There were some mixed feelings heading into this game, with Vegas defenseman Nate Schmidt out week-to-week with a lower body injury. Who would possibly replace one of Vegas’ top blue-line players against their most loathed rival?
The answer came in the form of young NHL rookie Nicolas Hague. The road game against the Sharks would be his first NHL start, where he would be serving on a line with hockey veteran Deryk Engelland. Hague finished with no shots in 13:51, but received a game misconduct for being involved in a third-period melee, which is totally fun.
Despite being down one of their best defensemen, Vegas was stellar.
The entire Golden Knights defense stood strong for most of the game, and the offense was incredible as well. In the first period, it appeared that San Jose was going to start strong. They had two missed shots within the first minute. They seemed hungry ... until William Carrier got a wrist shot through the 5-hole of Sharks goalie Martin Jones.
Yikes. Martin Jones should've had this one. Very, very soft goal. pic.twitter.com/E3yJWHscIc— Knights On Ice (@knightsonice) October 5, 2019
The puck domination would become more stagnant then, maybe switching sides once or twice. Shea Theodore then set up Jonathan Marchessault for a beautiful tip-in goal, and that’s when the puck domination was truly in Vegas’ glove.
Nice redirection by Marchessault. pic.twitter.com/sirgNXwV7C— Knights On Ice (@knightsonice) October 5, 2019
The Golden Knights remained in control of the puck well into the second and third periods, when Brayden McNabb gave Vegas their third goal of the night and Tomas Nosek scored an additional two. By six minutes left in the third period, Vegas was sitting pretty with their puck handling.
A score from Barclay Goodrow in the third period resulted in some major fights, and heft penalty minutes. Marcus Sorensen kicked things off by going after rookie Hague, to which Hague’s teammates leaped to his defense.
Looks like Sorensen started the skirmish. When he put his hands on Hague, who's playing in his first game, all rules were cancelled. pic.twitter.com/E8lo9ogWOd— Knights On Ice (@knightsonice) October 5, 2019
William Karlsson, Engelland and Hague would all serve 10-minute misconducts for Vegas. Joe “Grandpa Shark” Thorton, Sorensen and Goodrow would serve 10-minute misconducts for San Jose.
It certainly was interesting to watch Hague and Engelland on a pair together. They played a great defense line, keeping the puck out of the Vegas zone for most of the shifts that they were on the ice. Hague needs the experience in the NHL to enhance his abilities and proof he deserves a permanent spot on the roster, and Engelland could be a great tutor. Perhaps we’re seeing him groomed for a passing of the torch next season?
If we’re talking about rookies, we might as well discuss Cody Glass, who too had a stellar game. Though he didn’t net any goals, he was always searching for opportunities. He played 13:53 and didn’t have a point, but really should’ve on an awesome pass to Stone in the first period.
While Vegas looked hot tonight, there were some chilly spots out on the ice, particularly with the third line of Brandon Pirri, Paul Stastny and Valentin Zykov. The chemistry like the first, second, and even fourth lines have just isn’t there quite yet it feels like. They are pushing for it, and maybe it’s still premature to tell. However, they did not have the mesh that a third line should have.
Be that as it may, as much as the Sharks were chomping at the bit, it was not enough this time. Vegas came out on top with the 5-1 victory. They now focus their sights on the Boston Bruins back at T-Mobile Arena on Oct. 8.