Couture Scores in 2OT, Sharks Tie Series 1-1 with 4-3 Win in Vegas

Photo credit: @ESPNStatsInfo

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks tied the series at 1-1 against the Golden Knights with a 4-3 2OT win at the T-Mobile Arena Saturday. Logan Couture scored the game-winner and a regulation goal, while Brent Burns also scored twice in regulation. William Karlsson scored twice for the Golden Knights, while Nate Schmidt tied the game in the third for Las Vegas. Martin Jones made 26 saves for the win, while Marc-Andre Fleury made 43 saves for Las Vegas.

Not only did the Sharks lose Game One in a big way on Thursday, but they lost one of their most prolific forwards when Evander Kane was suspended for one game after cross-checking Pierre-Edouard Bellemare in the head. Barclay Goodrow drew into the lineup for Game 2.

Sharks captain Joe Pavelski discussed how the Sharks came back and played a better game Saturday:

You want to play with that lead, you don’t want to chase the series all the time. So for us to come out in the second, start getting a little momentum going, score a few goals, understand what can work for us and… just overall our compete level was better, our details were better. They still played a good game, it came right down to the end and a few plays and it went our way.

Martin Jones, after being in net for the 7-0 loss Thursday, explained how he resets after a loss like that: “My confidence isn’t going to get shaken from one bad game. It’s not the first time I’ve had a bad game. Yeah, I mean, you put that behind you. That’s why you have a routine and you have the way you prepare for games. That’s so you can kind of lean on that and you just get ready for the next one.”

The Sharks outshot the Golden Knights 9-5 in the first period, only to keep the score even at zero for most of the period. Martin Jones made some saves, including a remarkable one on Tuch. The teams were playing their second four on four when Deryk Engelland made a pass across goal to Alex Tuch. Having to move all the way across the crease, Jones stretched to get a pad on it for the save.

Not long after that, Las Vegas scored. The goal came off an offensive zone turnover to William Karlsson, who passed it back to Nate Schmidt on the blue line. Schmidt passed it the length of the blue line to Colin Miller, who sent a shot wide. The shot went off the boards behind to net to Karlsson, who took the shot from a bad angle. Assists went to Miller and Schmidt.

Just 26 seconds into the second period, Karlsson scored again with just a hint of a screen from Reilly Smith, who had also prevented Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s clear seconds earlier. Smith got the only assist.

A holding the stick penalty put the Sharks on the power play at 1:56. Four seconds into that penalty, Brent Burns scored with a blast through traffic. Joe Pavelski got the assist.

At 4:17, William Carrier hit Dylan DeMelo knee on knee, sending DeMelo off the ice balancing on one leg. Carrier went to the box for kneeing. DeMelo returned to the bench quickly. The Golden Knights killed the penalty off.

The Sharks were back on the power play for a third time at 6:47 when Collin Miller was called for hooking Eric Fehr. That power play did not start well and ended with an interference call to Tomas Hertl. The Sharks had a couple of shots during the ensuing four on four, and then successfully killed off the very short Vegas power play.

A brief tussle between Vlasic and Marchessault put both players in the box at 9:54 for two minutes and yet more four-on-four hockey. A little less than a minute into that, Logan Couture scored off a well-placed pass from Tomas Hertl. Hertl got the only assist but Dylan DeMelo played a big part as well, sending the puck to the net and going after it. Driving to the net, he pushed Engelland out of position so Hertl could take the puck. Hertl had to fend off two more Knights before he could make the pass, so a third might have tipped the balance.

A third goal for the Sharks came from Brent Burns at 14:07, while the teams were playing four on four for the fifth time. This time it was for matching roughing penalties to Brenden Dillon and David Perron. The two stepped away from a group mauling in the corner and fell to the ice in the blue paint.

Joe Pavelksi won an offensive zone faceoff and got it to Timo Meier, who tapped it to Burns just above the faceoff circle. Seeing a gap along the board, Burns carried the puck down behind the net and put in with a wrap around. Assists went to Meier and Pavelksi.

Las Vegas challenged the goal, as Timo Meier was pushed into Fleury by Colin Miller. Fleury was outside the crease at the time of the collision, making it impossible for him to get back in time. The goal held up.

At 19:34, Jon Merrill was called for hooking Hertl, giving the Sharks 1:31 of power play time to start the third period.

That power play didn’t produce, and at 13:28 of the period, Las Vegas tied the game. The shot came right off a faceoff from Nate Schmidt and went off of Melker Karlsson’s skate. Shea Theodore and Erik Haula got the assists.

At the end of regulation, the teams were tied at three on the scoreboard, though the Sharks had outshot the Golden Knights. The goaltenders went into this playoff overtime with a significant experience advantage to Fleury. He had won 10 of 11 overtime games, while Martin Jones had just two wins in five games.

Las Vegas started overtime with several quick shots off of speedy zone entries. In just over five minutes, the teams had already taken four icing calls, a sign of the frenetic pace at both ends of the ice.

Just over four minutes in, Barclay Goodrow got a great breakaway chance but was stopped by Fleury. That chance started a push from the Sharks, including a slippery try by Pavelski. The Knights pushed back hard but the Sharks did not give them many second chances.

That was not the case by the end of the period, when the Knights got three shots in a row. The third one went in and was reviewed after Marchessault made contact with Martin Jones’ arm and stick, pulling him out of position. The goal was overturned.

Going into the second overtime period, the Sharks had three defensemen (Vlasic, Burns and Braun) with over 30 minutes of ice time. None of the Golden Knights had played that much in the game. Paul Martin had spent the first overtime on the bench while Pete DeBoer rotated five defensemen.

The Mikkel Boedker took a stick to the face in front of the Vegas net, giving the Sharks an early power play in the period. The Sharks got two shots and some close calls but did not score. The Golden Knights gave the Sharks another try with a hooking penalty at 5:05.

The Sharks finished it off with a power play goal at 5:13. Kevin Labanc made a beautiful, patient pass across the crease through skates and sticks to Logan Couture, who took a similarly patient shot that squeezed through on the short side. Assists went to Labanc and Burns.

Conference semifinal Game 3 between the Sharks and the Golden Knights will be on Monday in San Jose at 7:00 pm PT.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s