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WCSF Game 3: Sharks let home ice slip through their fingers
Knights grab series lead with 4-3 overtime win
4/30/18 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks grabbed the home ice advantage on Saturday when they beat the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 2 of their Western Conference Semi Final series. They promptly handed that advantage back to Vegas on Monday night, after losing 4-3 in overtime at SAP Center. The Sharks battled back from a 3-1 deficit by scoring a pair of goals in the 3rd period, but William Karlsson took advantage of a defensive miscue by the Sharks to score 8:17 into the extra period.

The game was a tale of four periods. The Sharks won the 1st and 3rd, but the Knights won the 2nd and fourth periods, and in hockey, winning the 4th period ends the game. That's exactly what happened when Karlsson took advantage of what was undoubtedly the worst defensive pairing that Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer could throw out on the ice.

That being Paul Martin and Brent Burns, who both decided to chase James Neal as he carried the puck through the neutral zone. Karlsson crossed under Neal and took a drop pass as Martin vacated the right side of the ice to inexplicably cover the passer who was already covered by Burns.

Karlsson took three strides up the right wing and snapped a shot that sailed over Martin Jones' right shoulder. The shot caught the upper left corner, emptying the Knights bench as Karlsson's teammates swarmed him and Marc-Andre Fleury, who finished the game with 39 saves.

It wasn't the storybook ending the Sharks had setup with a big comeback in the 3rd period. That comeback was necessitated after San Jose gave up three goals to the Knights in the 2nd period. The Sharks dominated the opening period, dictating the pace of play as they came out of the gate on fire. They out-shot the Knights 16-10 in the period, but couldn't get a puck past Fleury.

As ticky-tack penalties would play a big role in the game later, referees Wes McCauley and Marc Joannette left a pair of big interference infractions by the Knights ignored. Logan Couture was leveled in front of the Vegas net in the first 4 minutes of the game on a would be scoring chance.

Timo Meier scored the game's first goal at 6:59 of the 2nd period, tapping a Chris Tierney feed from the right side past Fleury while William Carrier sat in the penalty box for tripping. Mikkel Boedker fired a shot from the slot that Fleruy stopped with a leg pad, but the puck kicked out to Tierney who whipped a pass through the slot to Tierney for the quick deposit. The goal was Meier's 2nd tally of the playoffs.

The wheels fell off for San Jose over a five minute span that netted the Knights three goals. Brendan Dillon killed all the momentum that the Sharks had built when he took a questionable holding penalty on David Perron. Collin Miller converted on the ensuing power play on a back door play after Neal sent a pass from the right corner through the crease to the left side.

Neal would bait Hertl into taking a dumb roughing penalty three minutes later. Jonathan Marchessault sent a one time chance from the left circle past Jones at 13:09 off an Alex Tuch feed from the right point.

The Sharks defense got caught napping less than two minutes later when Reilly Smith tapped home a redirect by Karlsson that cut through the crease. The Sharks got caught with the Martin and Burns defensive pairing on the ice as the Knights top line cycled the puck down low. Marchessault baited Martin to chase him toward the blueline, and Burns got lost in the slot, leaving both Karlsson and Smith unattended in front of the Sharks net. It was another defensive gaff that would burn the Sharks.

San Jose made a game of it by battling back in the 3rd period. First Evander Kane scored his 4th goal of the playoffs 7:49 into the frame. The Sharks trade deadline acquisition gathered a pass from Burns while parked on the right dot before squaring his shoulders to the net and snapping a shot that beat Fleury up high.

The Knights challenged the score, citing goaltender interference, but replays actually showed Fleury cross checking Joe Pavelski in front of the net. The goal would stand and San Jose was left with 12 minutes to bag the equalizer.

Hertl would do just that with 2 minutes remaining in regulation by stuffing a deflection past Fleury while parked on the Knights doorstep. Justin Braun tried pushing a shot on net from the right side, but the puck hit Hertl and bounced right to his stick. The Sharks forward had a narrow seam to slide the puck home, but he found it for his 4th goal of the playoffs.

The Sharks got into hot water as soon as the overtime period started. San Jose was called for another questionable penalty, when McCauley imposed a bench minor for too many men. San Jose would kill of the penalty, only to have a delay of game penalty called when Logan Couture lifted a puck over the glass.

Once again, San Jose evaded a Knights power play goal, and looked as if they would finish the game as victors when Kane had a look at the net and ripped a shot from the high slot. The one mistake Kane made was shooting it to Fleury's glove side, where a wave of the mitt snared it out of the air to preserve the tie. Had he shot the puck stick side, it would have likely found twine.

Karlsson ended things moments later.

Game Notes:

* Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer's veteran first approach to the playoffs cost him in Game 3. Paul Martin was on the ice for two of the Knight's goals, including Karlsson's game winner. The Sharks bench boss refuses to play Joakim Ryan or Tim Heed, who both logged plenty of ice time in the regular season.

* In addition to out-shooting the Knights, San Jose recorded more hits (44 to 35), blocked more shots (23 to 17) and had a better faceoff win percentage (58 to 44), but it didn't translate to goals.

* San Jose's power play finished the evening 4 for 6. The power play was 1 for 4. Special teams play was a big factor in the Sharks loss. The questionable penalties didn't help matters.

* In an attempt to establish tighter security at the venue, the Sharks staged four large dump trucks on both ends of Autumn street during the pre-game street rally, and then moved them to Santa Clara street at after the game. They were strategically placed to prevent any cars from plowing into pedestrians.

* The series resumes on Wednesday evening at SAP Center for Game 4.





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Scoring
1 2 3 OT T
VGK 0 3 0 1 4
SJ 0 1 2 0 3
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, SJ, meier 2 (Tierney, Boedker), 6:59, (pp). 2, VGK, Miller 2 (Neal, Perron), 9:40, (pp). 3, VGK, Marchessault 2 (Tuch, Smith), 13:09, (pp). 4, VGK, Smith 1 (Karlsson, Marchessault), 14:26.
3rd period - 5, SJ, Kane 4 (Burns, DeMelo), 7:49. 6, SJ, Hertl 4 (Braun, Labanc), 18:03.
Overtime - 7, VGK, Karlsson 4 (Neal, Marchessault), 8:17.
Penalties
1st period - Boedker, SJ (delay of game - puck over glass), 14:45.
2nd period - Smith, VGK (hooking), 0:39; Carrier, VGK (tripping), 5:28; Dillon, SJ (holding), 7:56; Hertl, SJ (roughing), 12:47; Tuch, VGK (slashing), 14:46; Boedker, SJ (interference), 18:51.
3rd period - Merril, VGK (cross checking), 5:45.
Overtime - Bench, SJ (too many men), 0:36; Couture, SJ (delay of game - puck over glass), 3:38.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
VGK - Fleury 42 39
SJ - Jones 33 29
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
VGK 10 8 12 3 33
SJ 16 16 7 3 42
Power Play Conversion
VGK 2 of 6
SJ 1 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Marc-Andre Fleury
William Karlsson
Tomas Hertl
Attendance
SAP Center - 17,562
Officials
Referees: Joannette, McCauley. Linesmen: Berg, Murray.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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