Four Years - Four Playoff Berths
With the eighth win in a row, the seventh win against the San Jose Sharks. The Vegas Golden Knights have punched their ticket to the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Vegas, only needed one single point to clinch the birth. They took two from San Jose, defeating the Sharks 5-2.
With Patrick Marluea’s history breaking night in the past, this game was not for the faint of heart. San Jose and Vegas got right back to their nasty ways in this meeting.
Timo Mier opened the scoring 2:38 into the game, Mier crashed to the net and found a puck that was sent to him from Joel Kellman to give the Sharks an early lead. This was Mier’s 9th goal of the season, while the assist was Kellman’s 1st.
Vegas would respond minutes later. At the 6:51 mark, Jonathan Marchessault beat Sharks rookie net-minder Josef Korenar low on his glove side to tie the game up and give Marchessault his 12th goal of the year.
The classic blunt aggressiveness that the hockey world is so used to seeing from these two squads, appeared midway through the first period. Brent Burns and Max Pacioretty found things to disagree about, resulting in two cross-checking penalties to both sides.
Burns had hit Pacioretty twice in the back along the boards on a play to the side of the Sharks net. Pacioretty retaliated with a stiff shove to Burns chest, starting a massive scrum, featuring punches with the gloves on between the teams.
Both Paciortetty and Burns faced penalties. Due to the altercation, a roar of boos would greet Burns every time he possessed the puck when he returned from the penalty box.
The four-on-four action would last not even a full minute. As Shea Theodore was called for interference on Mier, behind the Vegas net.
San Jose on a rare four on three advantage could not score. The Golden Knights took away the shooting lanes by blocking multiple shots.
San Jose’s best chance came when Dylan Gambrell sent a shot that was loose for a rebound. Noah Gregor could not get a shot off cleanly and was robbed by a diving Marc-Andre Fleury.
To round out the first frame, Marc-Edward Vlasic was sent to the penalty box for a tripping call. The Vegas power play would spill over to the start of the second period, with the score tied at 1.
San Jose killed the lay-over penalty. Yet, Erik Karlsson would be sent to the box for hooking, forcing the Sharks to kill another.
Korenar faced a tight shot on the stick side from Mark Stone, sending it away. San Jose would follow the rookies efforts with some clearing of the puck, killing the Vegas penalty.
Logan Couture would tip a puck that was sent from Burns stick and put on Fleury who made a pad-stop. The puck took a recashay straight to Tomas Hertl who had a tee’d up shot from the face-off circle, to give San Jose a 2-1 lead.
The goal was Hertl’s 14th of the year.
San Jose would find themselves in the penalty box again for an infraction on Mario Ferraro. This time Vegas would score.
Stone scored his 18th goal of the year, in a goal that was nearly identical to one that he had scored on Martin Jones the previous game. Stone, low in the crease, beat Korenar low on the glove side to tie the game up at 2.
Inside the final five minutes of the second period, Evander Kane put a shoulder into Alec Martinez. Kane was then rushed by three Knights, resulting in Alex Tuch being one of the three from the scrum to head the box for roughening.
The penalty would be killed off by Vegas. As Tuch returned to his line fresh out of the box, he fired a puck into the back of the net for a late second period goal, his 17th of the year.
Vegas took a 3-2 lead into the third period.
The final frame featured some rushes for each team in the first half of the period. Both net-minders were able to do enough to keep the game at 3-2.
San Jose saw a spinning chance from Ryan Donato to be stopped again by a sprawling Fleury. The save generated more momentum for the Knights down the other end of the ice.
Korenar faced multiple shots and had to scramble for pucks in front of him. Up until the 13:18 mark when Marchessault scored his second goal of the game beating him from the top of the faceoff circle.
Marchessault’s two goal performance rung his goal tally to 13 on the year.
San Jose would go onto another power-play with 4:44 remaining in the third period. The penalty was killed, resulting in San Jose going 0/3 on the power-play.
Korenar was then pulled for the extra-attacker with 2:17 left in the game. Marchessault forced a turnover, sent a back-handed pass to Mattias Janmark who would score his first goal as a Golden Knight.
This would conclude a dominant three-goal victory for Vegas, by the score of 5-2.
Vegas will move on to 33-11-2 on the season and will travel to Anaheim to face off with the 14-26-7 Ducks on Saturday. As for San Jose, the Sharks drop their seventh straight game and now have a 18-23-5 record.
As of now, Vegas is in sole lead of first in the Honda West Division. If the lead remains intact, Vegas could host either the Arizona Coyotes or the St.Louis Blues in the first round of the playoffs.