Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks
By Mary Walsh
SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks beat the Vegas Golden Knights 5-2 in the first game of the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs Wednesday. The Sharks goals came from Brent Burns, Tomas Hertl, Evander Kane, Joe Pavelski and Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Martin Jones made 24 saves for the win. Both Vegas goals came from Mark Stone and Marc-Andre Fleury made 28 saves against the Sharks.
The Sharks got the first power play of the game at 13:35. They had a few moments of delayed penalty time with Jones out of the net but that did not last long. The penalty was to Pierre-Edouard Bellemare for tripping Micheal Haley.
The Sharks scored on that power play at 14:42. A Brent Burns blue line special went off John Merrill’s glove or stick, into Joe Pavelski’s face and into the net. For his pains, Pavelski got credit for the goal with the assist going to Burns. Pavelski went directly to the dressing room, did not even stop for the celebration.
In the last two minutes of the first period, Timo Meier had to leave for repairs after being hi-sticked behind the net.
The Sharks outshot the Golden Knights 8-5 in the first, and won 60% of the face-offs. Vegas out-hit the Sharks 25-17.
Pavelski returned for the second period with a lower face shield. Timo Meier, fresh from his facial repairs, also returned and spoke briefly with an official as the period got under way. 20 seconds in, Meier was called for tripping Jonathan Marchessault. The Sharks killed that penalty off.
Evander Kane and Deryk Engelland exchanged blows after a scuffle in front of the net, as did Brenden Dillon and Jonathan Marchessault. Only Dillon and Marchessault were sent to the box, and for just two minutes. While the teams were playing 4 on 4, Tomas Hertl drew a hooking penalty and gave the Sharks a 4 on 3 power play. That turned into a 3 on 3 when Joe Pavelski was knocked down near the crease and Nate Schmidt tripped over him. Pavelski was called for tripping Schmidt.
The Sharks were unfazed by that noise. Erik Karlsson got the puck across the blue line and to Brent Burns, who carried it around a couple of defenders and shot it past Fleury with calm precision. Assists went to Karlsson and Hertl. Time of the goal was 6:59.
The Sharks followed up with good pressure around the net, leading to a sneaky goal-line pass from Joe Thornton to Marc-Edouard Vlasic as he skated down from the blue line. Vegas was not ready for that and the shot went right by Fleury on the blocker side at 7:44. Assists went to Thornton and Evander Kane.
Vegas responded with a goal at 8:32. Pacioretty’s shot hit Paul Stasny’s skate to the left of Jones, and bounced across the goal mouth to Mark Stone, who was camped out to Jones’s right. Thus flanked by opponents, Jones could not stop the puck. Assists went to Stasny and Pacioretty.
The Sharks went back on the power play at 8:55 after William Carrier was called for tripping Logan Couture. Tripping was a popular penalty in Wednesday’s game.
The Sharks scored again with 18 seconds left in the second. Erik Karlsson’s blue line shot went between a defender’s legs and then was neatly deflected by Evander Kane over Fleury’s glove.
The Sharks increased their shot advantage in the second, winning that contest 14-5. Their face-off success flagged, though. Vegas won 58% of the second period face-offs. Paul Stasny and William Karlsson defeated nearly all comers in the second.
Nearly six minutes into the third, Jon Merrill pushed Micheal Haley down in the crease, right on top of Fleury. As the puck went the other way for what may have been a good chance, Fleury spent some time thumping on Haley with the help of a team-mate. The whistle stopped play for roughing calls all around. Haley went to the box and Paul Stasny went in Fleury’s place.
As that four-on-four got started, the Sharks played a little like it was three-on-three, holding onto the puck as if killing time more than trying to score. But it was early for that. Not long after the four-on-four expired, the Sharks had a power play that killed more time without scoring. Vegas had a turn on the scoreless power play at 11:44 after Barclay Goodrow went for slashing Shea Theodore.
Vegas got another power play at 15:11 when Kevin Labanc went for hooking Tomas Nosek. Mark Stone cut the Sharks lead in half with a goal at 15:26. His shot made best use of what little traffic there was in front of Jones to get the puck over the glove and into the net. Assists went to Shea Theodore and Max Pacioretty.
Toms Hertl scored into the empty net at 18:11 to stop the late game push from Vegas. Assists went to Logan Couture and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.
By the end of the game, the Sharks had rebalanced the face-off results to 50-50. The shot count for the game was 33-26 Sharks.
Game 2 will be in San Jose on Friday at 7:30 PM PT.