Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks
By Mary Walsh
The San Jose Sharks defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 2-1 in overtime Thursday, in Vegas. Sharks goals came from Timo Meier and Logan Couture. Aaron Dell, making his first start in three weeks, made 37 saves for win. The lone Vegas goal came from Brayden McNabb and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 27 saves.
Aaron Dell last played on November 2, seven games ago for the Sharks.
After the game, Sharks forward Timo Meier said: “He was incredible, he made some really big saves for us, he was steady all game in net. And that’s a big win and he definitely was a huge part of that.”
In his first game of the season, Antti Suomela seemd to scored the first goal. From high in the face-off circle, he tipped Brenden Dillon’s shot from the point at 6:08. Las Vegas challenged it for goaltender interference by Timo Meier. Merrill had given Meier a push as he hit Fleury’s glove while skating around him at the edge of the crease. The officials did not consider the push to be relevant and the goal was disallowed.
The Sharks started Thursday’s game without Tomas Hertl and Dalton Prout, and Melker Karlsson and Radim Simek both left the game early with injuries. No injury details were forthcoming after the game but Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer said:
It was a big character win for us, was a lot of thing stacked against us with some of the injuries in the lineup, obviously coming into this building and what happened the last couple times we’ve been in here. So, I thought our guys dug deep, I thought we got contributions from everybody. I didn’t think we had any passengers tonight and obviously Deller gave us a big game.
The Sharks took the only penalty of the first period, and that was to Logan Couture for tripping Reilly Smith. The Golden Knights had two shots on that power play and 14 shots in the period to the Sharks’ 6.
When Timo Meier scored at 1:26 of the second period, it counted. Skating through the neutral zone, Meier caught a pass from Dylan Gambrell and went tearing into the Vegas zone. Nate Schmidt had a step on him, but a stutter step got him around the defenseman and a hard stop by the goal sent Schmidt into the post as the puck went into the net.
By the middle of the period, the Sharks were being out-shot 8-2, and that was before they took a penalty for too many men on the ice at 9:12. Vegas got two shots on that power play as well.
The Sharks’ first power play came at 13:14 of the second, a tripping penalty to Marc-Andre Fleury against Marcus Sorensen. The Sharks got one shot early in the power play, but spent a lot of time stuck in the defensive zone after that, being turned back in the neutral zone again and again. They finished with two shots in that power play. The Sharks were out-shot in the second period 14-11.
The Sharks took their third penalty of the game at 4:18 of the third period when Brenden Dillon was called for interference on Cody Eakin. The Sharks had a couple of scares during that one, but their goaltender was up to the challenge and bailed them out. Vegas only had one shot in that power play.
Vegas tied it up at 10:18 of the third when Brayden McNabb took a shot from the top of the face-off circle. The puck found its way into the net through traffic. William Carrier got the assist.
The Sharks were on the power play at 11:17 when Cody Eakin was called for slashing Timo Meier. The Sharks had three shots in that power play. The Sharks had six shots for the period, as did Vegas.
In overtime, the shots were 6-4 Sharks after Logan Couture ended it at 3:20. His breakaway was made possible by a pass-interrupting tip from Marc-Edouard Vlasic in front of the Sharks net. Fleury stopped Couture’s initial shot, but Couture closed on the net and poked the puck under the goaltender before any defenders could catch him.
The three stars went to Logan Couture, Brayden McNabb and Ryan Reaves, likely for the 12 hits he got credit for.
The Sharks next play on Saturday back in San Jose against the New York Islanders at 7:30 PM PT.