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Golden Knights fall 4-3 to Sharks in double OT

Updated April 28, 2018 - 10:51 pm

The hockey conspiracy theorists were out in force the past few days, pointing to the one-game suspension of Sharks forward Evander Kane as more evidence of preferential treatment from the league for the Golden Knights.

The events of Saturday evening were exhibit A against those claims.

The Knights’ Jonathan Marchessault had a goal disallowed late in the first overtime before San Jose’s Logan Couture converted on a power play in the second overtime to lift the Sharks to a 4-3 victory at T-Mobile Arena.

The Sharks snagged home-ice advantage in the best-of-seven series, which is tied at 1-1 and shifts to Northern California. Game 3 is at 7 p.m. Monday in San Jose.

“They better be ready because we didn’t show up for 45 minutes tonight,” Knights coach Gerard Gallant said. “We played a great game the other night and competed and battled. And tonight, whether we thought it was going to be easy or what we thought, I don’t know. But we didn’t show up to play our game tonight and it cost us big time. They were the better team all night.”

William Karlsson scored two goals for the Knights, and defenseman Nate Schmidt tied the game 3-3 with 6:32 remaining in regulation when he one-timed a shot from the point past Sharks goaltender Martin Jones.

Marchessault appeared to score the winner with 3:02 left in the first OT when he pounced on a loose puck and backhanded it past Jones, who was stranded out of position.

But the NHL Situation Room reviewed the play and ruled that Marchessault interfered with Jones, much to the dismay of many in the the announced record crowd of 18,671.

“They’re tough calls,” Gallant said. “We’ve seen them all year long. It went against us tonight and you move on.”

Couture scored the winner 5:13 into the second overtime on a power play after a nice cross-ice feed from Kevin Labanc.

It was Couture’s second goal of the game and came on the second power play in the second OT for the Sharks, who went 2-for-7 with the man advantage.

Defenseman Brent Burns added two goals for San Jose, which played without Kane, who was suspended for his cross-check to the face of Knights forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare during the third period of Game 1.

Timo Meier took Kane’s spot on the top line, and the Sharks tightened up defensively after allowing seven goals in the series opener.

The Knights were held to 20 shots on goal through regulation, a season low, and their lack of discipline in the second allowed San Jose to climb back in the game after Karlsson notched his second goal of the game 26 seconds into the period.

The Knights were whistled for six minor penalties in the second — they finished with a season-high 22 penalty minutes — and San Jose took advantage, scoring three unanswered goals.

“They wanted to disrupt our momentum and our tempo,” Schmidt said. “Our game is to roll our four lines over, and that’s something we couldn’t do the first two periods. We’ve got to make sure we screw the heads back on and make sure that you’re disciplined, because you can’t put this team on the power play.”

Burns cut the Knights’ lead to 2-1 with a power-play goal two minutes into the second, and Couture tied the game at 11:08 with the teams skating at 4-on-4.

Fleury stopped a bouncing shot, but instead of covering up, he casually cleared away the rebound. Defenseman Deryk Engelland lost control of the puck, and Tomas Hertl found Couture for a quick one-timer.

The Sharks went ahead 3-2 with 5:53 remaining in the second when Burns broke loose following a faceoff win. The 2017 Norris Trophy winner circled the net and tucked a wraparound past Fleury, who was knocked off balance moments earlier.

The Knights challenged for goaltender interference, but “the Situation Room confirmed that the actions of Vegas’ Colin Miller caused Meier to contact Fleury before the puck crossed the goal line.”

“I think we take things from the game and learn from it,” Knights winger James Neal said. “We weren’t as good as we should have been to start the game and we got into some penalty trouble. It was a tough flow of the game, and some guys were getting out of rhythm.”

The Knights were held without a shot on goal for 11:44 of the first period and went ahead 1-0 against the run of play while the teams were 4-on-4.

Karlsson was rewarded for his tenacious forecheck, as he forced a poor clearing attempt by Burns and then muscled Joonas Donskoi off the puck near the half-wall.

Colin Miller eventually ended up with the puck at the right point and fired a shot well wide of the net. But the rebound went to Karlsson and he slotted it past Jones from a steep angle with 2:01 remaining for his second of the playoffs.

More Golden Knights: Follow all of our Golden Knights coverage online at reviewjournal.com/GoldenKnights and @HockeyinVegas on Twitter.

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

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