The Golden Knights entered tonight’s game riding a seven-game win streak but saw that streak come to an end at the hands of the San Jose Sharks, who capitalized on two goals in the span of just 39 seconds in the third period to take this one 3-2.
With the win, the Sharks leapfrog Vegas in the standings and now sit one point behind Calgary for the Pacific Division lead.
The Knights jumped out to a quick lead just 1:34 into the first period thanks to the good ol’ trustworthy fourth line. Ryan Reaves crunched a Shark against the boards, grabbed the puck and fired it on net; Tomas Nosek buried the juicy rebound easily.
Despite taking a 1-0 lead into intermission, it wasn’t a great period for the Knights. Aside from Vegas’ early goal, San Jose was slowly starting to build momentum and tilting the ice in their favor, but Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside all 10 shots he faced.
While the first half of the second period wasn't too exciting, it was great to see Brandon Pirri with a few promising scoring chances, especially since he had been reassigned to the AHL and subsequently recalled in the same day. Pirri had another solid game, generating scoring chances and recording seven shots and an assist.
Brandon Pirri gets a quality chance on the 3-on-2. pic.twitter.com/m6sWYAfw5U— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) January 11, 2019
Another nice chance for Pirri. pic.twitter.com/QQmT4JfCHU— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) January 11, 2019
However, after dominating the Sharks for the first 15 minutes of the second period and limiting them to just one shot on goal, Vegas surrendered the lead as Tomas Hertl walked in and rang a shot off the post and in to knot things up at 1-1.
With two big points in the standings on the line, the two teams entered the third period tied at 1-1.
Thanks to a beautiful screen by Ryan Carpenter, Jon Merrill floated a wrist shot past Martin Jones early in the third period for his first goal of the season, giving Vegas the 2-1 lead. Before tonight, Merrill was the only player on the ’ roster who hadn’t scored this season. Now that Valentin Zykov has officially slotted into the lineup, though, he becomes the only one without a goal.
However, Vegas would be unable to hold that lead. With 12 minutes left in the third, Melker Karlsson buried a rebound off a shot from Brent Burns to tie the game once again. Just under 40 seconds later, a Hertl shot bounced off Joonas Donskoi and into the net to give the Sharks their first lead of the game.
GOAL. Sharks take the lead. Looks like this was redirected by Donskoi. pic.twitter.com/W1gKe1ifiN— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) January 11, 2019
The Knights successfully killed off a Fleury delay of game penalty late in the frame and then had an opportunity to even things up with a power play late in the third. Despite a couple of good chances, though, the Knights weren’t able to convert before the final horn, ultimately falling to the Sharks 3-2.
The game went back and forth but was ultimately fairly evenly played. The Knights might have had the edge in terms of driving play and overall scoring chances, but in the end the Sharks capitalized on their scoring opportunities; the Golden Knights did not.
The loss marks the end of a seven-game win streak for Vegas as well as a 10-game point streak. Fun fact: this was Vegas’ first regulation loss at home since Nov. 16.
It’s also the first time in eight games that the Golden Knights gave up more than two goals.
The Knights will look to start a new winning streak when they take on the Blackhawks Saturday in Chicago.