The Vegas Golden Knights defeated the San Jose Sharks 5-4 on Wednesday at T-Mobile Arena. It was Vegas’ fifth win against the Sharks, fourth win in a row, and fourth win in front of Vegas fans. The Golden Knights have pulled into a tie for the best point percentage in the league with the win.
Vegas overcame a 3-1 deficit in the third period with a four-goal final frame. Two of those goals came on the man advantage.
The narrative coming into this game was the team being down not only Chandler Stephenson and Alex Pietrangelo — pre-existing injuries, as Pietrangelo has been missing since March 8 and Stephenson missed the game on March 15 — but Alex Tuch as well.
Tomas Jurco suited up for his Golden Knights debut as William Carrier was brought back into the lineup. Jurco played just 7:55 with one shot on goal and a giveaway. Carrier played 10:18 with two shots and two rebounds created. Carrier also drew the penalty that led to the game-winning goal.
The Golden Knights scored first, as Shea Theodore lasered a shot into the net just 3:45 into the game:
Vegas would score just the lone goal in the first period, despite three power-play chances. The power play created four shots in 5:15 in the first period and 0.33 expected goals for. Across the entire game, the Golden Knights had 13 shots and 1.3 expected goals on the power play. They had seven shots in 1:58 in the third period.
The Sharks would come back with two goals in less than two minutes in the second period, as Matt Nieto scored at 6:21 and Mario Ferraro scored at 7:57. The Sharks would get one more goal from Kevin Labanc at 15:07. The second period was the first time the Sharks led the Golden Knights with Marc-Andre Fleury in net in almost two years.
It's been a long time since #SJSharks have held a lead over Marc-Andre Fleury: A 2-1 OT victory in Nov. 2019, when Peter DeBoer was still San Jose's head coach— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) March 18, 2021
Vegas’ defense gave up 1.49 expected goals against and 15 shots at 5-on-5 in the second period. The Knights couldn’t clear their zone and, more significantly, couldn’t seem to clear their crease. All three of the Sharks’ goals in the second period — and all four in the game — came from the high-danger area as the defense seemed to break down where it is needed most.
Fleury, after a first period where he made 10 saves on 10 shots, finished with 29 saves on 33 shots, facing 3.80 expected goals against. He made eight saves on 12 high-danger shots and was perfect in both medium- and low-danger opportunities.
The Golden Knights looked to tie the game after the Sharks scored two goals, as Ryan Reaves put the puck in for what would have been the first time this season. However, the goal was overturned after a quick review for goaltender interference.
But just under seven minutes into the third period and just five seconds into a power play (as San Jose put too many men on the ice), Cody Glass scored his fourth goal this season (which have all come on the man advantage):
Less than 30 seconds later, Mark Stone went to the box for five minutes after the first scrap of the night, taking Tomas Hertl with him. Jonathan Marchessault would follow (with Stone still in the box) with Logan Couture.
Nicolas Hague, meanwhile, let a shot go from the point and found the back of the net, also on a slapshot:
Hague was provided a screen by Reilly Smith on the goal.
After two of the Golden Knights’ top-six wings went to the box for fighting, Reaves actually did score his first goal of the season, completing this game’s bizarro-world feel:
In another bizarre twist, the traditional fourth line of Reaves, Carrier and Tomas Nosek was the best line in the game for Vegas. In 5:25 at 5-on-5, the trio had an 85.71 percent Corsi and 82.97 percent expected goal share. They played the third most of any line on Vegas’ side.
Reaves’ tally was the first of Nosek’s primary assists in the game. The second was on the power play to set up the eventual game-winning goal a little over two minutes after Reaves’ deflection:
Evander Kane would make the game 5-4 a minute later, but the Sharks were denied a comeback of their own.
A defenseman either scored or assisted on every goal in the Golden Knights’ 5-4 victory, as Theodore picked up three points (one of every kind with a goal, primary assist and secondary assist) in 25:21. He extended his point streak to five games.
The Golden Knights next play the Los Angeles Kings in LA on Friday night. Robin Lehner, who returned to the Golden Knights’ bench in this game, could enter the net for that one.