Sharks Tough It Out, Beat Golden Knights 2-1 in OT

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.

Sharks Finish Preseason with 5-1 Loss to Vegas

photo from mercurynews.com: Evander Kane #9 of the San Jose Sharks shoves linesman Kiel Murchison in the third period of the Sharks’ preseason game against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena on September 29, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Kane received a game misconduct for an abuse of officials penalty. The Golden Knights defeated the Sharks 5-1.

By Mary Walsh

The Sharks dropped their final preseason game 5-1 to the Vegas Golden Knights Sunday in Las Vegas. Vegas goals came from William Carrier, Jimmy Shuldt, Jonathan Marchessault, Mark Stone and Reilly Smith. Danil Yurtaykin scored the only San Jose goal, during the third period. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 38 shots for the win, while Martin Jones stopped 17 of 21 shots during the first two periods and Aaron Dell made 10 saves on 11 shots for San Jose.

With almost all of the likely NHL lineup in the game, the Sharks managed 12 shots on net in the first period, but could not score. They did kill a penalty half way through the period, after Timo Meier was called for goaltender interference. Vegas had 14 shots and scored once at the end of the period. The Sharks had just gotten the puck out of their zone bu could not get it past the center line before Vegas carried it back in. Tomas Nosek carried the puck down along the boards while Carrier drove the net. Nosek took the shot and it went off of Carrier and in.

Early in the second period, Brenden Dillon was called for holding, putting the Golden Knights on the power play. Jimmy Schuldt scored in the second minute of that penalty. After a quick give and go along the blue line with William Karlsson, Schuldt’s shot from the point went right by Jones. Assists went to Karlsson and Reilly Smith.

A dispute between Evander Kane and Valentin Zykov at 7:31 resulted in matching roughing minors for the players and some 4-on-4 time for the teams. After almost a minute of very fast back and forth play, Jonathan Marchessault scored off the rush, making it 3-0 Vegas. Marchessault had a step on Joe Thornton coming through the neutral zone, and stayed just ahead of a charging Mario Ferraro as they bore down on the Sharks net.

Kane and Zykov went at it again at 10:17, this time receiving fighting majors.

The Sharks had a good shift in the offensive zone with about five minutes left in the period, until a quick pass from Schuldt found Max Pacioretty lurking at the Sharks blue line. Pacioretty took the puck in and made a quick pass to Mark Stone who shot the puck past Jones to make it 4-0.

On a line with Tomas Hertl and Evander Kane, Danil Yurtaykin scored at 1:10 of the third. Yurtaykin caught the puck behind the net, carried it to the front and put it in with a quick backhand into traffic. Assists went to Kane and Hertl.

A couple of minutes later, Reilly Smith made it 5-1 Vegas with a power play goal. Timo Meier was in the box for slashing Brayden McNabb, and it only took the Vegas power play 13 seconds to score. Assists went to William Karlsson and Marchessault.

The Sharks took 11 more penalties in the period, and Vegas took eight, but the score did not change. Among those penalties were misconducts for Evander Kane, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Max Pacioretty, Brenden Dillon, Deryk Engellund and Kevin Labanc.

Late in the first period, Logan Couture took a puck to the hand but he played through the game.

The Sharks’ lineup Sunday included new faces Lean Bergman, Danil Yurtakin and Jonny Brodzinsky up front. On defense, Dalton Prout and Mario Ferraro were in while Radim Simek and Tim Heed sat out.

The Sharks will be back in Las Vegas on Wednesday to start the regular season at 7:30 PM PT.

Golden Knights Beat Sharks 3-1 in Preseason

@SanJoseSharks photo

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The Vegas Golden Knights scored once per period to defeat the San Jose Sharks 3-1 in Saturday’s preseason game at the SAP Center. Max Pacioretty scored once and got assists on the other two Vegas goals, scored by Valentin Zykov and Alex Tuch. Antti Suomela scored San Jose’s only goal. Marc-Andre Fleury made 28 saves in the win, while Martin Jones made 26 saves for San Jose.

Three players made their first appearance in this preseason for the Sharks on Saturday: forwards Logan Couture and Melker Karlsson and defenseman Nikolai Knyzhov. Knyzhov was signed by the Sharks in July as a free agent.

Martin Jones gave up one goal on four shots in the first period. That goal came off of Valentin Zykov’s stick. Zykov found a rebound right in front of Jones and put it around him with a back hand. Assists went to Nick Pacioretty and Cody Glass.

At the other end, Marc-Andre Fleury saw eleven shots from the Sharks and stopped them all. Four of those shots came from Lean Bergmann, playing on a line Logan Couture and Jonny Brodzinski. Some of those shots also came on the game’s first power play, during which San Jose did not score.

Just past the seven minute mark of the second, Antti Suomela had a nice breakaway chance, displaying some speed. Fleury stopped his shot. Around the midpoint of the period, the teams were pretty close in shots, with Vegas at five and San Jose at four. Vegas had already surpassed their shot count from the whole first period.

Max Pacioretty scored the second goal for Vegas at 14:38 of the second. A play behind the net got out in front of Jones with just one defender to help him out. Pacioretty had a lot of room to move and shoot. Assists went to Cody Glass and Reilly Smith.

Moments after the next faceoff, a Marc-Edouard Vlasic shot from the blue line was neatly deflected by Antti Suomela to get the Sharks on the board. A second assist went to Kevin Labanc.

By the end of the period, the Golden Knights had 14 shots on goal while the Sharks had 9.

Just 18 seconds into the third period, Kevin Labanc was called for slashing Cody Glass. During the ensuing power play, Alex Tuch scored, giving the Golden Knights the 3-1 lead. Assists went to Pacioretty and Jimmy Schuldt.

The rest of the third period was full of penalties, compared to the single penalty called in the first two periods. Dalton Prout and Valentin Zykov were called at 4:36 for cross-checking each other. At 11:36, Nicholas Roy was called for hi-sticking Antti Suomela.

The next preseason game for the Sharks will be on Tuesday in Anaheim against the Ducks at 7:00 PM PT.

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2019: Golden Knights Take 2-1 Series Lead with 6-3 Win Over Sharks

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

The Vegas Golden Knights defeated the San Jose Sharks 6-3, scoring a first-minute goal in all three periods. Three Vegas goals came from Mark Stone, two from Paul Stastny and one from Max Pacioretty. For the Sharks, goals came from Kevin Labanc, Logan Couture and Timo Meier. Marc-Andre Fleury made 25 saves for the Vegas win, while Martin Jones made 34 saves in the Sharks loss.

After the game, Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer talked about the high-scoring line of Stastny, Stone and Pacioretty:

They’ve eaten us up here this series so far, so, we haven’t had an answer for them. What do they do well? I mean you’ve got three very good players that are playing at a really high level right now. So, you know, that is part of the issue. We’ve got to find an answer to slow those guys down.

Sharks captain Joe Pavelski talked about the impact of early goals against, summarizing it as: “It’s tough to keep it going or get it back when you do that at the start.” Forward Logan Couture also talked those period starts, saying “they made some nice plays but we’ve got to be ready to start periods.”

On his goaltender’s performance, Couture said: “I think he made a lot of saves. I mean, you look at that game, their power play chances, their chances in the slot, he made a lot of big saves. They could have had eight tonight. Some of their goals, you can’t give up breakaways, two on ones, and let a guy walk past the half way mark in the crease. You’re just asking for trouble.”

Yet again, Vegas scored early the game, putting the Sharks down by one just 18 seconds in. Right off of the opening face-off, Erik Karlsson’s pass missed its mark and ended up on Mark Stone’s stick. Stone charged into the zone, pursued by Sharks, and scored with a back hand. Assists went to Nate Schmidt and Deryk Engellund.

Max Pacioretty gave Vegas a 2-0 lead at 12:16 with a power play goal. Evander Kane was in the box for a four-minute high-sticking penalty. Pacioretty’s shot was the first of the power play and only took five seconds. The face-off was still dispersing when Pacioretty shot from near the point. His shot went through some traffic and between Justin Braun’s legs. Assists went to Shea Theodore and Paul Stastny.

The Sharks got one back late in the period at 15:16. Joe Thornton got to the puck behind the net and made a quick back hand pass up to Kevin Labanc as Labanc skated to the net. Labanc took the shot some feet from the blue paint, then collided with Colin Miller in front of Marc-Andre Fleury. The Golden Knights challenged the goal for goaltender interference but the goal was upheld. Assists went to Thornton and Marcus Sorensen.

The Golden Knights outshot the Sharks 20-12 in the first period, and won 59% of the face-offs.

Paul Stastny restored the Golden Knights’ two-goal lead 21 seconds into the second period. Pacioretty took a shot from the slot and the rebound went to Stastny out beyond the traffic around the net. He took a shot from above the face-off dot and it went by two Sharks defenders and under their goaltender. Assists went to Pacioretty and Stone.

The Sharks got their first power play at 10:02 of the second period. The Golden Knights had already had three.

Stastny added another goal at 16:04, on the sixth Vegas power play. This time, it was Kevin Labanc in the box for interference against Ryan Reaves. The Sharks had killed off most of the penalty when Mark Stone made an impressive pass across the slot, evading skates and sticks, right to Stastny for the shot. Jones was still trying to get across when the puck went in. Assists went to Stone and Theodore.

Las Vegas outshot San Jose 10-7 in the second period, but only won 40% of the face-offs.

The Sharks made some line changes for the third. Gus Nyquist moved to Logan Couture’s line with Timo Meier. Joe Pavelski moved to Tomas Hertl’s line with Evander Kane.

The Golden Knights scored a third first-minute goal in the third, this time 36 seconds in. Mark Stone’s pass to Jonathan Marchessault became a rebound that Stone was in a perfect spot to tap in. Assists went to Marchessault and Stastny.

At 4:57, the Sharks scored on their third power play. William Karlsson was in the box for slashing Tomas Hertl. Early in the power play, Marc-Andre Fleury lost his glove while on his back after a shot almost went in. The whistle went and the delay allowed conflict to erupt, resulting in matching roughing penalties for Brent Burns and Tomas Nosek.

Erik Karlsson’s neutral zone pass found Logan Couture just above the blue line. Couture carried it down the side past the face-off dot and sent the puck to the net where Pavelski was arriving for a deflection. The puck never reached Pavelski as Brayden McNabb’s stick got in the way and directed the puck past his own goaltender. The goal went to Couture with assists to Karlsson and Martin Jones.

Timo Meier scored a third goal for the Sharks at 5:51. Gus Nyquist took a shot from in close created a rebound that went right to Meier in the slot. Meier’s shot was just too quick for Fleury to catch. Nyquist got the assist.

Those two quick goals were followed by a lull in scoring, until Mark Stone got his third of the game at 13:57, restoring the three-goal lead for Vegas. A neutral zone interception sent Stone and Stastny into the Sharks zone. Stastny sent the puck off the boards to Stone, who skated to the net, faked to the right and shot to left with a backhand. Assists went to Stastny and Theodore.

Vegas outshot the Sharks 40-28 in the game and won 53% of the face-offs.

Sharks forward Micheal Haley was injured blocking a shot in the second period and did not return. Marc-Edouard Vlasic, injured the same way in Friday’s game, was not in the lineup Sunday and was replaced by Tim Heed.

Game four will be on Tuesday in Las Vegas at 7:30 PM PT.

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2019: Golden Knights Beat Sharks 5-3; Tie Series 1-1

Photo credit: @GoldenKnights

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The Vegas Golden Knights defeated the San Jose Sharks 5-3 Friday, tying their first round NHL Playoff series 1-1. Vegas goals came from Cody Eakin, Colin Miller, Max Pacioretty, Mark Stone and William Karlsson. Sharks goals came from Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl and Joe Thornton. Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 34 saves in the win. Martin Jones made four saves on seven shots for San Jose, then Aaron Dell came in to replace him and made 14 saves on 16 shots.

The Sharks had eight power plays in the game while the Golden Knights had just three. The Sharks scored one power play goal and Vegas scored one power play goal and two short-handed ones.

After the game, Sharks captain Joe Pavelski talked about how the Sharks’ power play failed them: “We would get turned back and try to make the play up top and they would take that away and it would be out of the zone. It can be a little cleaner, a little quicker, a little bit more direct and we’ll go from there.”

The curse of the first five minutes reared its head again for the Sharks. Martin Jones had just saved a Max Pacioretty shot, which wound up behind the net. Following it as it came back around, Jones found himself screened by his own defensemen when Cody Eakin took a shot from the slot. An assist went to Pacioretty.

That was not the end of it. Before five minutes had elapsed, Vegas scored again. 2:10 into overlapping Sharks power plays, Colin Miller emerged from the penalty box to score short handed at 4:37.

Vegas added another at 6:11. Paul Stastny deflected a pass in the neutral zone, and Pacioretty picked it up. He carried the puck in just off the wall and took his shot before passing the face-off dot. The shot went by Jones on the far side and in. Stastny got the assist.

After that goal, Peter DeBoer replaced Martin Jones with Aaron Dell in net.

After the game, DeBoer said: “We were down three-nothing ten minutes in. I didn’t put it on Jonesy. We needed a shot in the arm to kind of change our momentum.”

The Sharks took some time to stem the bleeding. Once they had done that, they engaged their offense.

Logan Couture got the Sharks on the board at 16:59. The Sharks had just finished killing off a two-man advantage for Vegas, and were playing 4-on-4. Erik Karlsson made a pass across the offensive zone to Pavelski, who quickly passed it back across to Couture in front of the net. Couture put it carefully over Fleury and into the net. Assists went to Pavelski and Karlsson.

After the goal, the Sharks had a brief power play and scored again at 17:38. Couture passed the puck from the point along the blue line to Erik Karlsson, who had a long line of traffic between himself and the net. That traffic made an effective screen for Karlsson’s shot, and a deflection by Tomas Hertl made it all the more elusive. It was Hertl’s second of the playoffs. Assists went to Karlsson and Couture.

Joe Thornton completed the comeback at 19:08 of the period. The Sharks had just spent quite a while hemmed in their own zone when Logan Couture flipped the puck out of the zone. Evander Kane took off in hot pursuit though Pacioretty had several steps on him. Kane caught up and pushed Pacioretty off the puck, took it around behind the net and sent it back up to Brenden Dillon on the blue line. Dillon sent it back down to Thornton for a deflection. Dillon and Kane got the assists.

The second period started with another goal against the Sharks in the first five minutes, but only after the Sharks had a goal called back 51 seconds in. The goal did not count as it occurred just after Logan Couture was penalized for goaltender interference. The call was questionable as the contact came well outside the blue paint and appeared to be initiated by the goaltender. Nevertheless, the goal did not count.

On the ensuing power play, Vegas scored at 1:31. Mark Stone deflected a blue line shot from Shea Theodore. Dell stopped the deflection but the puck made its way back out to Stone, who was able to poke it through traffic and in. It was Stone’s third of the playoffs. Assists went to Stastny and Alex Tuch.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic finished his final shift of the game at 1:06, after the face-off for that Vegas power play, so the Sharks finished the game with five defensemen. Vlasic was injured blocking a shot.

Vegas scored a second short-handed goal at 7:35 of the third period. William Karlsson broke away as Reilly Smith was collecting the puck in the defensive zone. The pass got to him on the center line when he was already up to speed. He faked a shot as he approached the net and then put it away with a back-hand over a prone goaltender. Assists went to Smith and Tuch.

That goal came on Vegas’s first shot of the period. They did not have another shot until 13:53 of the period. In total, they only had four shots in the period but that was enough for them.

The Sharks pulled their goaltender with over two minutes to go for an offensive zone draw. The Sharks had a total of 15 shots in the period but could not beat Fleury again.

Through the first two periods, the Sharks won over 60% of the face-offs, but in the third won just 33%. The Golden Knights put Colin Miller in for Nick Holden on their blue line Friday. The Sharks made no roster changes, but may have to for Sunday, if Vlasic is not available.

Game 3 will be in Las Vegas on Sunday at 7:00 PM PT.

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2019: Sharks Take Game One 5-2 Over Knights

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.

2019 NHL All-Star Game: Central Division Eliminates Pacific 10-4

Photo credit: @NHL

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE- The First round of the All-Star Game was between the Central and the Pacific Divisions, with the Central Division winning 10-4. The Pacific Division was coached by Bill Peters from the Calgary Flames, while the Central Division squad was coached by Paul Maurice of the Winnipeg Jets. The coaches came from the teams with the best record up to the All-Star break.

The All-Star Game was broken into three parts, two Conference contests and a third between winners of those. The games were made up of two ten minute periods of three on three play.

The Central Division scored first, with goals from Colorado’s Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog against Anaheim’s John Gibson. Both were assisted by St. Louis’s Ryan O’Reilly.

San Jose’s Erik Karlsson got one back for the Pacific Division at 4:51 in a breakaway against Nashville’s Pekka Rinne. John Gibson got an assist on that one.

Nashville’s Roman Josi scored a third for Central, followed seconds later by a fourth goal from Chicago’s Patrick Kane. Kane assisted on Josi’s goal and Josi assisted on Kane’s.

A fifth goal came from Winnipeg’s Mark Scheifele, assisted by O’Reilly. Gibson gave up a sixth goal to Rantanen, his second of the game. Patrick Kane also got a second goal, the Central’s 7th. That was 8:11 into the first period.

For the second period, the teams changed ends and goaltenders. Las Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury took over for the Pacific Division and Minnesota’s Devan Dubnyk took the Central Division net.

Colorado’s Landeskog scored a second goal to start the second half, less than a minute into the period. He was assisted by Roman Josi. Fleury made a number of valiant saves before Ryan O’Reilly took the puck away from Brent Burns in the neutral zone. Fleury came way out of his net as if to steal the puck. He did not and O’Reilly went around him to score.

Yet another Central goal came from Landeskog, his third with about five and a half minutes left. Winnipeg’s Blake Wheeler got an assist.

The Pacific Division got one back courtesy of Johnny Gaudreau with an assist to Connor McDavid at 4:47. They got another courtesy of two Sharks, Erik Karlsson assisted by Joe Pavelski. San Jose’s Brent Burns added a fourth goal for the Pacific Division at 5:52. Pavelski also got the assist on that one.

The Central Division squad went on to the second round.

Sharks’ Season Ends With 3-0 Loss to Golden Knights

Photo credit: @TheVegasRealm

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE–The San Jose Sharks’ season ended with a 3-0 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights at the SAP Center Sunday. The Game 6 win makes the Golden Knights the third NHL team to win two rounds in the playoffs in their inaugural season. Goals came from Jonathan Marchessault, Nate Schmidt and Cody Eakin. Marc-Andre Fleury made 28 saves for Vegas’ shutout win. Martin Jones made 30 saves in a losing effort for San Jose.

After the game, Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said: “We just didn’t find a way to put any pucks in the net. You know we had some opportunities early, a couple of power plays and some really good looks. And whether a puck spun off or got a skate on it or whatever kind of happened, it was. I think our opportunities early were there to take that lead.”

Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer gave his assessment of the series after the game:

We knew their game was for real and I thought there was some swing moments in the series when you win and when you lose. But the bottom line for me is we were just chasing the game. Every game in the series other than the 4-0 win here at home. I thought we had some good starts, had some quality chances early in a lot of those games, and Fleury I thought was great early in a lot of those games, allowed them to get their feet under them and then we’re chasing five of the six games.

Asked about what he thought of the Pavelski, Kane, Donskoi line, DeBoer said:

I’m not dissecting it. I can tell you this, you got a guy who’s playing center that hasn’t played center in years that steps up and plays as the number one center. So you know if you’re going to negatively dissect their play, you’re talking to the wrong guy. You can do that. These guys…. Our number one center went down, these guys jumped in, filled roles didn’t complain, battled their ass off right to the buzzer in every single game even when we were down.

The Sharks were on the power play in the first minute of the game, thanks to a tripping call drawn by Tomas Hertl. The Sharks got two shots during the power play, but the Golden Knights got one on a breakaway for Willam Karlsson.

Just 5:39 into the period, a flurry of activity in front of the Sharks net ended with Martin Jones being pushed into the net as the whistle blew. Evidently the puck crossed the line with the goalie, but an NHL initiated review determined that the whistle had been blown before the puck went in.

Near the nine-minute mark, Tomas Hertl had a breakaway, but hit the crossbar. He retrieved the puck and got it to Logan Couture for a good chance, but that shot did not go in either. A scramble in front of Fleury followed, but the puck still stayed out.

After the next faceoff in the Vegas zone, Brayden McNabb sent the puck over the glass. After an extensive review to see if it touched a Sharks stick, the penalty was called. The Sharks took a couple of good shots before Vegas cleared the puck. Seconds after that penalty expired, Evander Kane was called for tripping Reilly Smith. The Sharks killed that off without letting the power play spend a lot of time in the zone.

At even strength after the power play, it was a different story. The Golden Knights spent a lot of time in the Sharks zone. Their fourth line in particular was very effective.

Despite not spending much time on offense, the Sharks had another good chance off a blue line shot from Joakim Ryan in the last three minutes. Timo Meier reached to push it in, but did not get there. That sequence seemed to energize the Sharks and they held the zone for quite a spell. Brent Burns had a shot deflected by Evander Kane, but it went off the crossbar. It fell at Joonas Donskoi’s feet by the post, but he couldn’t get it over the line either.

The teams finished the period almost even in shots, 12-11 Vegas.

The teams started the second period a little bit slowly, with more than four minutes of play going by before the first shot was counted. It went to Vegas, and another minute of play went by before the Sharks got a shot on goal.

It was the third shot of the period that went in, at 6:33, a goal from the Golden Knights’ Jonathan Marchessault. A failed clear by Marc-Edouard Vlasic ended up on Reilly Smith’s stick. He found Marchessault with an open net. Assists went to Smith and William Karlsson.

The Golden Knights almost scored again at 8:31 left in the first, when Martin Jones came out to stop a shot from Brayden McNabb and was completely out of the net when Smith got a chance at the rebound. Chris Tierney was in the paint and blocked the shot. The Sharks followed it up with good zone time, but all of their shots seemed to hit bodies and skates.

The second Vegas goal came with as little fanfare as a goal can have: most seemed to miss it and play continued. A horn went a few moments later, alerting all that something was wrong. On review, Nate Schmidt scored with a shot from the blue line that hit the post and went off the goal net camera. David Perron won an offensive zone faceoff against Chris Tierney and slid the puck to Eric Haula on the wall. Haula got the puck to Schmidt. The time of the goal was 15:38.

By the halfway mark of the third period, the shot count was 11-3 in favor of Vegas. The Golden Knights did not let up. DeBoer pulled Martin Jones with 2:15 left in the period. The Sharks got a couple of shots in the 15 seconds before Ryan Carpenter and Cody Eakin broke away to score on the empty net. It was Eakin’s third goal of the playoffs and Carpenter’s third assist. An additional assist went to Nate Schmidt.

That was it, except for the handshake.

The schedule for the Western and Eastern conference final rounds are yet to be determined, as the two series (Jets-Predators, Capitals-Penguins) are still ongoing.

Sharks Fall 5-3 to Golden Knights, Trail in Series 3-2

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks fell behind in their second round playoff series with a 5-3 loss in Las Vegas Friday. Vegas took a 4-0 lead with goals from James Neal, Eric Haula and two from Alex Tuch. Jonathan Marchessault scored an empty-netter in the final seconds to seal the win. The Sharks’ three third period goals came from Kevin Labanc, Tomas Hertl and Mikkel Boedker. Marc-Andre Fleury made 27 saves for the win. In the Sharks’ net, Martin Jones made 27 saves before being pulled in the third period, and Aaron Dell finished the game with seven saves.

After the game, Sharks Captain Joe Pavelski described the team’s sense of the game:

It felt like the game was there at all times. When that score was within two or three, you feel in it. And we knew we had to get in there and create a little bit more. But, game went to four, Deller went in, all of a sudden we bang in one or two and you know it’s still there. So I don’t know, did we fell in it? We thought we had a chance for sure. Were we playing good enough? Not at some moments for sure, but the game got better at the end. So that needs to continue now, it doesn’t matter what we felt.

“We have to play harder for a longer stretch than we did tonight. We didn’t play hard enough for long enough and that’s why we lost,” said Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer. Each team killed three of four penalties. Vegas outshot the Sharks 39-30, with the biggest difference in the first period. Vegas also edged the Sharks in faceoffs, winning 51% of them. The hit count favored the Golden Knights by a big margin at 53-35.

The Golden Knights outshot the Sharks 15-7 in the first period, but Sharks goaltender Martin Jones held them off the board until the final minute. James Neal scored with just three seconds left off a rebound created by Shea Theodore’s shot from the blue line. Theodore and David Perron got the assists.

The Sharks started the second period with an early power play but could not score. They had only two shots on goal and Vegas came back with a power play of their own just 12 seconds after the Sharks power play expired.

The Vegas power play did not last long, as Alex Tuch scored at 4:52, again off a rebound. This one was created by a close in shot from Reilly Smith. It was not much of a rebound but Tuch was right on the doorstep to knock it in. Assists went to Reilly and Jonathan Marchessault.

The third Vegas goal came from Erik Haula at 8:59. Haula caught a pass from David Perron almost at the goal line. His bad angle shot squeezed under Jones’ pad on the short side. Assists went to Perron and Ryan Carpenter.

Just shy of the half way mark, Marc-Andre Fleury thwarted an excellent chance for San Jose. Marcus Sorensen skated in fast and followed his shot up by crashing the net. He knocked Fleury across the goal mouth and off his skates. The puck was cleared away to the boards, where Brent Burns was on top of it. Fleury got back in position in time to stop the blast from Burns as well.

Vegas had a second power play at 11:02 after Justin Braun was called for tripping. The Sharks started the penaly kill with a good short-handed chance from Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl, but they did not beat Fleury. They had a couple more short-handed excursions into the Vegas zone and killed off the rest of the penalty.

The Sharks’ fourth line had an excellent shift in the final three minutes of the period but that was followed by another Vegas power play. After a line change, Joe Pavelski was called for roughing after a tussle in front of the Vegas net. The Sharks spent most of the rest of the period killing that off.

The Sharks’ second power play came early in the third period after Shea Theodore was called for cross-checking Tomas Hertl. Vegas killed that off, but Theodore was back in the box at 4:11, this time for slashing Hertl. The Sharks were unable to take advantage of either penalty.

Alex Tuch scored his second of the game at 8:36 of the third. The Sharks had just finished an excellent shift in the o-zone, ever frustrated by Fleury. After the offensive zone draw, the Sharks lost the puck to Oscar Lindberg, who got it out of the zone. Alex Tuch carried it across the line and passed it to Cody Eakin. Eakin sent it right back for Tuch to shoot.

Pete DeBoer pulled Martin Jones after that goal and put Aaron Dell in.

The team responded with a a quick power play goal from Kevin Labanc. James Neal was called for slashing at 9:06. 29 seconds into the power play, Logan Couture found Labanc in the slot for a clean shot over Fleury’s left pad. Assists went to Couture and Hertl.

Just over two minutes later, Tomas Hertl scored to cut the Vegas lead in half. Mikkel Boedker made a fast move behind the net and just as he had the puck coming around the post, Hertl was there to knock it in. Assists went to Boedker and Couture.

Boedker added to the Sharks’ tally with a quick shot close in after the puck popped out of a scramble in front of the Vegas net. The time of the goal was 15:44, with an assist to Logan Couture.

With 2:21 and an offensive zone draw for the Sharks, DeBoer pulled Dell for the extra skater. The Sharks spent some precious time defending that empty net before getting the puck back into the Vegas zone for a moment. But with 1:21 left, Jonathan Marchessault got control of the puck and took a shot all the way down the ice for the empty-net goal.

Game 6 will be in San Jose on Sunday at 4:30 pm PT.

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.