It was not pretty. But it is not supposed to be when a team plays nine games in 16 days. The Vegas Golden Knights let a 4-2 third-period lead slip away and defeated the San Jose Sharks 5-4 via shootout.
On Saturday, the Golden Knights faced a Dallas Stars team that was returning from a road trip. The Golden Knights had an extended stay in Dallas before the game. On Sunday, the Golden Knights found themselves on the opposite side of things in facing a Sharks team that was in Vegas for an extended stay with Vegas on the road.
“It’s the way the schedule falls, I guess.” Eichel on the circumstances of the back-to-back. “Different situations and different games present different challenges. It’s important for us to understand that when we have an opportunity to get two points in a hockey game we do that.”
“That’s why you got to be careful over-analyzing a win or a loss.” Coach Bruce Cassidy on the circumstances of the back-to-back games. They (Sharks) had good energy like we did in Dallas. All you can do is fight through the early moments.”
The start was less than ideal with the Sharks scoring on the game’s first shot just 26 seconds into the first period. Mario Ferraro shot through traffic and Jiri Patera was unable to fight through the screen to track the puck.
It took until five minutes into the second period for the Golden Knights to even the game up. Jonathan Marchessault took a pass from Ben Hutton from around the boards which led to a two-on-one. Marchessault beat Kaapo Kahkonen to tie the game. Chandler Stephenson his second goal in as many games on the power play to give the Golden Knights ta 2-1 lead.
Brayden McNabb opened the third period scoring 1:43 in off a nice snapshot from the slot. The pass from Jack Eichel set up the goal. Mike Hoffman brought the Sharks within one goal on what was meant to be a pass that bounced off Korczak’s skate. Marchessault scored his second goal of the game off a nice pass from Stephenson.
There is no way the Golden Knights could give up a multiple-goal third-period lead to the Sharks, right? Wrong.
Calen Addison made it a one-goal game with just under four minutes remaining. Hoffman scored with just 39 seconds remaining to send the game to overtime..
Neither team had much going in overtime and a shootout was needed to find a winner.
Jiri Patera saved both shots he faced. Eichel and Marchessault scored in the shootout to award the Golden Knights the extra point.
Sunday’s win improved the Golden Knights to 19-5-5 (43 points).
First star: Marchessault, two goals and the shootout winner
Second star: Hoffman, two goals
Third star: Stephenson, goal and assist
Ferraro from Burroughs and Granlund 0:29
Marchessault from Hutton 5:34
Stephenson (PP) from Pietrangelo and Stone 15:44
McNabb from Eichel and Korczak 1:43
Hoffman (PP) from Granlund and Kahkonen 3:56
Marchessault (2) from Stephenson and Whitecloud
Addison from Bailey and Zadina
Hoffman (2) from Barabonov
Eichel and Marchessault scored
The heat map shows the importance of getting to the dirty areas in front of the net and the importance of defending well in front of your goalie. All four of the Golden Knights regulation goals were from in-tight whereas the Sharks goals came from different areas of the defensive zone.