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WCQF Game 6: Jones saves the day
Tomas Hertl scores in double overtime to force Game 7
4/21/19 - By Mike Lee -

Martin Jones has been the target of significant criticism this season. After dropping Games 2, 3 & 4 in the Sharks Western Conference, the Sharks goaltender was the biggest reason the Sharks had been pushed to the brink of playoff elimination. San Jose got an Easter miracle on Sunday night in Game 6, as Jones set a franchise record with 58 saves as the Sharks knocked off the Vegas Golden Knights 2-1 in double overtime.

Tomas Hertl ended the game with a short-handed goal 91 minutes and change into a nail biting contest that forces a Game 7 in San Jose on Tuesday.

This one was all Jones. The much maligned goaltender stood on his head throughout the night, with the only blemish coming midway through the 2nd period. For whatever reason, Jones has found his mojo. The goaltender double digit shot counts in each of the first three regulation periods, and another 15 over the 36 additional minutes added to the game.

Jones squared up everything he faced and rarely looked as if he needed to make the spectacular save. His toughest challenges came in the 2nd period, when the Knights threw 17 shots at him. A wild scramble in front of the Sharks net was squelched when Jones turned aside a pair of Jonathan Marchessault chances.

Vegas used their home ice advantage and were intent on jumping on the Sharks early. They out-shot San Jose 10-9 in the opening frame, but a series of chances in the first 5 minutes of the contest fell fruitless for the home team.

The Sharks turned the tables on the Knights in the closing seconds of the period, when Logan Couture scored his 4th goal of the series. Brent Burns lofted a pass out of the Sharks zone to center ice, when Couture gathered it and entered the zone. Changing directions at the top of the left circle, the Sharks forward sent a long wrist shot just inside the left post to bag the game's first goal. Couture used Nate Schmidt as a screen on his shot.

Marchessault tied the game at 11:20 of the 2nd period on a put back from the left side. The Knights were pressing on the forecheck and managed to retain possession after a pair of shots were turned aside by Jones. Vegas worked the puck to the point where Shea Theodore sent in a shot on goal. William Karlsson crossed in front of Jones as Theodore's shot hit his pad, but the puck flipped over to the left side of the crease where Marchessault was there lift a backhand chance over Jones.

It was the third consecutive game that Marchessault scored a goal.

Timo Meier was sent off for tripping Karlsson at 14:26 of the period, but the Sharks penalty killers were on their game. San Jose killed all three power plays award to Vegas. Melker Karlsson would be sent off for crashing into Marc-Andre Fleury in the 3rd period, but it did the Knights no good.

San Jose went 0-for-2 on the power play, misfiring on chances in the 1st and 2nd periods.

The Sharks looked as if they would score the go ahead goal late in the 3rd period when Meier chipped a rebound that floated over a fallen Fleury. Either Deryk Engelland or Jon Merrill got a glove on the puck just as it reached the goal line in the air.

The first overtime was a grueling 20 minutes of hockey for both teams. Unlike the regular season, overtime in the playoff consists of full 20 minute periods and the first extra frame when that full allocation of time. The Sharks finally out-shot the Knights in a period, throwing 8 pucks at the net, to the Knights 7 shots.

In what was a loosely called game most of the evening, referee Jean Hebert decided to unfurl his whistle 10:46 into the second time. Barclay Goodrow was sent off for slashing the stick out of Brayden McNabb's hands, awarding the Knights the only power play of the overtime.

There's no debate that Goodrow slashed McNabb, but Hebert and his partner Steve Kozari let more than a fair share of infractions by both teams go uncalled for the other 30 minutes of overtime. The call was made while the Sharks were in the offensive zone, and it was inconsequential to the play.

It was simply a head scratching call. Knights head coach Gerard Gallant has spent the entire series peppering the officials with complaints about non-calls, so it was perhaps influenced by his incessant whining.

Regardless, it put the Sharks in a bad spot. The penalty killing hasn't been a strong suit for San Jose, and already tired legs setup a huge advantage for Vegas.

The faceoff was dropped in the Sharks zone, where Joe Pavelski won the draw. Knights winger Mark Stone had control of the puck, but he turned it over right in front of the Sharks net. Defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic grabbed the turnover and fired it up ice to Hertl at center ice.

Hertl raced up the ice with Theodore on his right hip. The Sharks forward elected to shot the puck from the top of the left circle. The unscreened shot from that distance was something Fleury has handled all series, but Theodore tried to slash Hertl in mid shot. Theodore's stick interference changed the shot trajectory, crossing up Fleury.

The puck shifted enough to the left to get past the Knights netminder and find the back of the net for the stunning game winning goal. Hertl turned to his left and simply dropped to a knee and pumped his fist before the Sharks bench mobbed him at center ice.

For Jones, it was the sweetest ending to his record setting night. Several Sharks skated out to him including backup Aaron Dell.

The Sharks survived Game 6, and shift the series back to San Jose where the two teams will play a series deciding Game 7 on Tuesday night.

Game Notes:

* Tomas Hertl's short-handed goal was the first to come in a 2nd overtime in NHL playoff history.

* The win marked the first time the Sharks have forced a Game 7 after trailing 3-1 in a playoff series.

* Martin Jones' 58 saves was the 4th time in team history that a Sharks goaltedner has recorded 50 saves or more. The other being Wade Falherty (56 saves in Game 7 of the 1995 series at Calgary), Vesa Toskala (55 saves in Game 4 of the 2006 series at Edmonton) and Evgeni Nabokov (53 saves in Game 6 of the 2008 series at Dallas).

* Logan Couture's goal with the 38th playoff tally of his career.

* Brent Burns was named as a finalist for the 2019 Norris Trophy, awarded to teh top defenseman in the league. Burns joins Joe Thornton, who is also a finalist for the Masterton Trophy.



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Scoring
1 2 3 OT OT2 T
SJ 1 0 0 0 1 2
VGK 0 1 0 0 0 1
1st period - 1, SJ, Couture 4 (Meier), 19:51.
2nd period - 2, VGK, Marchessault 3 (Theodore, Karlsson), 11:20.
3rd period - None.
1st Overtime - None.
2nd Overtime - 3, SJ, Hertl 5 (Vlasic), 11:17, (sh).
Penalties
1st period - Theodore, VGK (tripping), 9:20.
2nd period - Meier, SJ (tripping), 14:26; Marchessault, VGK (slashing), 18:50.
3rd period - M. Karlsson, SJ (goaltender interference), 5:56.
1st Overtime - None.
2nd Overtime - Goodrow, SJ (slashing), 10:46.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
SJ - Jones 59 58
VGK - Fleury 29 27
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT OT2 T
SJ 9 7 4 8 1 29
VGK 10 17 17 7 8 59
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 2
VGK 0 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Tomas Hertl
Jonathan Marchessault
Martin Jones
Attendance
T-Mobile Arena - 18,458
Officials
Referees: Hebert, Kozari. Linesmen: Amell, Smith.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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