This game was Oskar Dansk’s first NHL start since Oct. 21, 2019, and it’s his first win since Oct. 27, 2017. The goaltender had 25 saves on 29 shots (an .862 save percentage), including nine stops on 10 high-danger shots. He faced 2.74 expected goals against.
An unfortunate bounce after Dansk misplayed the puck late in the third allowed San Jose to force overtime, though this was not a strong performance by the Knights. However, Vegas took care of business in extra time as Max Pacioretty scored just 1:25 into overtime.
Nearly six minutes into the game, Reilly Smith opened the scoring on a wide-open net on a feed by William Karlsson:
Smith is all alone on the backdoor after three Sharks converge on Karlsson.— Danny Webster (@DannyWebster21) March 6, 2021
Assists to 71 and 81 on 19's first goal in 10 games. There will be no @J15Emerson jinx on this day.#VegasBorn pic.twitter.com/ZJIRyyVGch
Smith hadn’t scored a goal in 10 games. The line of Karlsson, Smith and Jonathan Marchessault had a good shift before that goal, and it results in the first lead of the game.
Seventy-five seconds later, Chandler Stephenson picked up his seventh goal of the season on a rush:
It was a wild play, but Mark Stone picked up his 20th assist of the season with the one-handed play, and Stephenson got it high.
Vegas didn’t have great possession in that first period, with three shots for and six against, but the Knights controlled quality. Vegas allowed just 0.25 expected goals against to 0.36 for in that first period.
The Golden Knights would pick up a 3-0 lead just 2:57 into the second period as Pacioretty scored from the blue line:
It followed a solid forechecking shift by the fourth line.
It was Pacioretty’s first road goal of the season and 11th this year. It led to Martin Jones being pulled in favor of Devan Dubnyk less than 23 minutes into the game. Jones was pulled after facing eight shots.
Then the Sharks came roaring (swimming?) back.
San Jose would score two goals in the second period, as Brent Burns scored after hitting the crossbar on the power play and Matt Nieto scored on an odd-man rush.
The second period was a mess for the Knights in more ways than one. They had just 0.12 expected goals for to 0.75 against at 5-on-5. They took two penalties in the first 10 minutes of the period, giving San Jose some momentum.
The Vegas power play was also a problem throughout the game. They had just six shots and 0.49 expected goals in eight minutes, with zero high-danger chances. When an NHL team is given eight minutes on the power play in a game, they need to come close to scoring, and it never felt like Vegas did.
The Golden Knights did not play disciplined hockey. They took five penalties throughout the game, giving up three high-danger chances and 0.81 expected goals against in 10:39 of shorthanded time. It was the first time in 13 games the Golden Knights had taken five or more penalties.
The third period opened with a fight between Ryan Reaves and Kurtis Gabriel. Gabriel has played two games this season, both against the Golden Knights.
Just 26 seconds later, Alex Tuch did this:
Tuch had to get a shift with the fourth line with Reaves in the box, and beats Dubnyk for his sixth goal in six games.— Danny Webster (@DannyWebster21) March 6, 2021
Carrier and Kolesar with the assists on Tuch's 10th.#VegasBorn pic.twitter.com/azVJPYKTxk
It was Tuch’s sixth goal in the last six games. Both assists went to the other members of the fourth line, including the primary to William Carrier. Reaves would get hurt later in the game on a hit against Gabriel.
The Sharks would answer Tuch’s goal with a tally by Logan Couture six minutes later. Dansk was run into by Evander Kane on the play, but Vegas did not challenge the goal.
With just 1:07 left in the game, the Sharks were able to even things up when Dansk went to clear the puck but accidentally hit it into a crashing Kevin Lebanc, who scored.
I don't even think 'unlucky' is the word here. Sharks are a minute from stealing a point. pic.twitter.com/E1vpTseh8n— Danny Webster (@DannyWebster21) March 6, 2021
That sent the game to overtime at 4-4.
Pacioretty would score his second goal of the game and third overtime goal this season to win it.
Despite a strong start, this was a sloppy performance by nearly everyone on the Golden Knights’ side.
Just two forward lines had an expected-goal share over 50 percent, and one of them (Tuch, Carrier and Keegan Kolesar) played just 1:06 together. The other was Tuch, Cody Glass and Nicolas Roy. Tuch was therefore somewhat unsurprisingly the leader in expected-goal share (64.43 percent).
The Golden Knights themselves finished the game with a 46.15 percent shot share at 5-on-5 and a 37.27 percent expected goal share. At even strength those numbers fell to 45.24 percent and 31.89 percent.
Everything can be better, which leaves room for improvement in the rematch as the teams finish up the back-to-back set tomorrow night in San Jose.