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Bad hockey ruins home opener
Two short-handed goals just the start
10/4/19 - By Mike Lee -

The first few games of the regular season is typically when NHL teams work out the kinks. The Sharks have used the first two games of the new season to tangle themselves in knots. After flubbing on opening night in Vegas 48 hours earlier, San Jose returned home to christen the new season with a disastrous performance at SAP Center, dropping a 5-1 embarrassment to the same Golden Knights.

Vegas has had five months to stew over their playoff elimination at the hands of the Sharks, and they're pulling no punches. The Knights have run roughshod over the Sharks for six consecutive periods to start the season. It's hard to believe that this same Knights lineup blew a 3-1 series lead to the Sharks last spring the way they are playing, but they have plenty of motivation.

The Knights have played with a vengeance, mirroring the personality of head coach Gerard Gallant. San Jose has take on the flaccid demeanor of Peter DeBoer, skating with no purpose or intent. The scores in the first two games of the season don't lie. The Sharks have simply been overmatched.

San Jose tried to respond to their 4-1 opening night loss, by skating with more purpose early on Friday night, but a lack of execution resulted in nothing on the scoreboard. The Knights weathered the first five minutes of the game, then took advantage of a poor goaltending to take the wind out of the home opening night crowd.

William Carrier staked the Knights to a 1-0 lead 5:01 into the contest when he skated up the left side and snapped a 30-foot shot that goaltender Martin Jones just flat out missed. It was a routine play that Jones simply failed to stop, and just like that, the Sharks were fighting an uphill battle.

Jonathan Marchessault pushed the Vegas lead to 2-0 with just under 6 minutes left in the period starting with a strong forecheck. Marchessault fought off a defender out of the right corner, but the Sharks had a chance to clear the zone. Defenseman Brent Burns tried to poke check the puck from the slot, but his weak attempt landed on Shea Theodore's stick at the blueline. Theodore stepped into a shot that Marchessault tipped past Jones for his 1st goal of the season.

The Sharks were handed a couple of opportunities to claw back into the game, when Vegas committed three penalties in the 2nd period. The Sharks power play answered the challenge by failing to generate a single shot on goal. To make matters worse, Brayden McNabb countered on Brandon Pirri's slashing penalty by putting a short-handed shot past Jones.

The short-handed tally came courtesy of more shoddy defense, which started with Burns flailing along the right wing boards in hi own zone. It was bad enough that the Sharks could escape their own zone while on the man-advantage, but they also allowed William Karlsson to strip them of the puck then fire a cross ice pass to McNabb on the left wing. NcNabb skated in and snapped a shot between Jones and the left post.

Vegas scored 88 seconds later after Pirri exited the penalty box. The Knights chipped the puck up ice past the Sharks defense. Pirri fought off Joe Thornton and put a shot off the crossbar, but the Sharks centerman skated past the goal. Trailing on the play, Pirri punched at the rebound, putting it past Jones for the 4-0 lead.

Down by four goals to start the 3rd period, DeBoer reacted by pulling Jones and inserting Aaron Dell in net. While Jones wasn't stellar, a lack of defensive support is what cost the Sharks earlier in the game, so Dell would fall victim to the same shoddy support.

A Paul Stastny tripping penalty put the Sharks on the power play for the 5th time during the game, but the power play would stumble for the 10th time this season in ten chances. Once again, the Sharks would turn the puck over on the man-advantage, and it would end up in their own net.

Mark Stone found himself skating up ice with Nosek on his left wing. The Knights forward waited out Erik Karlsson, before sliding a pass to the left post where Nosek deposited the 3rd short-handed goal of the season.

The inept special teams play has resulted in more goals for the Knights than San Jose has scored in the first two games of the season.

Barclay Goodrow would score a meaningless goal with 6 minutes left in the contest, but it was the fireworks that came after the tally that proved to be the real entertainment. Clearly frustrated with his team's performance, Marcus Sorensen crossed checked Nicolas Hague who stepped in front of the Sharks forward. It was an opportunity to blow off some of the frustration of getting their tails kicked.

When the smoke cleared, six players earned 10-minute misconducts, ending their evenings.

Game Notes:

* Defenseman Jacob Middleton was called up earlier in the day to replace Dalton Prout, who was placed on the injured reserve. Middleton may follow Prout to the IR after he was hit by Ryan Reaves.

* Erik Karlsson made his season debut after his wife gave birth to their daughter on Wednesday night. Karlsson was a -4 and did little to nothing offensively.

* Brent Burns was on the ice for three of the Knights five goals. He finished a -2 because he was on the ice for Barclay Goodrow's goal.

* Captain Logan finished the evening with 5 shots on goal, but nothing challenged Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

* Rookie Lean Bergman was the best Shark on the ice. He also recorded 5 shots on goal and skated with lots of energy throughout the night.

* San Jose finished with 35 shots, although the shot counter judge was extremely generous. San Jose rarely challenged Fleury.







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Scoring
1 2 3 T
VGK 2 2 1 5
SJ 0 0 1 1
1st period - 1, VGK, Carrier 1 (Nosek, Zykov), 5:01. 2, VGK, Marchessault 1 (Theodore), 14:09.
2nd period - 3, VGK, McNabb 1 (Karlsson, Smith), 15:22, (sh). 4, VGK, Nosek 1 (Pirri, Stone), 16:50.
3rd period - 5, VGK, Nosek, 2 (Stone), 9:10, (sh). 6, SJ, Goodrow, 1 (Ferraro, Thornton), 14:05.
Penalties
1st period - None.
2nd period - Karlsson, VGK (interference), 0:43; Pacioretty, VGK (tripping), 6:56; Ferraro, SJ (tripping), 10:20; Pirri, VGK (slashing), 14:43.
3rd period - Merrill, VGK (high sticking), 0:38; Stastny, VGK (tripping), 9:00; Meier, SJ (slashing), 9:46; Hague, VGK (10 min misconduct), 14:05; Engellend, VGK (10 min misconduct), 14:05; Karlsson, VGK (10 min misconduct), 14:05; Sorensen, SJ (roughing), 14:05; Sorensen, SJ (10 min misconduct), 14:05; Thornton, SJ (10 min misconduct), 14:05; Goodrow, SJ (10 min misconduct), 14:05;.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
VGK - Fleury 35 34
SJ - Jones 23 19
SJ - Dell 6 5
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
VGK 13 10 6 29
SJ 9 6 20 35
Power Play Conversion
VGK 0 of 3
SJ 0 of 5
3 Stars of the Game
Tomas Nosek
Mark Stone
Marc-Andre Fleury
Attendance
SAP Center - 17,562
Officials
Referees: Lee, Peel. Linesmen: Toomey, Mach.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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