So, uh, yeah. That wasn’t good. The Vegas Golden Knights lost 4-0 against the San Jose Sharks in Game 4 and, from top to bottom, looked subpar against the boys in teal.
Vegas had done fine against San Jose’s depth in Games 1-3 of the series, but they folded against it in Game 4 allowing four different goal scorers for the Sharks — Marcus Sorensen, Joonas Donskoi, Tomas Hertl and Joe Pavelski.
Sorensen’s goal had some— let’s call it illegal activity, in the moments before the puck found twine, but this is a clean effort from the goal scorer himself:
Marcus Sorensen opens the scoring. What an effort to give San Jose the lead. pic.twitter.com/N13c3VgUzh— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) May 3, 2018
After Donskoi’s goal where Brayden McNabb accidentally screened Fleury, Hertl did this:
It's 3-0 now. Sharks go for yet another wraparound and it pays off. Tomas Hertl with the score. pic.twitter.com/BlPCwozyTs— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) May 3, 2018
Pavelski eventually scored on the power play, but that was long after the game stopped being competitive.
There were chances for the Golden Knights, of course, but after that game, one with that final scoreline, it’s hard to focus on the positive. So why not lean into the negative?
Starting in net for the Knights, Marc-Andre Fleury had his first bad game of the postseason. He made saves on 30-of-34 shots, posting an .882 save percentage in the process. Those aren’t prime Fleury numbers. Especially when considering that, across the ice, Martin Jones went 34-of-34 on shots faced, putting on a Fleury-like performance of his own.
The forwards couldn’t get anything going. The Golden Knights went 0-for-5 on the power play, passes weren’t connecting, they got stuck in the neutral zone too many times and gave the puck away far too often. The only category the Golden Knights bested the Sharks in was hits.
The defensemen were a step behind all night and they allowed the Sharks to get to too many rebounds off of Fleury saves. While Shea Theodore prevented two different 2-on-1 chances, the Knights shouldn’t have been in that position in the first place.
The Sharks were able to generate pressure in front of the net, and that allowed them to score three of their goals. The other was the Donskoi accidental screen. The Knights have to be better at clearing the crease out, and making sure that the Sharks aren’t getting those high-danger chances, of which San Jose had 15.
After the first period, the Knight barely controlled the puck. That’s not how you get back into a game, especially when the team is down two goals. The Knights did not look good at any point in this game. That’s a major factor in the shutout and in getting squashed by the Sharks.
The Golden Knights have to be better than this. They’ve been better than this. For the first time this postseason, this team is finally facing adversity. They had chances to win every other game in this series, but they had no chance in this one.
Vegas has to come home and play strong.