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Sharks stun Knights for 1000th win
3rd period comeback highlights victory in Vegas
1/10/19 - By Mike Lee -

T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas has been a house of horrors for the Sharks. San Jose hasn't performed very well in Sin City since the Golden Knights entered the league last season, Vegas entered Thursday night on a 7 game winning streak, having won 8 of their last 10, so this one was tailor made for a Sharks let down. They threw us all a curveball, by overcoming a 3rd period deficit to stun the Golden Knights 3-2 with a pair of 3rd period goals.

It was the second 7-game winning streak the Sharks have snapped in the last 5 days. San Jose beat the Tampa Bay Lightning last Saturday to serve up the first regulation loss for the hottest team in the league in over a month. Vegas had hop-scotched past the Sharks in the Western Conference and Pacific Division standings with a nice run to end 2018 and into the net year.

This one started like many of the Sharks previous games with Vegas. The Golden Knights looked to run roughshod over San Jose like they did on several occasions last season.

Vegas wasted no time trying to blitz the Sharks early. Tomas Nosek sent a shot on goal from the left side after Martin Jones deflected a Ryan Reaves shot. San Jose failed to get a body on Nosek who beat Tim Heed to the spot at the bottom of the left circle before uncorking his 6th goal of the season.

San Jose was limited to a single shot on goal through the first 14 minutes of the 2nd period. A chance that clanked off the crossbar midway through the period seemed like it might be the closest the Sharks would come to scoring.

Tomas Hertl remedied that by snapping a shot past Marc-Andre Fleury at 14:05 of the period. Hertl had Nate Schmidt in his face as the Golden Knights defenseman was backskating in front of the Sharks forward. That may have screened Fleury from seeing the shot that found twine for Hertl's 16th goal of the season.

Lukas Radil missed on a golden opportunity when he was left unattended near the right post early in the 3rd period. Logan Couture drew the attention of two Golden Knight defenders, then snapped a pass through the slot to Radil. The Sharks rookie whiffed on the feed, snapping his head back in disbelief.

Vegas cashed in on a seeing-eye shot from Jon Merrill from the blueline that traversed through traffic and past Jones. Brandon Pirri beat a Shark to a puck along the left wing boards before moving it back to Merrill at the point. Several players were in the lane, aiding the Golden Knights defender bag his first goal of the season.

Melker Karlsson re-tied the game at 2-2 with a shot off a rebound form just outside the right post at 7:24. Brent Burns sent in a big blast from the left point, forcing the puck to kick back out to Karlsson. It was Karlsson's 7th tally of the season, but it couldn't have come at a more opportune time. San Jose had been struggling to get pucks on net, but his 2nd shot of the game found twine.

San Jose grabbed their first lead of the game 39 seconds later when Hertl threw a puck on net, banked off Joonas Donskoi's chest and in to the net. Hertl had tried jamming a puck past Fleury moments earlier, then the puck somehow kicked back out to the Sharks forward as he circled back to the front of the net out of the right corner.

Fleury setup a Sharks power play with 6 minutes left in regulation, but San Jose could not cash in. Brendan Dillon made things more interesting when he slashed Pirri with 3:44 left in regulation.

Vegas head coach Gerard Gallant pulled Fleury to give the Golden Knights a 6-on-4 power play, but his special teams couldn't get a puck past Jones. San Jose killed the penalty, but the skating advantage still tilted in Vegas' favor with the empty net.

The last 2 minutes was a wild display of desperation with the puck. San Jose was able to clear the puck out of the their end four times in that span to preserve the lead and locked down their 26th win of the season.

Jones finished the game with 36 saves, but he saved his best play for that final 20 minutes. The Sharks goaltender celebrated the win along with his 29th birthday. The Sharks were in more than a celebratory mood after this one.

Game Notes:

* The Sharks bucked the trend of wearing white on the road, and donned their black stealth mode jerseys. Not sure Vegas will ever honor that request again.

* The win was a major milestone for the franchise as they enjoyed the 1000th regular season victory.

* Joonas Donskoi's goal was his 8th tally in last 8 games. The goal moved him into 8th on the team in scoring. After a horrid November, Donskoi is climbing the stat line after a move to center.

* The game served as the annual fathers trip, and coincidentally marked the first time San Jose won at T-Mobile Arena in the regular season. The dads presence may have kept the players focused on the task at hand. San Jose lost both regular season games in Vegas last season. They did manage a playoff win there in a dramatic Game 2 win in double overtime.

* The players serenaded Martin Jones with a boisterous round of Happy Birthday while the Sharks goaltender was trying to give an interview to Bay Area media.



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Scoring
1 2 3 T
SJ 0 1 2 3
VGK 1 0 1 2
1st period - 1, VGK, Nosek 6 (Reaves, McNabb), 1:34.
2nd period - 2, SJ, Hertl 16 (unassisted), 14:05.
3rd period - 3. VGK, Merrill 1 (Pirri, Tuch), 2:16. 4, SJ, M. Karlsson 7 (Burns, Labanc), 7:24. 5, SJ, Donskoi 14 (Hertl, Kane), 8:03.
Penalties
1st period - Radil, SJ (hooking), 6:40; McNabb, VGK (tripping), 15:11.
2nd period - Burns, SJ (tripping), 5:28.
3rd period - Fleury, VGK (delay of game - puck over glass), 13:54; Dillon, SJ (slashing), 16:16.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
SJ - Jones 38 36
VGK - Fleury 27 24
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 10 5 12 27
VGK 13 12 13 38
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 2
VGK 0 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Martin Jones
Tomas Nosek
Jon Merrill
Attendance
T-Mobile Arena - 18,367
Officials
Referees: Joannette, Luxmore. Linesmen: Berg, Marquis.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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