The Vegas Golden Knights were on a nine-game winning streak heading back to T-Mobile Arena, but the team has now lost two in a row since returning home. On Tuesday night the San Jose Sharks came from behind to defeat Vegas 5-2, including four goals in the third period.
The first period of play saw both sides trade some chances, with the the San Jose Sharks tallying 6 shots on goal to the Vegas Golden Knights’ 11. It was the last chance of the period which would give Vegas their first lead of the game.
With just seconds remaining, Jack Eichel fired home a pass from Chandler Stephenson to make it 1-0. Eichel started the chance by forcing a turnover in the neutral zone outside of Vegas’ offensive zone, and after bringing the puck in he was able to work his way toward the faceoff circle and he was more than ready to shoot. The goal was his 10th of the season, and the 400th point of his NHL career.
San Jose got on the board for themselves toward the end of the first half of the second period. In a bit of a broken play, Erik Karlsson put a shot on goal from the point, and Luke Kunin collected the rebound and put it back on goal just out of the reach of a sliding Logan Thompson.
Vegas would retake the lead with just over 4:00 to play in the period when Jonathan Marchessault picked up his 7th goal of the season. Marchessault made a defensive play to create an 2-on-1 chance, and instead of passing the puck he held onto it and eventually found just enough room to beat James Reimer.
After two periods of play the Golden Knights held a slight edge in shots on goal, 20 to 18, and looked to lock things down in the third period. Unfortunately, the Sharks struck early to tie things up at 2-2. Matt Nieto took advantage of the fact that three Vegas players were behind the goal line, and he drove to the net and put one in on his backhand.
San Jose would take the lead at 17:12 of the third period when Timo Meier scored on the power play. The Vegas Golden Knights had just been on a power play of their own, but Reilly Smith took a tripping penalty to put Vegas on the penalty kill. Logan Couture (18:09) and Mario Ferraro (19:44) both added empty net goals, and a four-goal third period ultimately led the Sharks to victory.
Ultimately this is a situation in which special teams ruled the day. San Jose went 1 for 2 with the man advantage, and the Golden Knights went 0-for-3. It didn’t help that the Golden Knights gave up a regrettable goal early in the third period, but the team had more than enough time to regroup.
The two empty netters certainly make the game seem more lopsided than it was, but the team failed to execute. The Sharks out shot Vegas 29 to 26, including a margin of 23 to 15 over the final two periods of play. The Golden Knights are off on Wednesday, and will look to rebound vs. the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday before heading on the road again.