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Controversy mars Game 2 loss
Special teams implodes as Sharks drop 5-3 decision
4/12/19 - By Mike Lee -

Game 2 of the Sharks Western Conference Quarter Finals series with the Vegas Golden Knights will go in the books as the game that was lost on a controversial call and a bushel of missed special teams opportunities. San Jose dropped Game 2 by a 5-3 score after referee Kelly Sutherland took a would be go-ahead goal off the board after the Sharks stormed back from a 3-goal deficit in the opening period.

The Sharks will be kicking themselves after allowing the Knights to grab a three goal lead, and misfiring on 7 power play chances. They also allowed a pair of short-handed goals that would serve as a big nail in the coffin.

Vegas wasted no time getting on the board, pressing on the forecheck off the initial faceoff. Max Pacioretty hunted down a puck along the end boards before finding Cody Eakin in the slot. Eakin gathered Pacioretty's feed then ripped a shot past Martin Jones for his 1st goal of the playoffs.

The Knights put themselves into a precarious position when Colin Miller and Derek Engelland took penalties 60 seconds apart. The gave the sharks a full minute of 5-on-3 power play time.

Not only did the Sharks not take advantage of the 2-man advantage, but they served up a short-handed goal to the Knights when Erik Karlsson made an awful pass that Miller intercepted as he stepped out of the penalty box. The Knights defenseman skated up ice and deposited the puck past Jones for the 2-0 lead.

Things went from bad to worse less than two minutes later when Max Pacioretty converted for Vegas to push their lead to 3-0. The Knights forward skated up the right wing and snapped a shot that caught the inside of the left post.

That would end the evening for Jones who left the game with 4 saves on 4 shots.

Sometimes you just crawl under a rock when you get punched in the face. Without anything else to do, the Sharks chose to punch back. Brent Burns may have lit the fire with an open ice hit that rocked Tomas Nosek in front of the Sharks bench.

Logan Couture made it a 3-1 game moments later when Joe Pavelski sent a diagonal pass from the top of the left circle to the right post. Couture was there to collect that feed and lift a shot over an outstretched Marc-Andre Fleury.

Couture's goal came 4-on-4 as Tomas Hertl had taken a delay of game penalty. Miller followed him a minute later with a boneheaded cross checking penalty. When Hertl's penalty expired the Sharks would not whiff on the subsequent man-advantage.

Karlsson made amends for his gaff earlier in the game when he ripped a shot from the high slot that fond a seam for his 1st goal of the playoffs. The shot clipped Tomas Hertl in front of the Vegas net, changing it enough to push it pas Fleury.

The sellout crowd erupted with 52 seconds left in the period when Joe Thornton redirected a Brendan Dillon shot from the point. Thornton was outside the left post, but he positioned his stick perfectly to adjust the shot angle, putting it past Fleury. Evander Kane created the opportunity with his pursuit of the puck around the back of the Knights net.

The Sharks appeared to take the lead within the first minute of the 2nd period, but Logan Couture was ruled to have interfered with Fleury. Replays showed that both Fleuryand Couture were outside the crease, and Couture had his back to the Vegas goaltender.

To add insult to injury, Couture was sent off for interfering with Fleury. The Knights converted on the ensuing power play when Mark Stone pushed a rebound Aaron Dell. The Sharks could not challenge the play, because the referees ruled that the penalty occurred before the goal.

The special teams disaster got worse, when the Sharks went on their 7th power play of the night 5:52 into the 3rd period. Riley Smith intercepted a pass inside the Knights zone, then waited for William Karlsson to get a step on Thornton. After Smith hit Karlsson with a lead pass up the gut, that turned into 6 steps, as Thornton was dropped like a bad habit. Karlsson cruised in on Dell and slipped the puck past the Sharks neteminder for the 2-goal lead.

Game Notes:

* The Sharks allowed 71 goals in the first 5 minutes of periods (excluding OT) during the regular season, which was 2nd-most in the NHL (Florida 72). They allowed 3 goals of this variety tonight (first 2 of game, go-ahead/game-winning PP goal in 2nd).

* The Sharks are no foreigners to giving up short-handed goals in the playoffs. Friday night marked the 4th time in team history that they surrendered 2 short-handed goals in playoff game.

* This was only the second time in team history that San Jose lost a playoff game after scoring three goals in the 1st period.

* Justin Braun of all people, led the Sharks in shots on goal with 5. Logan Couture also had 5. Joe Pavelski, Tomas Hertl and Brent Burns all added 4 each.

* Marc-Edouard Vlasic took a shot off his left shoulder early in the 2nd period, and did not return.



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Scoring
1 2 3 T
VGK 3 1 1 5
SJ 3 0 0 3
1st period - 1, VGK, Eakin 1 (Pacioretty), 0:58. 2, VGK, Miller 1 (unassisted), 4:37, (sh). 3, VGK, Pacioretty 1 (Stastny), 6:11. 4, SJ, Couture 1 (Pavelski, E. Kalrsson), 16:59. 5, SJ, E. Karlsson 1 (Couture, Labanc), 17:38, (pp). 6, SJ, Thornton 1 (Dillon, Kane), 19:08.
2nd period - 7, VGK, Stone 3 (Stastny, Theodore), 1:31, (pp).
3rd period - 8, VGK, Karlsson 1 (Smith, Tuch), 7:35, (sh).
Penalties
1st period - Miller, VGK (slashing), 2:27; Engelland, VGK (delay of game - puck over glass), 3:27. Stone, VGK (roughing), 6:39; Meier, SJ (roughing), 6:39; McNabb, VGK (holding), 11:19; Labanc, SJ (charging), 13:25; Hertl, SJ (delay of game - puck over glass), 15:03; Miller, VGK (cross checking), 16:05.
2nd period - Couture, SJ (goaltender interference), 0:51; Tuch, VGK (hooking), 6:35; Schmidt, VGK (delay of game - puck over glass), 16:10.
3rd period - Theodore, VGK (slashing), 5:52; Nosek, VGK (interference), 15:46; Engelland, VGK (roughing - double minor), 20:00; Kane, SJ (roughing), 20:00; Meier, SJ (roughing), 20:00.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
VGK - Fleury 37 34
SJ - Jones 7 4
SJ - Dell 16 14
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
VGK 9 10 4 23
SJ 12 10 15 37
Power Play Conversion
VGK 1 of 3
SJ 1 of 8
3 Stars of the Game
Marc-Andre Fleury
Logan Couture
Paul Stastny
Attendance
SAP Center - 17,562
Officials
Referees: Lee, Sutherland. Linesmen: Miller, Gibbons.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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