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WCQF Game1: Sharks open series with win
San Jose dominates Golden Knights to take 1-0 series lead
4/10/19 - By Mike Lee -

If the rest of the Sharks Western Conference Quarter Finals Series with the Vegas Golden Knights is like Game 1, we're in for a humdinger of a match up. Wednesday night's series opener had a little bit of everything that you'd expect in a playoff hockey game. When the smoke cleared, the Sharks had themselves a well earned 5-2 victory to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. Five different Sharks recorded goals, including defensemen Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

It was an about face from the 7-0 pummeling that the Knights laid on the Sharks a year ago in their second round playoff series that served as a stepping stone for Vegas as they made their way to the Stanley Cup Finals. The Sharks didn't forget that series, and it showed.

San Jose was all over the Knights from the opening faceoff. A year ago, Vegas used its superior team speed to overwhelm the Sharks. That wasn't the case on Wednesday night. It was the Sharks who looked like the faster team, and the they were committed to pressuring Vegas goaltedner Marc-Andre Fleury all night.

Fleury was opposed by Martin Jones who was committed to prevent the Knights from taking the early lead. One of the biggest holes in Jones game this season has been the ability to keep the opposition off the scoreboard in the first 5 minutes of the game. Jones was aided by a defense that prevented the puck from making its way to Jones most of the night.

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare put the Knights in a hole at the 13:35 mark when he tripped Micheal Haley. San Jose turned to the tandem of Burns and captain Joe Pavelski for one of their patented point shot - deflection jobs to put the puck past Fleury. Only the deflection came off of Pavelski's face rather then his stick. Burns shot hit defenseman Nick Holden, then deflected up toward Pavelski's face. The shot caught him square in the mouth, before changing direction on Fleury for the series' first goal.

It was a tough way to score. Pavelski immediately dropped his stick and made his way to the locker room for medical treatment.

Timo Meier joined Pavelski in the infirmary at the end of the period when he took a Jon Merrill elbow off the noggin. Meier was floored by the hit as both skaters pursued a puck behind the Vegas net.

Meier may have been in a feisty move after making his return to the ice to start the 2nd period. The Sharks forward was called for tripping 20 seconds into the second frame to put the Knights on the early power play. San Jose killed the penalty, but more importantly, they kept the puck from challenging Jones.

Pavelski made his return to the ice in the 2nd period with a face shield to help guard his swollen mouth, but he was greeted with a tripping penalty at 6:25, which followed offsetting penalties to the two teams and a Derek Engelland hooking penalty. Without his deflection partner Pavelski int he penalty box, Burns took matters into his own hands at 6:59. After taking an Erik Karlsson drop pass as they crossed just inside the blueline, Burns turned right and headed toward the net before snapping a shot from the top of the left dot, beating Fleury to make it 2-0. Burns used Nate Schmidt to screen his shot, blocking it from Fleury for the 4-on-4 goal.

Still buzzing from the Burns goal, the Sharks kept the heat on Vegas, and pushed their lead to 3-0 just 45 seconds later when Vlasic lifted a shot past Fleury. The sharks worked the puck to the back of the net where Joe Thornton collected it and fed Fleury who was sliding down the slot. Merrill was positioned in front of his goaltender, who may have lost sight of the shot with his teammate impeding his sight line.

With Pavelski still in the box, the Knights held a brief power play, which contributed to first goal of the evening for Vegas. Max Pacioretty fired a shot to the front of the net right as Pavelski's penalty was ending, but Jones made the initial stop. Mark Stone was parked on the left post and easily jammed it home to make it a 3-1 game.

San Jose re-extended their lead to three goals when Erik Karlsson whipped the puck to the front of the net as Evander Kane was cutting through the slot from left to right. Kane got his stick blade on Karlsson's shot, lifting it past Fleury for the 4-1 lead.

Things got chippy in the 3rd period, as the Knights tried to find a way to get to Jones. Vegas took three minor penalties in the period and San Jose matched them with a trifecta of minors themselves.

One of those was a Kevin Labanc hooking infraction that allowed Stone to score his second goal of the game, cutting the Sharks lead to 4-2. Stone gathered a Shea Theodore feed while parked on the left dot, before whipping a shot that caught the right post.

The Shark would have been content to just run out the clock, but Knights head coach Gerard Gallant pulled Fleury with 2:30 to play.

Tomas Hertl suppressed any notion of a Knights comeback when he sent a shot from the midline into the Vegas net for the empty net goal.

Tomas Nosek took some liberties on a late shot that Jones handled, slashing Jones in an attempt to free the gloved puck. Kane took exception and voiced his displeasure with his stick. The sellout crowd sheered in glee as Kane and Ryan Reaves locked horns as the final horn sounded.

Game Notes:

* With the primary assist on Marc-Edouard Vlasic's goal, Joe Thornton tied Jean Beliveau, Ron Francis and Marian Hossa for 24th all time with 97 career playoff assists.

* San Jose recorded 42 hits in the game, which was indicative of the intensity of the game. By comparison, their highest hit total during the regular season was 40, also against the Vegas Golden Knights.

* With a goal and an assist, Brent Burns recorded his 13th career multi-point playoff game. Burns had 3 shots on goal and 2 hits in the game.

* Tomas Hertl had a goal and an assist, was a +3, and recorded 3 shots on goal a hit, and was 10 for 21 in the faceoff circle.

* Giatns first baseman Brandon Belt opened the locker room door. The Sharks started the tradition of having a Bay Area celebrity open the door before the Sharks hit the ice to start the game.


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1 2 3 T
VGK 0 1 1 2
SJ 1 3 1 5
1st period - 1, SJ, Pavelski 1 (Burns), 14:42, (pp).
2nd period - 2, SJ, Burns 1 (E. Karlsson, Hertl), 6:59. 3, SJ, Vlasic 1 (Thornton, Kane), 7:44. 4, VGK, Stone 1 (Stastny, Pacioretty), 8:32. 5, SJ, Kane 1 (E. Karlsson, Nyquist), 19:42.
3rd period - 6, VGK, Stone 2 (Theodore, Pacioretty), 15:26, (pp). 7, SJ, Hertl 1 (Couture, Vlasic), 18:11, (en).
1st period - Bellemare, VGK (tripping), 13:35.
2nd period - Meier, SJ (tripping), 0:20; Marchessault, VGK (unsportsmanlike conduct), 5:02; Dillon, SJ (roughing), 5:02; Engelland, VGK (hooking), 5:48; Pavelski, SJ (tripping), 6:25; Carrier, VGK (tripping), 8:55.
3rd period - Holden, VGK (slashing), 1:33; Stastny, VGK (roughing), 5:31; Haley, SJ (roughing), 5:31; McNabb, VGK (cross checking), 9:05; Goodrow, SJ (slashing), 11:44; Labanc, SJ (hooking), 15:11; Nosek, VGK (10 min misconduct), 19:31; Reaves, VGK (10 min misconduct), 19:31; Kane, SJ (10 min misconduct), 19:31.
Shots Saves
VGK - Fleury 32 28
VGK - empty net 1 0
SJ - Jones 26 24
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
VGK 5 5 16 26
SJ 8 14 11 33
Power Play Conversion
VGK 1 of 4
SJ 1 of 5
3 Stars of the Game
Brent Burns
Erik Karlsson
Joe Pavelski
SAP Center - 17,562
Referees: Rooney, Rehman. Linesmen: Miller, Gibbons.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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