The host Sharks are 2-0 all-time in postseason series against the Predators, winning in five games in the 2006 and 2007 conference quarterfinals. The Sharks are 7-0 all time at home in the postseason against the Predators. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the seven consecutive home wins against one opponent is the second-longest current streak of its kind, behind the Chicago Blackhawks ’ eight-game home winning streak against the Minnesota Wild.
The home team has won all six games in this series. The Sharks are 4-1 at home this postseason after they were 18-20-3 at home during the regular season (26th in the NHL).
Thursday’s game marks the second Game 7 in Predators history; their first was against the Anaheim Ducks in the first round. Since the NHL went to a best-of-seven format for every round in 1987, two teams have reached the Stanley Cup finals after playing seven-game series in the first two rounds of the playoffs: the New York Rangers and the Los Angeles Kings (both in 2014). The Kings, in fact, went seven games in their first three series that season before beating the Rangers in five games in the Stanley Cup finals.
The Sharks are 5-4 in Game 7s but have lost their last two: the 2014 conference quarterfinals and the 2013 conference semifinals (both to the Kings). The Sharks’ last Game 7 win was in the 2011 conference semifinals against the Detroit Red Wings.
Predators looking for a first
The Predators, who joined the NHL in 1998, are seeking their first trip to the conference finals. Nashville is one of three current NHL franchises (along with Columbus and Atlanta/Winnipeg) that has never played a conference final series, according to Elias.
Predators coach Peter Laviolette's record in elimination games should provide Nashville fans with optimism. His teams are 13-6 (.684) in playoff elimination games, which, Elias notes, is second to the record of Al MacNeil (7-3, .700) among coaches with at least 10 games in that situation.
Also from Elias: Laviolette is 5-1 in Game 7s. That matches John Tortorella (also 5-1) for the best Game 7 record among coaches with at least five Game 7s. The only NHL coaches with more Game 7 wins than Laviolette are Darryl Sutter (7-3), Scotty Bowman (6-3) and Pat Burns (6-3).
The Sharks have gone to the conference finals three times (2004, 2010, 2011) but have never reached the Stanley Cup finals. Having seen a 2-0 series lead evaporate against the Predators, the Sharks are trying to avoid a fourth series loss after leading 2-0. That happened in 2006 against the Edmonton Oilers, in 2013 against the Kings and in 2014 against the Kings -- when the Sharks led 3-0.
Pavelski, Burns keying Sharks’ offense
For the Predators, Colin Wilson has five goals in 13 playoff games -- after he had six goals in 64 regular-season games this season. Wilson, with 13 points, has tied Joel Ward (2011) for the most points in one postseason by a Predators player. Ward is now with the Sharks.
Game 7 facts
Home teams are 95-69 (.579) all-time, including a 1-2 mark in 2016. The team that scores first is 122-42 (.744) all-time, including a 3-0 mark in 2016.
About one-fourth of the Game 7s have required overtime (40 out of 164, 24 percent). Eight of the 40 have been decided in double overtime, one in triple overtime and one in quadruple overtime.