Monday night, the Dallas Stars gave St. Louis fans the blues and in Music City, fans went home singing the praises of Viktor Arvidsson.
San Jose Sharks vs Nashville Predators
Entering Game 6, the Predators were facing elimination but Viktor Arvidsson’s overtime goal gave Nashville a 4-3 win forcing a Game 7 in San Jose on Thursday.
“It felt good, awesome,” Arvidsson said about his game-winning goal. “It was a great feeling to see the puck go in the net, so it was awesome.”
San Jose jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period with both goals scored by Chris Tierney.
Tierney’s first goal of the game came 9:55 into the contest. Tomas Hertl skated out of the left corner in the Predators zone with the puck and passed it back to Marc-Edouard Vlasic at the point. Vlasic sent a high shot towards Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne. Tierney reached out and deflected the shot past Rinne putting the Sharks in the lead 1-0.
Tierney’s second goal came 1:56 later. Rinne stopped Brent Burns’ shot from the right point but the rebound went to the left side of the crease. Matt Nieto chased it down into the faceoff circle and put the puck back at Rinne. The goaltender stopped that shot but gave up a rebound to the other side and Tierney skated in uncontested and put San Jose’s third shot of the sequence past Rinne for a 2-0 lead.
Roman Josi cut San Jose’s lead in half 2-1 at 15:27 with an unassisted backhand goal. He intercepted a Sharks clearing attempt in the high slot. His shot deflected up and over San Jose goaltender Martin Jones and into the net.
Nashville found its game in the second period, putting 14 shots on Jones.
Ryan Johansen knotted the game at 2-2 for Nashville with his fourth goal of the playoffs at the 1:25 mark of the second period. Ryan Ellis pinched low into the Sharks’ zone and took control of the puck from a San Jose winger. Ellis moved the puck to Johansen, who faked a wrist shot, skated right to left in front of Jones and sent a quick backhand shot through Jones’ pads and into the back of the net.
A power play goal by San Jose’s Logan Couture 10:04 into the third period put his club in front 3-2. Joe Pavelski had the puck behind Jones’ net, the Sharks forward passed it to Joe Thornton in the faceoff circle to Rinne’s left. Thornton sent a pass back to Burns at the point, who found Couture at the top of the right faceoff circle. Couture sent the disc over a sprawling Rinne and into the net.
The Couture lamplighter gave Sharks fans reason to believe the series would end on this night but Nashville’s Colin Wilson put an end to those thoughts 2:30 after Couture’s goal. Anthony Bitetto carried the puck over the middle of the blue line into the Sharks’ zone, as he was being upended, he moved it to Mike Ribeiro on the left half-wall. As soon as the disc hit Ribeiro’s tape, it was on its way across the ice to Jamie Neal. Neal saw Wilson cutting in front of Jones’ crease and sent a one-touch pass to Wilson and the big winger redirected it behind Jones and the score was tied 3-3.
The stage was set for Arvidsson to beat Jones with a highlight reel backhand shot 2:03 into the extra period.
Colin Wilson’s goal extended his Predators playoff record point streak to seven games (4 goals, 5 assists, 9 points).
Wilson has scored five goals in 13 games in the 2016 playoffs. He scored six goals in 64 games during the 2015-16 regular season.
Viktor Arvidsson’s goal forced a Game 7 for the second time in Nashville Predators history.
Nashville overcame a deficit to win when facing elimination for the third time in team history (Game 5 of 2015 First Round and Game 5 of 2011 Conference Semifinal).
Dallas Stars vs St. Louis Blues
The Blues entered the game needing a win to eliminate the Stars but Dallas goaltender Kari Lehtonen stopped 35 St. Louis shots on the way to a 3-2 win ensuring there will be a Game 7 in the Lone Star State Wednesday (8:00 pm ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports).
“Tonight, he (Lehtonen) stood tall for us and that happens in the playoffs,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “Goalies have to win you games sometimes.”
The Stars took advantage of the Blues slow start by scoring three first period goals then relied almost solely on Lehtonen for the win.
Mattias Janmark put Dallas on the board 4:53 into the contest when he was sprung for a breakaway by teammate Valeri Nichushkin, who blocked a St. Louis shot and sent a long stretch pass into the neutral zone where Janmark collected it, skated into the left faceoff circle and put a wrist shot over Blues goaltender Brian Elliott’s glove giving the Stars a 1-0 lead.
Vernon Fiddler gave the Stars a 2-0 lead 20 seconds after the Janmark goal. Colton Sceviour possessed the puck behind the Blues’ net and carried it toward the corner then threw it to the top of Elliott’s crease. Fiddler reached out and deflected the puck into the top corner of the net over the netminder’s shoulder. Kris Russell garnered the secondary assist.
The Dallas power play unit made it a 3-0 game with 3:11 remaining in the first period. Jason Spezza scored a highlight reel goal when he accepted a pass from Jamie Benn, who was along the right wing boards high in the Blues’ zone. Spezza toe-dragged the puck around a St. Louis defender then held it while moving right to left in front of Elliott’s crease before unleashing a shot across the grain that beat the goaltender low to the glove side. Sceviour registered his second assist of the game on the play.
After the Spezza goal, Blues coach Ken Hitchcock pulled Elliott from the contest, replacing him with Jake Allen.
The Stars would hold onto the three goal lead for the remainder of the period.
When the second period began it was clear St.Louis had woken up. They controlled play throughout the period but managed just one goal.
Alexander Steen scored his fourth of the playoffs 7:29 into the period, when he put the rebound of a Robert Bortuzzo shot past Lehtonen making it a 3-1 game. Vladimir Tarasenko also assisted on the goal.
St. Louis sent 14 shots at Lehtonen in the period but Steen’s was the only goal of the frame.
The Blues put another 14 shots at the Dallas net in the third period but again, scored once.
The goal came off the stick of Patrik Berglund. While the Blues worked the puck around the Dallas zone, Berglund positioned himself directly in front of Lehtonen. Blues captain David Backes had the puck at the top of the right faceoff circle and sent a pass to Jori Lehtera. Lehtera, with his back facing Berglund, put a backhand pass directly onto Berglund’s stick and he redirected the puck past Lehtonen cutting Dallas’ lead to 3-2.
St. Louis sent another 14 shots at Lehtonen in the third period, but once again, he came up big time after time to preserve the win for Dallas.
St. Louis outshot Dallas 37-14 in Game 6.
Vernon Fiddler’s goal came on his 36th birthday.
The Stars will play a Game 7 for the eighth time in Dallas/Minnesota franchise history.
Wednesday’s game will be the fourth all-time Game 7 between St. Louis and Dallas/Minnesota (also 1968 Semifinal, 1972 Quarterfinal, 1984 Division Final).
All three of the previous Game 7’s between St. Louis and Dallas/Minnesota went into overtime (St. Louis has 2-1 record in those games).
Stat of the Night:
Per Elias Sports Bureau, for the first time since the Stanley Cup playoffs went to sixteen teams in 1980, all four Second Round series have had at least two overtime games.
Tuesday’s Stanley Cup Playoff Schedule:
Game 6 – Eastern Conference Second Round – Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins (8:00 pm ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports) Pittsburgh leads the best-of-seven series 3-2.
Follow ESPN New Hampshire NHL Writer, Shawn Hutcheon, on Twitter at @ShawnHutcheon.