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Golden Knights 3, Sharks 1: Malcolm Subban has strong performance in Vegas victory

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The backup netminder with another big game in the first game of this back-to-back.

Vegas Golden Knights v San Jose Sharks Photo by Brandon Magnus/NHLI via Getty Images

The Vegas Golden Knights got a strong 37-save performance from Malcolm Subban en route to their ninth win in 13 games, a 3-1 victory against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on Sunday.

The 37 stops from the Golden Knights’ backup netminder were a season high (he made 35 on Nov. 7 at Toronto). Subban improved to 6-1-1 in his past eight starts with a .926 save percentage.

Subban, who moved to 6-5-3 on the season, stopped 19 of 20 shots in the third period.

Paul Stastny scored for the first time in 12 games. Shea Theodore and Jonathan Marchessault added goals in the third period for the Golden Knights (20-13-6), who moved back into a tie for first place in the Pacific Division with the Arizona Coyotes at 46 points.

The third line worked well down low to get Stastny on the scoresheet. Valentin Zykov won the puck battle down low, got the puck to Alex Tuch, who found Stastny in the slot.

The assist was Tuch’s 100th point in the NHL.

Logan Couture ended Subban’s shutout bid at 3:54 of the third period, tying the game at 1-1 off an outstanding cross-crease pass from Brent Burns.

That would be the only noticeable play from a Sharks defenseman on this night. Erik Karlsson had a particularly rough night, particularly from Reilly Smith. First, Smith snatched Karlsson’s ankles.

Then it was his soul. Smith corralled a bouncing puck away from Karlsson, walked in on Aaron Dell and fired a no-look pass to Marchessault for his 12th goal of the season at 16:35 of the third period to ice the game.

Dell made 34 saves and was strong once again in net for San Jose, reminiscent of his 37-save performance at Vegas on Nov. 21, but he allowed the go-ahead goal at 8:05 of the third period on Theodore’s snipe from the right circle for the 2-1 Vegas lead.

Theodore’s fifth goal of the season extended his point streak to five games (two goals, six assists), now the longest such streaks on the team. Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty’s respective six-game point streaks ended. Theodore’s five-game streak is the second longest in Golden Knights history, trailing Colin Miller (six games from Oct. 17-31, 2017).

This also concluded the Golden Knights’ dads trip, getting a possible three of four points, moving to 5-0-1 all time when the Vegas fathers accompany the squad over the past three seasons.

William Karlsson had two assists, giving him a team-high 22, and 32 points on the season. He, Stone and Pacioretty remain the only Golden Knights skaters to amass 30 points to this point.

The season series is over between the division rivals, which feels weird. Nevertheless, the Golden Knights took seven of a possible eight points this season over the Sharks; San Jose is now tied with the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings for last in the Pacific.

The importance of these four-point games is paramount, regardless of how the opposition looks to this point. The Sharks are hanging on to dear life when it comes to playoff hope, while the Golden Knights are hanging around atop the division. This was a good victory for the Golden Knights, and a good victory for the team that played in front of Subban, which was needed with Marc-Andre Fleury taking the crease tomorrow night against the Colorado Avalanche.

Merry early Christmas to everyone. And happy Hanukkah to everyone, as well.