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Defensive circus nothing to laugh at
Vegas takes 5-3 decision with three 3rd period goals
2/8/18 - By Mike Lee -

The Vegas Golden Knights have been the NHL's biggest surprise this season, and they showed everyone in San Jose why on Thursday night. The visitors from Southern Nevada scored three unanswered 3rd period goals to knock off the Sharks 5-3 at SAP Center. The game was a mini-recap of both the Sharks and Knight's seasons. Vegas played hard nosed hockey land scored late to win a game, while the Sharks floundered on defense to drop a game they could have won.

It was the first visit by the NHL's newest team to San Jose, and the games outcome had to sting long time Sharks fans who had to endure the miserable early years in San Jose. The Knights played like a team that has been together for years. Solid two way play and late grit in the 3rd were enough to dispatch a Sharks team that is 26 years lost.

The Sharks welcomed the Knights to San Jose with a Joe Pavelski goal 4:40 into the contest. Pavelski was floating around the top of the crease when Brent Burns cranked a shot from the blueline. The goal was Pavelski's 11th of the season, but more importantly, it gave the Sharks the early lead.

The Sharks kept the Knights from recording a shot on net for the first 14 minutes of the game, and led 12-0 on the shot counter until David Perron was credited with one. Perron's attempt bounced back to Erik Haula, who was unattended in front of the net. The Knights forward grabbed the rebound and slipped it past Martin Jones to tie the game at 1-1.

All the Sharks hard work went up in smoke when William Karlsson sccored 37 seconds into the 2nd period. The Sharks turned the puck over in their own zone when it hit Logan Couture on a clearing attempt. Jonathan Marchessault found himself with the puck on the doorstep, but Jones made a crazy stop to deny the Knights forward. The puck sat just outside the goal line at Justin Braun's feet but the Sharks defenseman was simply too slow to get a stick on it, allowing Karlsson to tap it home.

A Cody Eakin hooking penalty at 10:13 of the period put the Sharks on the power play for the 3rd time. That turned out to be the charm for the Sharks power play, which converted when Timo Meier pushed home a deflection from the doorstep after Burns fired a shot on Fleury from right side.

Things got contentious for the officials in the 3rd period, when they missed a series of would be penalties that resulted in a roar of boos raining down from the 17,562 paid. The cat calls reached a crescendo when Mikkel Boedker was called for a phantom tripping penalty at 3:09. Alex Tuch was called for a high stick on Tomas Hertl.

San Jose would convert when Pavelski took a Burns feed just off the left post and lifted the puck over an outstretched Fleury.

The Sharks lead was short lived however, when Brayden McNabb carried a Burns turnover up the left wing and snapped a shot past Jones. It was a shot that Jones probably should have stopped, but he didn't and the Sharks were forced to fight on.

With a chance to flex some division muscle, San Jose packed it in with a defensive comedy of errors. The Sharks had the misfortune of having both Burns and Justin Braun on the ice at the same time. That was a recipe for disaster. David Perron and James Neal paired up and made the Sharks defensemen look like rodeo clowns.

Neal chipped the puck up the right wing boards, before cutting diagonally at the Sharks blueline and dropping the puck back to David Perron who immediately returned the pass, with Burns falling to his knees twice. Neal uncorked a shot that beat Jones with another stoppable shot, and Vegas had the goal they needed.

San Jose was forced to pull Jones with 2 minutes left in regulation, but Dylan Demalo's comedy of errors resulted in a turnover, followed immediately by a dumb high sticking penalty as he waved his stick from the seat of his pants after he was pushed off the puck. The net net was that it allowed Marchessault to pad his stats with a empty-net power play goal to make it a 5-3 game.

Game Notes:

* Joel Ward suffered an injury to his right shoulder midway through the 2nd period when Nate Schmidt hit him from behind and driving him into the boards. No penalty was called a Schmidt which raised the ire of Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer. Ward did not return.

* Melker Karlsson was also dinged up in the game and when Logan Couture was hit with a check that resulted in a chipped tooth, Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer was about to lose it on the bench. Several questionable non-calls had DeBoer stewing and he didn't hold back in expressing his displeasure to referees Brad Watson and Kyle Rehman.

* Brent Burns finished the game with 3 assists, but would end with a -2 plus/minus. It was a rough defensive night for Burns, although when asked by a reporter if he thought he had a good two-way game, Burns responded, "yes." It was hard to believe the response.


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1 2 3 T
VGK 1 1 3 5
SJ 1 1 1 3
1st period - 1, SJ, Pavelski 11 (Burns, Meier), 4:40. 2, VGK, Haula 21 (Perron, Miller), 14:00.
2nd period - 3, VGK, Karlsson 29 (Marchessault, Smith), 0:37. 4, SJ, Meier 13 (Burns, Tierney), 11:47, (pp).
3rd period - 5, SJ, Pavelski 12 (Burns, Couture), 7:50, (pp). 6, VGK, McNabb 3 (Lindberg, Eakin), 9:36. 7, VGK, Neal 24 (Perron, Miller), 15:10. 8, VGK, Marchessault 20 (Smith, Schmidt), 18:39, (pp), (en).
1st period - Theodore, VGK (slashing), 9:19.
2nd period - Marchessault, VGK (holding), 4:10; Bench, SJ (too many men), 5:02; Eakin, VGK (hooking), 10:13; Karlsson, SJ (slashing), 12:46.
3rd period - Boedker, SJ (tripping), 3:09; Tuch, VGK (high sticking), 6:47; Tierney, SJ (tripping), 10:11; Demelo, SJ (high sticking), 17:47.
Shots Saves
VGK - Fleury 38 35
SJ - Jones 32 28
SJ - empty net 1 0
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
VGK 4 17 12 33
SJ 16 9 13 38
Power Play Conversion
VGK 1 of 5
SJ 1 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Marc-Andre Fleury
David Perron
Brent Burns
SAP Center - 17,562
Referees: Watson, Rehman. Linesmen: Murchison, Barton.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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