The Vegas Golden Knights were supposed to be coming hot against the San Jose Sharks Thursday night after a three-game winning streak. Knights fans were hoping that this series would be all wrapped up in a cute little bow and we could focus on our Round 2 opponents.
The Sharks had a blatant message: don’t count your Easter eggs before they hatch.
We have been spoiled the last three games by getting goals in the first 90 seconds of the game. Unfortunately, the Sharks decided they wanted a bite of that action, and Tomas Hertl squeaked the puck past Marc-Andre Fleury to draw first blood of the evening.
Logan Couture followed up with his own goal in the second period, but Reilly Smith was having none of it. He managed to split the difference against Martin Jones, finally putting Vegas on the board.
The score was 3-1 just past the middle of the third period, when Jonathan Marchessault saw an opportunity (and Jones’ open legs), and took it. He brought renewed hope for a Vegas win by putting them within one goal of tying the Sharks.
Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Marchessault had a high stick on Couture (which resulted in Couture losing some teeth), putting the Sharks on the power play. Hertl took advantage of the situation and put the Sharks up 4-2. Joe Pavelski followed up with his own goal with just under two minutes to go in the third, and the Golden Knights fell to the feeding frenzy in the Shark Tank 5-2.
This was not Vegas’ best performance, especially with how outstanding they were the last three games. This game reeked of Game 1 smell. There were plenty of shots that could have been goals, but the puck-handling was just not there tonight.
Jones lost track of the puck a few times, leaving an opportunity for a Knight to score. Vegas must have lost sight of the puck themselves, as they weren’t able to capitalize on their chances.
Then there’s the question of our defense, especially on the third goal by Barclay Goodrow. Jon Merrill and Ryan Reaves were right there, but neither one of them were watching Goodrow. That led to the open chance for a goal, which the Sharks obviously achieved.
But don’t fret, Medieval Maniacs. There is still a ray of hope. Vegas leads the best-of-seven series 3-2, and the action returns to home ice at T-Mobile Arena on Sunday. Maybe the Golden Knights will even achieve a new feat: winning a playoff series in home territory.