The San Jose Sharks goaltender Devon Dubnyk stops a shot by the Vegas Golden Knights Alex Tuch while on his back at the T Mobile Center in Las Vegas on Mon Mar 15, 2021 (AP News photo)
By Mary Walsh
The San Jose Sharks fell to the Vegas Golden Knights by a score of 2-1 Monday. Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone scored for Vegas. Marc-Andre Fleury made 23 saves for the win. Timo Meier scored for the Sharks and Devan Dubnyk made 34 saves in the loss.
After the game, Sharks Head Coach Bob Boughner talked about how an otherwise good game from the Sharks was thwarted by Marc-Andre Fleury’s brilliant play:
“I thought there was a lot of good things to our game. Obviously, in the second period we took on a little water. I thought that Duby was good. I thought that we had lots of chances early on in the game. I thought Fleury was a difference-maker. You know, we had a few break-aways, we hit a few posts. Could have been a little bit of a different game, but he kept them going, he gave them some momentum.”
Boughner went on to say: “I’m proud of the guys, I thought we fought hard, I thought we did a lot of good things so we just gotta get back to work here tomorrow and try and find a way to score some more goals against these guys.”
Sharks captain Logan Couture talked about how the team seems to be getting better goaltending lately:
“The last little while, I think that, you know, we started to pick each other up. We started to play better for each other, play to our system, play better defensively. When a team plays better, tighter defensively, the goaltender’s always going to look better and make more saves. So, yeah, I think we’re starting to do that.”
Max Pacioretty scored the only first period goal, on the power play at 8:35. Evander Kane was in the box for tripping Jonathan Marchessault. It took the Golden Knights just 12 seconds to score. They won the face-off and moved the puck aroud the outside once before Pacioretty scored, from just beyond the face-off dot. Assists went to Mak Stone and Shea Theodore.
The first period shot count was 11-8 Sharks. In the face-of circle, Vegas won 58%.
There were no goals and no penalties in the second period. There was, however, a surprising shot discrepancy, with the Sharks getting credit for just 4 and Vegas notching 16 shots. Oddly, the face-offs went the other way, with the Sharks winning 60% of them.
Mark Stone added a goal for Vegas just 1:02 into the third period. Nikolay Knyzhov did a good job stcking with Pacioretty as he carried the puck down the wall, but he couldn’t stop him from making a pass to Mark Stone who was trailing. No one was in Stone’s way to prevent the shot. Assists went to Pacioretty and Nicolas Hague.
The Golden Knights had a power play when Tomas Hertl was called for sendig the puck over the glass. The Sharks penalty kill allowed just one shot.
Around the 12-minute mark, Evander Kane had a breakaway chance but Marc-Andre Fleury came way out of his net for the poke check. Fleury’s gamble paid off and Kane couldn’t get a shot off.
Not long after that, Kane was sent to the penalty box for interference on Marchessault. Vegas had 3 shots on that power play.
Timo Meier got the Sharks on the board at 14:29. Meier held the puck in the slot as if he would shoot on the forehand, luring Fleury out of the net. Once the goalie was out of the blue paint, Meier switched to the backhand and dragged the puck around Fleury’s outstretched leg to tuck it in the net. Brent Burns got the assist.
The Sharks pulled their goaltender with just under two minutes left. The Sharks had a 25 second power play at the end when Max Pacioretty was called for interference on Timo Meier. That was the only penalty called on Vegas. The Sharks had a few fair chances in those 25 seconds but could not tie it up.
Logan Couture commented on the difficulty of using the extra skater in the last minutes of the game:
“Just at the end there, the puck was bouncing too much to create anything on that 6 on 5 and power play. Which is unfortunate ‘cuz I think we would have had some looks. Just couldn’t get anything tape-to-tape and the puck seemed to be spinning, bouncing, so, tough one to swallow right now for sure.”
The shot count for the period was 12-9 Vegas. The Sharks led in face-off wins at 52% for the third period and in the game.
The Sharks will play the Golden Knights again on Wednesday in Las Vegas, at 7:00 PM PT.