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WCQF Game 5: Sharks win to see another day
Tomas Hertl and Martin Jones lead San Jose to 5-2 win
4/18/19 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks margin of error is now zero if they want to keep their season alive. Having already dropped three games to the Vegas Golden Knights in their Western Conference Quarter Finals match-up, San Jose can not afford any more let downs this season. Thursday night's Game 5 contest at SAP Center felt more like Game 1, when San Jose dictated play and skated with a resounding win. San Jose jumped on the Knights early, and managed their lead en route to a 5-2 win before a sellout crowd.

San Jose relied on a more balanced attack which kept the Knights deadly second line in check all night long. The return of Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Joe Thornton also provided a boost, by adding seasoned players who helped calm the Sharks.

It would have been easy for the Sharks to press too much and then skate past the objective. The veteran leadership helped San Jose eliminate the defensive gaffs that have seemingly bitten the Sharks time after time in the series.

Martin Jones also played his best game of the series, making not only the routine saves, but also the spectacular. Jones faced his fair share of shots early in the game, but he got past the vaunted 5 minute mark, then settled in from there.

Tomas Hertl scored 1:16 into the game when he took an Erik Karlsson at center ice and skated into the Knights zone, before uncorking a shot from the left dot that evaded Marc-Andre Fleury. Hertl used defenseman Shea Theodore as a partial screen, before firing a shot high on Fleury that caught the upper-right corner of the net.

Logan Couture pushed the Sharks lead to 2-0 at the 11 minute mark of the opening period when he jammed a loose puck home after Timo Meier raced in on net and tried pushing a puck past Fleury. Meier drove hard to the net after splitting two Knight defenders, moving the puck up to his stick with a kick of the puck that ended with a shot that buried into Fleury's right pad. The Knight's goaltender though the puck had moved over to the right side of the net, so he kicked his right skate to push over to cover the weak side of the net. He didn't realize that the puck was still situated underneath his right pad. Couture spotted it and took a whack at it, driving it over the goal line.

San Jose had all the momentum, but referee Francis Charron shifted things with a questionable high sticking call on Evander Kane with 1:43 remaining in the period.

The hockey gods were not kind to the Sharks on the ensuing power play. Riley Smith tried to pass the puck out to the left side from behind the Sharks net, but it hit Erik Karlsson in the skate, taking a 90 degree left turn toward the Sharks crease. The puck then hit Jones in the pad and made a second 90 degree turn, deflecting over the goal line with 30 seconds left in the period.

It was an unfortunate bounce, but it did not phase the Sharks.

Charron would send Braden McNabb off for holding after he horse-collared Logan Couture 7:16 into the 2nd period, but the Sharks power play would fail to convert.

Barclay Goodrow wouldn't need the man advantage to score his 1st goal of the playoffs. The Sharks forward was parked in front of the Knights net at 12:22 when Justin Braun fired a shot from the right point. Goodrow got a stick blade on Braun's shot, deflecting the shot home as he pivoted from just outside the right post.

Max Pacioretty took a tripping penalty at 13:44, but again the Shark power play was unable to get a puck past Fleury. The power play was a feeding frenzy of shots that Fleury either stopped or were denied by the bodies that defended out front.

The Sharks out-shot Vegas 14-6 in the period, but they would only bag the lone goal in the period.

After a relatively quiet first 10 minutes of the 3rd period, things got interesting in the latter half of the frame. Erik Karlsson was sent off for tripping at 10:15, setting up on the second power play of the game for Vegas.

The Knights used their limited chances quite effectively. Jonathan Marchessault converted on the mad-advantage at 11:36, carrying a puck off the left wing boards before snapping a shot from between the circles that eluded Jones. Braun was parked in front of Jones and may have distracted his own netminder on the play.

Jones made the save of the game minutes later, when he lunged to his right with a kick save that denied Smith, who tried redirecting a diagonal pass as he skated in on the left post.

That may have been the most important play of the game, because the Knights would have tied the game on the play. Instead, it fueled the Sharks who would not misfire on their third power play chance of the game.

Marchessault leveled Couture with 5:30 left in regulation to the left of the Vegas net, resulting in the extraction of some of Couture's teeth. The four on-ice officials huddled to decide on what to do, because there was no initial call on the ice. As Couture picked up as many teeth that he could gather, Charron and Gord Dwyer ruled that Marchessault was guilty of high sticking. Joe Thornton was going crazy because he wanted Couture to come out of the dressing room to show the officials his new oral void, which should have warranted a 40 minute power play.

As it turns out, the two minutes they did receive was more than enough for San Jose.

Hertl converted his 2nd goal of the night with 5:15 to play. Joe Thornton fed the puck to Joe Pavelski outside the left post. The Sharks captain tried to spin to his right to face the net as dragged the puck into a shooting position. His shot attempt deflected off Fleury and kicked out to the back past Pavelski, but Hertl was there to scoop up the rebound and snap it inside the right post for the 4-2 lead.

Knights head coach Gerard Gallant mocked Charron with a thumbs up and a smile as the Sharks celebrated Hertl's insurance goal.

Gallant pulled Fleury with 2:30 to play in an effort to fight back into the game, but Pavelski iced the game with an empty-net goal at 18:14 to cap the game's scoring.

Game Notes:

* Barclay Goodrow's goal was his first career playoff goal. It also turned out to be the game winner.

* By forcing a Game 6, it marked the 4th time San Jose has done so after trailing in a series 3-1. The last time was in the 2016 Stanley Cup Finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

* Max Pacioretty led all skaters with 8 shots on goal. Reilly Smith was second with 6 shots. Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl led San Jose with 5 shots each.

* San Jose ruled the faceoff circle, winning 33 of 52 draws (63%)

* Tomas Hertl recorded his second multi-goal game in the playoffs. He also accomplished the feat in the 2016 Western Conference Finals against the St Louis Blues.


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1 2 3 T
VGK 1 0 1 2
SJ 2 1 2 5
1st period - 1, SJ, Hertl 3 (E. Karlsson, Nyquist), 1:16. 2, SJ, Couture 3 (Meier, E. Karlsson), 11:00. 3, VGK, Smith 1 (Miller, Karlsson), 19:30, (pp).
2nd period - 4, SJ, Goodrow 1 (Bruan, Ryan), 12:22.
3rd period - 5, VGK, Marchessault 2 (Miller, Karlsson), 11:36, (pp). 6, SJ, Hertl 4 (Pavelski, Thornton), 14:45, (pp). 7, SJ, Pavelski 2 (Kane), 18:14, (en).
1st period - Kane, SJ (high sticking), 18:17.
2nd period - McNabb, VGK (holding), 7:16; Pacioretty, VGK (tripping), 13:44.
3rd period - E. Karlsson, SJ (tripping), 10:15; ; Marchessault, VGK (high sticking), 14:30.
Shots Saves
VGK - Fleury 28 24
VGK - empty net 1 0
SJ - Jones 32 30
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
VGK 12 6 14 32
SJ 6 14 9 29
Power Play Conversion
VGK 2 of 2
SJ 1 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Tomas Hertl
Erik Karlsson
Martin Jones
SAP Center - 17,562
Referees: Charron, Dwyer. Linesmen: Murchison, Devorski.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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