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WCSF Game 5: Sharks late to the party
SJ can't overcome 4-goal deficit, lose 5-3
5/4/18 - By Mike Lee -

Like death and taxes, the Sharks once again find themselves facing playoff elimination after the Vegas Golden Knights defeated them 5-3 at T-Mobile Arena on Friday night. The Sharks didn't show up until the second half of the 3rd period, but by then they trailed 4-0. that lead would prove insurmountable, even though they scored three goals in the final period. Vegas used their home-ice advantage and flat out beat the Sharks with quick and timely scoring.

It was a complete about face from the prior three games in which San Jose controlled the tempo of each game. The first 50 minutes of Game 5 had a resemblance to Game 1 where the Knights torched the Sharks. Vegas used their speed to score first, then poured it on with that speed.

The Sharks played quality hockey in the opening period and actually controlled the initiative for a majority of the frame. Two 2-on-1 chance in the first 7 minutes of the game setup excellent chances for San Jose, but they would not generate a single shot on either chance.

Vegas started to kick things into gear late in the period, and distanced themselves on the shot counter with a flurry of scoring chances. What should have been a scoreless 1st period turned ugly for San Jose when Mikkel Boedker's half-hearted clearing chance landed on a Knights stick, keeping the puck in the Sharks zone. The puck never left Vegas control after that, as James Neal finished things by one-timing a deflection past Martin Jones with 3 seconds left in the period.

It wasn't a back-breaking goal, but surrendering any score that late in a period had psychological effects on both teams.

Colin Miller was assessed a holding penalty at 2:07 of the 2nd period, but the Sharks power play only generated a pair of shots on net. Tomas Hertl fell victim to Gerard Gallant's whining about the Sharks running picks, when he was sent off for interference after bumping into Miller at 4:19.

The Sharks penalty kill was simply absent on the ensuing power play, when Tuch swept home a rebound from the doorstep as Justin Braun sat watching the puck rather than clearing out the opposition.

Erik Haula made it a 3-0 game after David Perron feathered a pass to him on the left side for the quick one-time chance on the fly. Dylan DeMelo was absent on the defensive assignment, which left Haula untouched.

Justin Braun killed any chance for San Jose to respond after he was sent off for tripping at 11:02.

With the game all but decided, the officials started to call penalties on Vegas. Tomas Hertl was cross checked across the chin by Shea Theodore, drawing blood. Through some special exception in the rule book, Theodore was not assessed a major penalty or a double minor for drawing blood. Evander Kane was given a major and suspended a game for his facial cross check, but special treatment is nothing new for this Knights franchise.

The Sharks would do nothing with the power play other than offer up a pair of short-handed chances to the Knights.

Alex Tuch scored his 4th goal of the playoffs at 8:36, tipping a Cody Eakin pass past Martin Jones, which would end the Sharks goaltender's evening. Aaron Dell was inserted in net by Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer to mop up and rest Jones for Sunday's Game 6.

James Neal was whistled for slashing at 9:06, setting up another Sharks power play. This time, they would convert. Kevin Labanc scored the first playoff goal of his career on a shot from the slot that sailed past Fleury's left shoulder.

Hertl made it a 2-goal game two minutes later when he punched a loose puck past Fleury from the doorstep. The goal was Hertl's 6th of the playoffs.

Boedker made a one-goal game at 15:44 by lifting a puck that was bouncing around in front of the Vages net. Fleury had to commit to a save and was face down on the ice when Boedker scooped up the loose puck and deposited it for his first goal of the playoffs.

That would simply serve as a tease once Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer pulled Dell with 2 minutes remaining in regulation. Dylan DeMelo had a shot attempt, but for some reason he floated into the scrum in front of the net, rather than the lane to the goal mouth. The puck kicked off a Sharks player and landed on Jonathan Marchessault's stick, who sent it the length of the ice for the empty net tally.

The final 10 minutes was a carbon copy of the output the Sharks produced in Game's 2, 3 and 4, but they could not rely on 10 minutes of hustle.

Game Notes:

* It will be interesting to see what becomes of the cross check to Hertl's face. The on-ice penalty was not commensurate with the same infraction perpetrated by Evander Kane in Game 1. Theodore should see a one game suspension at minimum.

* Rookie defenseman Joakim Ryan continues to prove that he belongs on the ice for San Jose. The young blueliner a minus 1 on 20 shifts, but he was not responsible for Alex Tuch's goal.

* The Sharks three big money players, Joe Pavelski, Evander Kane and Brent Burns were all a minus 2 for the game.

* Logan Couture and Joonas Donskoi were the only Shark forwards that did not register a shot on goal. As those two forwards go, so go the Sharks.

* Captain Joe Pavelski had a game to forget. He was a -2, had 1 shot on goal, was 6 of 17 in the faceoff circle (35%), and was essentially invisible on the ice. San Jose will need more from their captain in Game 6 or it's tee time.



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Scoring
1 2 3 T
SJ 0 0 3 3
VGK 1 2 2 5
1st period - 1, VGK, Neal 3 (Theodore, Perron), 19:57.
2nd period - 2, VGK, Tuch 3 (Smith, Marchessault), 4:52, (pp). 3, VGK, Haula 3 (Perron, Carpenter), 8:59.
3rd period - 4, VGK, Tuch 4 (Eakin, Lindberg), 8:36. 5, Sj, Labanc 1 (Couture, Hertl), 9:35, (pp). 6, SJ, Hertl 6 (Boedker, Couture), 11:44. 7, SJ, Boedker 1 (Couture), 15:44. 8, VGK, Marchessault 3 (unassisted), 18:39, (en).
Penalties
1st period - None.
2nd period - Miller, VGK (holding), 2:07; Hertl, SJ (interference), 4:19; Braun, SJ (tripping), 11:02; Pavelski, SJ (roughing), 16:40.
3rd period - Theodore, VGK (cross checking), 1:24; Theodore, VGK (slashing), 4:11; Neal, VGK (slashing), 9:06; Pavelski, SJ (roughing), 16:40; Vlasic, SJ (slashing), 19:27; Vlasic, SJ (unsportsmanlike conduct), 19:27; Dillon, SJ (10 min misconduct), 19:48; Engelland, VGK (10 min misconduct), 19:48.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
SJ - Jones 31 27
SJ - Dell 7 7
SJ - empty net 1 0
VGK - Fleury 30 27
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 7 10 13 30
VGK 15 13 11 39
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 4
VGK 1 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Alex Tuch
David Perron
Erik Haula
Attendance
T-Mobile Arena - 18,693
Officials
Referees: Rooney, Dwyer. Linesmen: MacPherson, Cherrey.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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