Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks
By Mary Walsh
The San Jose Sharks won 2-1 in the second overtime of Game 6 of their playoff series against the Vegas Golden Knights Sunday. Martin Jones was hands down the star of the game, making 58 saves to Marc-Andre Fleury’s 27. Those 58 saves set a record for Jones and also the franchise. Regulation goals came from Logan Couture for the Sharks and Jonathan Marchessault for the Golden Knights. The teams will return to San Jose for Game 7 on Tuesday.
The Sharks got off to a fast start in the game, taking a significant lead in shots until the middle of the period. That was the last such lead they would have in the game. In the first period, they fell behind by one shot, 10-9. In the second period, Las Vegas outshot them 17-7 and in the third period the Golden Knights won the shot contest by a whopping 17-4. On top of that, the Sharks blocked 34 more shots. This was the onslaught that Sharks goaltender Martin Jones faced Sunday.
After the game, Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said:
Yeah, we knew Joner was on, you could feel it, for sure. You know, you’re looking at the scoreboard and the shots are saying what they are. But the way Joner was moving, seeing the puck, you know, it wasn’t two-on-ones, breakaways, guys weren’t getting behind us. It was still a pretty tight-knit group out there and guys were blocking some shots and hanging in there.
Martin Jones said “It was a good game, obviously. We stuck with it the whole night. Give our guys a lot of credit, some huge penalty kills in overtime and the third. Yeah, everybody chipped in with stuff today.”
The officials seemed to have put their whistles away for overtime, ignoring some fairly obvious penalties from tripping to holding on both sides. They ignored it all until Barclay Goodrow slashed the stick out of Brayden McNabb’s hands at 10:46 of the second overtime. The Sharks still had no shots on goal in the period.
The penalty appeared to be the death knell for the Sharks. Instead, Marc-Edouard Vlasic cleared the puck from the front of the net up to Tomas Hertl in the middle of the blue line. Hertl took off as fast as skaters are able to halfway through the fifth period. He barely stayed ahead of Shea Theodore, then slowed and took a shot from inside the face-off circle. Fleury couldn’t stop it. The Sharks won the game short-handed with their first shot of the period.
The first goal of the game did not come until the final 10 seconds of the first period. While Timo Meier fought Deryk Engelland for the puck in the neutral zone, Logan Couture skated up and plucked the puck away from them. He kept skating into the slot and veered away into the face-off circle while taking a shot that got by Marc-Andre Fleury. Timo Meier got the assist. It was Couture’s fourth of the playoffs.
The Sharks had one power play in the first period, a penalty to Shea Theodore for tripping Tomas Hertl. They had just one shot in that power play.
The second goal of the game came in the middle of the second period, from Joathan Marchessault for the Golden Knights. Shea Theodore took a shot from the blue line into some traffic and Jones stopped that one, but there was a small rebound that Marchessault got to. He pulled it around the prone goalie and put it in the net. It was Marchessault’s third of the playoffs. Assists went to Shea Theodore and William Karlsson.
Each team had a power play in the second period. Las Vegas had a power play at 14:26 after Timo Meier was called for tripping William Karlsson. Las Vegas had no shots on that power play.
The Sharks had one shot on their second period power play, the result of a penalty to Marchessault for slashing Logan Couture.
In the scoreless third period, the Golden Knights had the only power play, due to a goaltender interference penalty to Melker Karlsson. They had one shot on that power play.
Labanc and Thornton had a good chance near the middle of the first OT period, and Labanc’s shot may have gone under Fleury and back out just on the outside of the net.
With about three minutes to go, the teams exchanged wild scrambles at the net, with defensemen piled up, at Fleury’s end, he had two of his own defensemen spreadeagled on top of of each other in the blue paint after a puck got by Fleury. It was so close to the line that the NHL reviewed the video.
By the 10-minute mark of the first OT, the teams were tied with two shots each. Then the NHL changed that to a 3-1 lead for the Golden Knights. Eventually, it evened out to 7-6 for the Golden Knights in the first OT.
Approaching the midpoint of the second OT, the Golden Knights had seven shots and the Sharks had none on the books. And then Hertl scored.
The Sharks played more than two periods with only five defensemen. Joakim Ryan did not skate after the second period.