Sharks Preseason 2017: Sharks Host Knights, Win 5-2

Photo credit: San Jose Sharks

By M. Walsh

SAN JOSE- The  San Jose Sharks hosted the NHLs newest team on Thursday, defeating the Las Vegas Golden Knights 5-2. Sharks goals came from Kevin Labanc, Joe Pavelksi, Melker Karlsson, Jannik Hansen and Tomas Hertl. Knights goals came from David Perron and Teemu Pulkinen.

San Jose veterans seen in Thursday’s preseason match included Joe Pavelski, Brent Burns, Tomas Hertl, Martin Jones, Chris Tierney and Melker Karlsson. Noteable rookies seen included Timo Meir, Joakim Ryan and Kevin Labanc. The game winner was scored by Joe Pavelski, but the first Sharks goal was Labanc’s. Vegas did not have their presumed starting goaltender in net, Marc-Andre Fleury. Instead, they had Calvin Pickard, backed up by Maxime Lagace. Aaron Dell backed up Martin Jones for San Jose.

The Sharks held the Knights to a single shot for the first ten minutes of play, putting four of their own on net. Near the end of the first, Julius Bergman went to the box for tripping, giving the Sharks their second penalty in the period. By then, San Jose had six shots on goal, and Vegas took their second of the period during the power play.

A couple of minutes later, veteran Melker Karlsson went to the box for hooking. Joakin Ryan handled himself pretty well on the penalty kill, keeping the puck safely below the goal line while reinforcements arrived. The Sharks managed a couple of short-handed chances, including a breakaway for Tomas Hertl, but Vegas goalie Calvin Pickard kept it scoreless.

By the end of the period, the shots were 9-2 Sharks.

The Knights took their first penalty a few minutes into the second period. At first, the Sharks power play did not seem any more effective than the Vegas one. The Knights had their own breakaway, but Jones stopped that and when play went the other way, Kevin LaBanc found himself alone with the puck in the slot. His wrist shot found its way in for the first goal of the game at 4:13. Assists went to Timo Meier and Chris Tierney.

At 8:58 of the second, during a 5 on 3 power play, Joe Pavelski scored San Jose’s second. The first assist went to Burns for his feed from below the goal line. A second assist went to Dylan DeMelo. Curiously, Pavelksi had put one in the net moments earlier from a bounce off the safety netting. The whistle had already gone and no one really believed it was a goal.

Before the second penalty expired, Jannik Hansen picked up a rebound and put it behind Pickard for the Sharks’ third goal. Assists went to Tomas Hertl and Joakim Ryan.

The fourth Sharks goal came from Brenden Dillon all the way up at the blue line. Chris Tierney opted to pass it back to him instead of taking a shot from the faceoff circle. That was the team’s first even-strength goal of the game.

The second period ended 4-0 Sharks, with the shot count at 19-8.

The Sharks had an early power play in the third period, but it was negated by a goaltender interference call against Joe Pavelksi. With 37 seconds left in the Pavelski penalty, Timo Meier went to the box for slashing. The Knights started the five on three in the offensive zone. After three tries at cycling the puck around the boards and back to David Perron on the goal line, the Knights broke the shutout. The Knights scored again before the power play expired, a simple-looking play off the faceoff that left Teemu Pulkinen unguarded and free to shoot from the slot.

Tomas Hertl got one back in a nice play with Timo Meier. The two of them skated in and, as Meier took a shot, they switched sides and Hertl picked up the rebound to make it 5-2. A second assist went to Joakim Ryan.

During the final 34 seconds of the game, Brandon Mashinter and Stefan Matteau engaged in some fisticuffs.

Final score, 5-2 San Jose. The Sharks will play their next preseason game on Saturday in Arizona.

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