The San Jose Sharks took a beating in Game 4 last night against the Vegas Golden Knights, who dominated them in a 5-0 shutout. While they did outshoot the Knights in the first period and gave a good offensive effort in the second period, it was ultimately their focus on Ryan Reaves that cost them the game, and probably the series.
The Golden Knights were able to continue their streak of quick goals in the first period, thanks in large part to Sharks goalie Martin Jones, scoring their first goal just over a minute into the first period. After that, however, the Knights were on the defensive for the remainder of the period. The Sharks outshot the Knights 16 to 7, but Marc-Andre Fleury – being the wall that he is – showed the Sharks that they were going to have to be nearly perfect on offense to get a goal past him. So, out of frustration, the Sharks turned their attention to Reaves.
Reaves made himself a target in Game 4 after spending the last three games chirping and fighting with Shark players. Clearly he got in their heads, because the Knights were able to draw several power play opportunities (nine, to be exact) from stupid penalties taken by the Sharks out of frustration. In fact, the second power play goal was a direct result of a penalty against Barclay Goodrow, who threw Reaves to the ice after Reaves landed a clean hit on him.
“We know what he is. He calls himself the lion in the jungle,” Sharks forward Joe Pavelski said about Reaves. “He just tries to bait a few guys in and he enjoys it while he’s doing it. Give him credit. For us that can’t happen.”
Reaves did “bait a few guys,” and it worked. The head games, and most likely lack of confidence in their goalie, shifted the Sharks’ attention in the third period from winning to retaliation. But it backfired. The Golden Knights are all still in one piece, unafraid, and on their way to winning the series.
So I guess Ryan Reaves helped answer the age-old question: who would win in a fight between a lion and a shark? THE LION…every time.