Series tied 3-3
The Nashville Predators had to overcome a 3-2 series deficit versus Anaheim and win Game 7 on the road to advance out of the first round of the playoffs. The Predators will attempt to duplicate that script and secure a trip to their first Western Conference finals when they visit the San Jose Sharks in Thursday night’s decisive Game 7.
Nashville has refused to buckle against the Sharks, staving off elimination with a dramatic 4-3 overtime victory in Game 6, and must face another daunting obstacle: It is 0-7 all-time in San Jose in the postseason. “We’ve been down in games throughout this whole playoffs,” Predators forward Mike Fisher said. “We’ve found a way when chips are down to get wins and to get goals in big moments.” The Sharks have outscored Nashville 13-5 in the three meetings at home, but they squandered an early two-goal edge and a late one-goal advantage in Monday’s loss. “Based on how the series has been played, it should come down to one game in a Game 7,” San Jose coach Peter DeBoer said. “We worked all year for home-ice advantage in this situation and we intend to take advantage of it.”
TV: 9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVAS
Predators – Pekka Rinne (W/L: 7-6, GAA: 2.41, SAVE %: .913)
Sharks – Martin Jones (W/L: 7-4, GAA: 2.35, SAVE %: .913)
ABOUT THE PREDATORS: The unit of Fisher, James Neal and Colin Wilson, which was put together prior to Game 3, has been the best line for either team in the series, combining for 15 points over the past four games. Wilson, who set a franchise mark last season with five goals in one playoff series, continued his postseason heroics with the game-tying tally Monday to stretch his point streak to a club-record seven games and further bury the memory of his woeful six-goal campaign during the regular season. Goaltender Pekka Rinne had his share of shaky moments in Monday’s victory, but he made a huge stop in overtime and had his best performance of the playoffs in the Game 7 win at Anaheim.
ABOUT THE SHARKS: Injuries limited forward Logan Couture to just five contests prior to the Christmas break, but he has been the most dynamic player for San Jose against the Predators, scoring five goals and adding three assists to give him 14 points in 11 postseason games. “In this league you win as a team,” said Couture, who stood to be the hero in Game 6 after putting the Sharks ahead with a third-period power-play tally before Wilson responded with the equalizer. “You need everyone going to win hockey games. We’ve got to be hungrier than they are.” The Sharks have been dominant with the man advantage, cashing in on their only opportunity in Game 6 to improve to 11-for-39 in the playoffs.
* Predators are 1-4 in their last five road games.
* Sharks are 4-0 in their last four home games.
* Over is 4-0-2 in Predators last six overall.
* Over is 5-0-3 in Sharks last eight overall.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The public is strongly behind the Sharks and their home-ice advantage in this Game 7, with 74 percent of wagers on them. When it comes to the total 68 percent of wagers are on the over.
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