The Vegas Golden Knights pulled off an impressive 7-3 road win against the San Jose Sharks Monday night in a back-and-forth scoring spree, picking up their ninth win in 10 games and pulling within seven points of the Sharks for second place in the Pacific Division standings.
The game was chock-full of goals, and it started almost immediately when Logan Couture beat Malcolm Subban just 30 seconds into the game.
Welp, this is about as bad a start as you could ask for. Sharks score immediately. pic.twitter.com/D6zhaEU7r8— Knights On Ice (@knightsonice) March 19, 2019
It was not the start Vegas was looking for, but it took just three minutes and seven seconds for William Karlsson to net the equalizer, taking advantage of a lucky bounce for his 20th of the season.
Karlsson actually lost control of this puck, but Logan Couture helped him out by batting the puck right back onto his stick. pic.twitter.com/35tb9dtktr— Knights On Ice (@knightsonice) March 19, 2019
Mark Stone stunned the crowd when he gave Vegas a 2-1 lead on a pretty passing play just over two minutes later.
GOAL. And now Mark Stone gives Vegas the lead. Quite the eventful start to this one. pic.twitter.com/poN1F9SLLl— Knights On Ice (@knightsonice) March 19, 2019
The goal extended Stone’s point streak to six games, and it was one of three Vegas power-play strikes in the effort, which was a breath of fresh air for a power play that has struggled all year and that was particularly ineffective against Edmonton the night before.
But the see-saw five-goal opening frame continued when Joe Thornton made it 2-2 nearly 10 minutes into the period. It was the Sharks’ second goal on five shots, but Jonathan Marchessault would have the last laugh as he chased Martin Jones at 12:24 of the eventful first, giving Vegas a 3-2 lead through 20 minutes.
Paul Stastny‘s power-play goal at 12:24 of the second period was the lone goal in the middle frame, but it marked the first time in 42 games that the Knights scored two power-play goals in the same game.
GOAL. Paul Stastny scores on the power play to make it a 4-2 game. pic.twitter.com/5ikih04dyK— Knights On Ice (@knightsonice) March 19, 2019
It ultimately proved to be the game-winner, but neither team was finished lighting the lamp.
In fact, Reilly Smith found twine just 43 seconds into the third period, tallying his fourth point of the game and giving Vegas a three-goal lead. It was the first four-point game of Smith’s career as he became the third Golden Knight to accomplish the feat (Marchessault became the fourth later in the game).
Reilly Smith is the third @GoldenKnights player to record four points in a game, joining William Karlsson (Dec. 31, 2017 vs TOR) and Shea Theodore (Dec. 19, 2017 vs. TBL). #NHLStats #VGKvsSJS pic.twitter.com/syl31741RU— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 19, 2019
Couture took advantage of San Jose’s fifth power play of the game when he brought the Sharks within two goals at 10:55 of the third.
GOAL. Logan Couture scores his second of the game to get San Jose within a pair of goals. pic.twitter.com/HDs38YKDEd— Knights On Ice (@knightsonice) March 19, 2019
Shortly thereafter, San Jose came extremely close to cutting the deficit to one on a two-on-one opportunity, but Subban came up with a huge save on the Gustav Nyquist attempt.
My oh my, this is a beauty. pic.twitter.com/DbtUNSMTIj— Knights On Ice (@knightsonice) March 19, 2019
With just over five minutes in the frame, Marchessault found himself in alone on a clear-cut breakaway, but it was Aaron Dell’s turn to make a game-saving stop.
What an effort from Dell. Robs Marchessault. pic.twitter.com/ymYYWCrMIQ— Knights On Ice (@knightsonice) March 19, 2019
Dell made a few more big stops before Marchessault sealed the win with an empty-net goal with 2:21 remaining in the game. It was Marchessault’s fourth point of the night and fourth goal in 24 hours as he recorded his second straight two-goal game. Cody Eakin scored his 19th goal of the season on a late power play as the Knights took this one by a final score of 7-3.
For the second night in a row, the Knights’ offense came through in a big way, scoring a combined 13 goals in the back-to-back set.
However, it was a particularly impressive night for the top-line trio of Marchessault, Karlsson and Smith, who arguably played their best game of the season as they combined for 10 points on the night.
Even Smith can't believe that no-look pass from Wild Bill. pic.twitter.com/hgvaE3Dgal— Knights On Ice (@knightsonice) March 19, 2019
Subban got the nod once again as Marc-Andre Fleury remains out of commission with a lower-body injury. Subban got off to a rough start, but he came up big when it counted, making several clutch and timely saves in the second and third periods.
In addition to his third-period save on Nyqusit, Subban’s second-period save on Kevin Labanc when it was a 3-2 game was perhaps his best of the night.
Subban with one of his biggest stops of the night. He's getting settled in now. pic.twitter.com/zwXGhyXKLM— Knights On Ice (@knightsonice) March 19, 2019
Subban stopped 16 of 17 shots in the third period and made 36 saves on 39 shots throughout the contest, finishing the game with a .923 save percentage and his second win in two nights.
But in fairness to Subban, Vegas came up short in the possession battle for most of the game, managing Corsi For percentages of 35.71 and 36.11 in the second and third periods, respectively, as well as a CF% of 42.86 for the game; San Jose also held an 8-4 edge in High-Danger Corsi in the second and third periods combined.
Much like in last year’s second-round playoff series, Vegas struggled with discipline against the Sharks. But from a numbers perspective, Vegas’ special teams had a very strong game, converting at 50 percent on the power play (3-for-6) and going 4-for-5 on the penalty kill.
Vegas is now seven points behind San Jose and eight points behind Calgary in the Pacific Division standings. Plus, the Knights improved their lead over Arizona to nine points since the Coyotes suffered a 4-1 loss to Tampa Bay earlier in the evening.
Vegas is now 9-1-0 since acquiring Stone at the trade deadline, and tonight’s win improves the Knights’ record to 7-1-0 in March. Next up is a meeting with the Jets Thursday at T-Mobile Arena, though the Knights will return to San Jose to close out the month.