For the losing team, it's a major disappointment regardless of the circumstances.
CAPITALS: Braden Holtby isn't one for grand pronouncements, so when he was asked if Washington's blowout win over the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 5 of a first-round playoff series sent a statement, he put the spotlight inside the Capitals' locker room.
Moments after San Jose staved off elimination in Thursday's Game 5 of its Western Conference first-round series, Sharks forward Tomas Hertl guaranteed there will be a decisive seventh game "because we're a better team than them". Thankfully Marc-Andre Fleury saved every opportunity the Sharks had in the second period. "We got to try to replicate it. That's what playoffs are about". "We can't spend so much time in our own end and give up 59 shots again".
The goal was the first short-handed victor in a multi-overtime game in National Hockey League history.
Whether the San Jose Sharks actually had faith in their on-paper No. 1 goaltender to save their season or simply saw Martin Jones as the less-bad option heading into Game 6 doesn't really matter at this point. Tonight was a big example of that as if one were to look at the stats, you can see that some big-name players logged some hefty minutes and it's tough to do that while keeping your concentration. "You blame the last goal on Fleury, shake your head".
If you weren't convinced before, the Sharks are clearly going to ride or die with Jones in Game 7. The Sharks goalie, who was pulled before the second period of two games this series, turned away 58 shots, a franchise record for a playoff game. Defensively, the Vegas Golden Knights are allowing three goals per game and are killing 84 percent of their opponents power plays.
Nate Schmidt leads the Golden Knights with a plus-22 in 61 games played this season. Gallant said he wouldn't change anything about the game but the final score and the team echoed the thought that there were plenty of positives takeaways. They're without injured forwards Micheal Ferland and Jordan Martinook, and Coach Rod Brind'Amour said it's "highly doubtful" rookie Andrei Svechnikov will be able to play, a week after being concussed in a fight with Alex Ovechkin. "One of those was bound to go in eventually".
"We're going to be desperate", Hurricanes center Jordan Staal said.
This season-saving toe save in Game 5 was one of the best - and most important - stops of the Sharks' season and of Jones' career. They also have the added stress of knowing in the back of their minds that they held a 3-1 lead in the series before a bitter overtime defeat. Both have 52% implied probability to win this game. In the last two games, he has made 88 saves while letting up just three goals.
"I'd rather be done, that's for sure", defenseman Deryk Engelland said.