The Vegas Golden Knights became the first NHL team to clinch a playoff berth this season with a 5-2 win over the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday night. With the win, Vegas now has 68 points on the season, four points clear of the idle Colorado Avalanche for first place in the Honda West Division.
The win was the eighth in a row for the VGK, tying the team record.
Jonathan Marchessault posted a four-point night (2-2-4) to lead the offense and Mattias Janmark scored his first goal with the Vegas Golden Knights into an empty net to cement the win.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves to secure the win, moving him to 487 in his career and now two behind tying Roberto Luongo for third all-time.
Goaltending – A
Marc-Andre Fleury was fantastic once again, making some of his highlight reel saves along the way. In particular, his first period robbery of Noah Gregor, diving to his left for a sprawling save, stands out among all. Fleury just gives the team so much confidence in net.
Defense – B+
The Golden Knights were really active tonight and the D jumped up into the play to create scoring chances on several occasions. On top of that, the defense did pretty well keeping the Sharks at bay for most of the game as far as dangerous chances go.
Forwards – A
There were so many things going right for the forwards tonight. Honestly, they could have scored eight goals on a night like this were it not for the goaltending of Sharks rookie netminder Josef Korenar. The cycle game was strong, the forecheck forced turnovers, and pucks were finding the back of the net. There was a lot to like about the game up front tonight.
Special Teams – B+
Mark Stone duplicated his power-play goal from two nights ago with a wraparound chance from the side of the net, and Vegas also worked the puck around well when they had the power play. The penalty kill was once again perfect at 4-for-4.
- After Monday’s game many comments were passed that although the VGK won, they were tired on the back-to-back game. Wednesday was a totally different game. The Golden Knights had plenty of energy and effort, just jumping all over the Sharks from the start. One of the better efforts of the season from the team.
- Max Pacioretty’s assist on Mark Stone’s power-play goal was his 600th career point. Stone immediately grabbed the puck for Pacioretty, and after the game said he expects that puck to collect dust because Pacioretty will score plenty more points in the NHL.
- Vegas became the first NHL team to clinch a playoff berth this season with the win and has made the playoffs all four years of the franchise’s existence.
- Good for Mattias Janmark, who scored his first VGK goal into an empty net at the end. While you may think that’s an easy goal to score, it’s anything but and also shows Pete DeBoer’s trust in Janmark’s defensive game already. You’re not out there protecting a lead at the end of the game if you don’t have the chops. Janmark finished with a goal and an assist.