) Stars, and Triple Overtime in Nashville

Updated: January 11, 2018 at 2:31 am by Scott Maxwell



Hockey fans got more than what they bargained for tonight, as both games went to overtime. First, despite an interesting gaff, the Dallas Stars managed to tie the series in St. Louis, and head home for the now best of 3 series in a 3-2 win. Then, the Nashville Predators and the San Jose Sharks made you decide between the value of sleep and watching hockey in a triple overtime epic.



DALLAS STARS 3, ST. LOUIS BLUES 2 (OT)

After getting the snot kicked out of them in game 3, the Dallas Stars were looking to get back in the series, and avoid a 3-1 deficit heading back home. Considering how the series has gone so far, it would be a game that whoever was in net would need to help out for the win, who in this case was Kari Lehtonen.

They didn’t exactly the game they wanted to, as we saw an issue of miscommunication with six Stars on the ice. However, even with too many men, they still can’t defend, as by some black magic, Vladimir Tarasenko went on a breakaway and scored.

This was actually a really smart play from Tarasenko. He did an excellent job of identifying the fact that there were too many men, and decided to isolate himself on the Stars blueline. While at first you would think that that would be a terrible idea, because it would be a 6 on 4 in your zone, but if the Stars touch the puck, the refs probably notice the too many men. So, Tarasenko snuck behind the defense and gave the Blues a 1-0 lead.

The Stars rallied quickly in the second, as Radek Faksa and Patrick Sharp scored 1:09 apart to take the lead in the game. But, before the period ended, Paul Stastny scored on the power play to tie the game.

That score would hold until the end of the third, which means that this game would require overtime. However, it wouldn’t last very long, as almost three minutes in, Cody Eakin fired the puck short side past Brian Elliott to win the game for Dallas.

It was a very even matched game, as the Stars had a slight edge in the shot attempts department, with a 50.65% at even strength in the game. Alex Steen had the lead in Corsi +/-, with a +15 rating, while Jamie Benn was a game worse -11. However, the biggest story was that Kari Lehtonen actually made a save. Several, in fact, as he helped the team with a .923 save percentage.

Series tied 2-2.





NASHVILLE PREDATORS 4 – SAN JOSE SHARKS 3 (3OT)

The Predators were looking to build off of their game on Tuesday to get the series tied up at 2-2 with another win at home. However, the Sharks weren’t going to make it easy, testing the Preds with their longest game in franchise history.

Nashville started off on the right foot, as just 41 seconds in, Colin Wilson put them on the board with a 1-0 lead. That wouldn’t be a lead that lasted long though, as just 1:27 later, Brent Burns tied the game up at one a piece with a…um…interesting goal, let’s say.

Well Pekka Rinne, you tried.

Midway through the first, Fisher would give the Predators another lead, and that would be all for the first. The only goal of the second period saw Joonas Donskoi bury the puck to tie it at two, but other than that, a rather eventless second.

Burns would build on the tying goal with his second of the night in the beginning of the period, this time making Rinne look not as bad when he scored. When it seemed like San Jose was going to take the game, and head home with a chance to eliminate the Preds, James Neal stepped up and, after missing the first shot, got another opportunity to tie the game, and buried the puck with five minutes left, and this game would require overtime.

Midway through the first overtime, many thought the game was over, when Sharks captain Joe Pavelski crashed the net, and tapped the puck in, but as it turned out, he crashed the net too hard, and took out Rinne, and it was waived off.

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After what seemed like a century, the game was finally put to an end, when Fisher buried home the rebound of a Mattias Ekholm shot, putting an end to the longest game in Preds history with a win (which was also the first time the Predators won an overtime playoff game at home).

Despite the loss, the San Jose Sharks had the slight edge in possession, with a 52.05% 5v5 Corsi in the game. Three Sharks had a game high +15 Corsi differential, that being Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Tomas Hertl, and Justin Braun, while Predators defenseman Shea Weber had the lowest in the game, a -15. The goalies appreciated the triple OT game, as it really helped boost their save percentages despite allowing three or four goals.

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THREE STARS

3. Brent Burns

Burns tallied two goals in a losing effort for the Sharks, and continues to tear up the playoffs with 13 points in 9 games from the back end.

2. Patrick Sharp

Sharp came up big in the game for the Stars, scoring a goal, and having the primary assist on Cody Eakin’s OT winner.

1. Mike Fisher

Fisher had a huge night for the Predators, scoring two goals, including the OT winner, in the victory to get the series tied up. For once, he might be the more popular than his wife in Nashville.