Golden Knights grab series lead over Sharks with 5-3 victory

Updated May 4, 2018 - 11:58 pm

At different points of the season, coach Gerard Gallant asked his team to elevate its level of play for a big game. And each time the Golden Knights responded.

They did it for the emotional home opener in October.

They did it for the final home game of the regular season with a chance to clinch the division title.

And they did it again Friday.

Alex Tuch scored twice and the Knights withstood a third-period rally from San Jose to earn a 5-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals at T-Mobile Arena.

The Knights held serve in the best-of-seven series and lead 3-2 with Game 6 at 4:30 p.m. Sunday at SAP Center in San Jose, California.

“Honestly, I thought our team did really well, especially in the first two periods,” Tuch said. “We kind of slacked off a little bit in the third and gave them too many chances, too many shots on net, but I thought we finished real strong.”

The Sharks scored three goals in a span of 6:09 in the third, leaving the announced record crowd of 18,693 to sweat out the final minutes.

After a scramble in front following Marc-Andre Fleury’s stop on Dylan DeMelo’s drive from the point, Mikkel Boedker dug out the puck and flipped it in with 4:16 remaining to cut the Knights’ lead to 4-3.

Jonathan Marchessault scored an empty-net goal with 1:21 left to clinch the victory.

Kevin Labanc and Tomas Hertl also scored in the third for the Sharks, who trailed 4-0 at one point in the period.

“In the playoffs, you’ve got to play 60 minutes. We only played 50,” Gallant said.

Unlike Game 4 when San Jose was able to limit time and space, the Knights found more room through the neutral zone on Friday.

And after Gallant called out a handful of his forwards for their lack of a forecheck in Game 4, the Knights’ forecheck led directly to James Neal’s goal late in the first period.

“Everyone’s first couple shifts had to be really hard, short, smart,” Tuch said. “Get pucks deep and put as much pressure on the team as possible. We were physical. We were playing well and, honestly, it was a very good game by everyone.”

Tuch put the Knights ahead 2-0 at 4:52 of the second period when he jammed in a rebound on a power play after Sharks goaltender Martin Jones stopped Reilly Smith’s point-blank shot. The Knights went 1-for-3 with the man advantage and have six power-play goals in their three victories.

The rookie added his second goal at 8:36 of the third period, his fourth of the playoffs, redirecting a pass from Cody Eakin on the rush.

Jones, who blanked the Knights on 34 saves in Game 4, was pulled in favor of Aaron Dell with San Jose trailing 4-0.

“I think we’ve been good at regrouping and letting things go and refocusing and having a big game,” Neal said. “You work all year to have home-ice advantage, and we play well at home. Use that for us and I thought coming home, we were focusing this morning and it carried over into tonight. I thought we had a great start to our game and a great second period, too.

“We just can’t lay off the gas. We’ve got to continue to play forward, play an honest game and we’ll learn from it.”

Fleury, who allowed 11 goals in the past three games after giving up three through the Knights’ first five playoff games, finished with 27 saves.

Erik Haula also scored from a steep angle in the second period to give the Knights a 3-0 advantage.

“At home, we always have great support from our fans,” Fleury said. “Last game didn’t go our way. I don’t think it was maybe our best game in the playoffs. But everybody stepped back into it the way we wanted tonight, and I think it showed. We were fast, and things came a little better for us.”

Gallant made three lineup changes after the Knights were shut out in Game 4, inserting Oscar Lindberg and Ryan Carpenter up front and Luca Sbisa on defense.

The Knights responded with a strong start, outshooting San Jose 15-7 in the first period, and finally were rewarded with three seconds remaining in the period.

David Perron, who returned to his customary spot on the second line, spun away from Sharks defenseman Brent Burns at the half-wall and fed Shea Theodore at the point. Theodore’s shot pinballed off the Sharks’ Logan Couture and went right to Neal, who potted his third goal of the playoffs.

“Every game’s a must win, and at times in this series, we kind of got away from that, especially in Game 4,” Tuch said. “We didn’t come out as strong and let simple plays get to us. I thought we came out tonight and we had 20 guys working really hard. We all played hard, and it was a strong game by everyone.”

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

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

Golden Knights Videos
Golden Knights Head Coach Gerard Gallant Press Conference
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant talks live at City National Arena about the Stanley Cup Final.
George McPhee talks about the Golden Knights run to the Final
Golden Knights general manager George McPhee talked to the press the day after the Knights advanced to the Stanley Cup Final.
Fleury, Reaves, Engelland On Western Conference Win
Golden Knights Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, Defenseman Deryk Engelland and Forward Ryan Reaves discuss the Knights heading to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Golden Knights On Western Conference Win
The Golden Knights react to their Western Conference Final win against the Winnipeg Jets.
Golden Knights beat the Winnipeg Jets - By the Numbers
Fun facts and stats from the Golden Knights win in the Western Conference Final.
Golden Edge: Knights Make It To Stanley Cup Finals
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond recaps the Golden Knights game five win against the Winnipeg Jets. The win for the Knights puts the team in the Stanley Cup Finals where they will face the Lightning or the Capitals.
Golden Edge: Knights fans cheer team on from Toshiba Plaza
Zac Pacleb went out to the Golden Knights watch party outside of T-Mobile Arena and got the reaction from the fans.
Gerard Gallant talks before Game 5
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant talks to the media ahead of Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals.
Golden Edge: Knights One Game Away From Series Win
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond and Review-Journal reporters Ed Graney and Adam Hill go over the Golden Knights 3-2 win against the Winnipeg Jets.
Gerard Gallant Reacts To Game Four Win Against Jets
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant reacts to the Golden Knights game four win against the Winnipeg Jets.
Golden Knights On Game Four Win Against Winnipeg
Golden Knights players react to their game four win against the Winnipeg Jets.
Tomas Nosek On First Playoff Goal
Golden Knights Forward Tomas Nosek talks about his first playoff goal.
Golden Knights On Game Three Against Winnipeg
The Golden Knights react to their game three win against Winnipeg at home.
Golden Knights' Cody Eakin On Preparing For Game Four
Golden Knights Forward Cody Eakin talks about preparation for game four against the Winnipeg Jets.
Gerard Gallant Talks About Eakin, Game Four Pressure
Gerard Gallant goes over the Golden Knights preparing for game four against the Winnipeg Jets.
Golden Knights’ Fleury tickles Wheeler’s ear during Game 3 scrum
Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury tickled Jets' Blake Wheeler during a scrum in Game 3. The scrum occured behind Vegas’ net with 2:34 left in the second period of the Golden Knights’ 4-2 victory over Winnipeg on Wednesday night Wheeler, whose helmet was off and had his back to the goalie, somehow seemed unfazed. The Golden Knights lead the Western Conference final series 2-1, and host Game 4 on Friday night.
Golden Edge: Knights, Fleury step up in Game 3
Bryan Salmond, Ed Graney and Adam Hill break down the Golden Knights 4-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets, including a pair of big performances from Marc-Andre Fleury and James Neal.
Gerard Gallant talks about Game 3 win
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant talks about the Golden Knights' 4-2 win in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals.
Golden Knights talk about 4-2 win in Game 3
Alex Tuch, Erik Haula and Marc-Andre Fleury talk about the Golden Knights' win in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals.
James Neal talks after his 2-point performance in Game 3
James Neal talks about Game 3 in which he had a goal and an assist.
Golden Knights talk about what they're hoping for in Game 3
Ryan Reaves, Jonathan Marchessault, James Neal, Brayden McNabb and Marc-Andre Fleury discuss what they learned from the first two games of the series as well as what they're hoping for in Game 3.
Golden Edge: Knights know they must start fast in Game 3
Zac Pacleb talked to the Golden Knights after they returned from Winnipeg ready for a quick start in Game 3.
Gerard Gallant talks after optional skate
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant talks about his assessments from the first two games of the Western Conference Finals.
Golden Knights talk about Game 2 win
Jonathan Marchessault, Marc-Andre Fleury and James Neal talk about the team's 3-1 win in Winnipeg
Gerard Gallant talks about his team's Game 2 win
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant talks to the media after the team's 3-1 win.
Golden Edge: Knights tie the series with a Game 2 win
Bryan Salmond, Ed Graney and Adam Hill recap the Golden Knights 3-1 win in Winnipeg.
Voices of Golden Knights players welcome visitors at McCarran airport
Four Golden Knights players will start delivering recorded messages this week as part of the “Voices of Vegas” program at McCarran International Airport.
Knights players discuss changes heading into game 2 against Winnipeg
Erik Haula, James Neal and Jonathan Marchessault discuss what changes need to happen in order for the Knights to tie the series with Winnipeg.
Gerard Gallant on game 2 against Winnipeg
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant talks about what Knights need to improve on heading into game two against Winnipeg.
Gerard Gallant and Deryk Engelland talk about Game 1
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant and defenseman Deryk Engelland discuss the Golden Knights' loss to the Jets in Game 1.
Golden Edge: Knights fall to the Jets in Game 1
Bryan Salmond, Adam Hill and Ed Graney discuss the Golden Knights flat start in the Western Conference Finals.
Winnipeg Jets On Game Seven Win Against Predators
The Winnipeg Jets react to their 5-1 win against the Nashville Predators.
Station Casinos offers free wagers on Golden Knights to win Cup
Station Casinos will offer free bets on the Vegas Golden Knights to win the Stanley Cup. The locals casino company announced a promotion offering free wagers ranging from $5 to $250 on the team who wins hockey’s most coveted trophy. Thousands of invited holders of Station’s Boarding Pass loyalty card will receive an offer by mail to swipe their cards Monday at kiosks at seven properties. A winning ticket could cash for up to $1,000. The Golden Knights are now the 4-1 co-favorites with the Nashville Predators to claim the NHL championship.
Vanderburg Elementary cheers on the Golden Knights with mascot Chance, Golden Aces cheerleaders
Students at Vanderburg Elementary wrote an original song for a #KnightUp contest from the Vegas Golden Knights. They won the contest and hosted Knights mascot Chance and the Golden Aces cheerleaders for a pep rally. Over 300 students came together to cheer on the Knights as they head into their fourth playoff game.
Golden Knights use fitness to grab 2-0 series lead
A day after beating the Kings 2-0 in double overtime, Golden Knights players credited their conditioning. "Your body is tired, but your mind is still racing," said forward Reilly Smith. "The crowd was unbelievable." A season-high gathering of 18,588 at T-Mobile Arena helped inspire the Knights to victory. "This is why we put in so much extra work all summer long," said defenseman Jon Merrill. "For a game like that." The series continues with Game 3 at Staples Center on Sunday night.
Knights success far exceeds LVCVA's tourism goals
Several months ago, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority set out to market the city as the sports capital of the world. With the addition of the Golden Knights and the Raiders, LVCVA saw the perfect opportunity to do so. The Knights' success and current Stanley Cup playoff run has resulted in a marketing marriage with Las Vegas that has been far more successful than anyone could have imagined. This season, the Knights have managed to unite the community and made hockey fans around the country take notice. “The Knights, in my mind, really put the exclamation point that we’re the sports capital of the world, not only what they’ve done on the ice in this historic season but how they brought the community together." Lisa Motley, director of sports marketing and special events for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Professional sports have been a staple for Las Vegas for decades with championship boxing matches, PGA golf tour events and the National Finals Rodeo. But big-league teams kept their distance from Nevada, due to lingering fears of sports betting somehow influencing games. "Las Vegas stands for something much more extensive and expansive now than what it once did" David Carter, executive director of the University of Southern California's Marshall Sports Business Institute
Smith Glad To Be Back In Lineup
The Golden Knights forward missed 15 games with an upper-body injury, (Steve Carp/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hunt Said Buses Are Where Hockey Team Unity Gets Fostered
The Golden Knights defenseman was fortunate to have avoided any accidents while riding the bus in his hockey career. (Steve Carp/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Saskatchewan Native Brayden McNabb On The Humboldt Bus Tragedy
The Golden Knights defenseman knows the area well where the junior hockey team’s bus collided with a truck Friday and left 14 people dead. (Steve Carp/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights raise banner honoring Oct. 1 shooting victims
Golden Knights raise banner honoring Oct. 1 shooting victims. On a night when the Golden Knights were looking to lock up the Pacific Division title and secure a championship banner, the team unveiled a banner of its own Saturday. The banner honors the 58 victims of the Oct. 1 Strip shooting. Knights majority owner and chairman Bill Foley and general manager George McPhee also were on the ice, along with the family of shooting victim Neysa Tonks.
Golden Knights playoff tickets go on sale Monday
The Golden Knights clinched a playoff spot Monday night, and now officials are revealing how fans can get tickets. The hottest tickets in town are going on sale Monday morning on the Golden Knights website. There will be less than 1,000 tickets made available for public sale at 10 a.m. Monday. Tickets will only be sold on a single-game basis. Are you planning to go to any Golden Knights playoff games?
Fleury notches milestone as Golden Knights stun Flyers 3-2
Marc-Andre Fleury became just the 13th goalie to reach 400 wins in his NHL career. Fleury stopped 38 shots and led the Golden Knights to a 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers Monday night. Others in the 400-win club are Martin Brodeur, Patrick Roy, Terry Sawchuk, Jacques Plante, Tony Esposito, Glenn Hall and current contemporaries Roberto Luongo and Henrik Lundqvist. “It’s a nice number to reach and all the guys in front of me I have great respect for and it’s cool to be part of that list,” Fleury said. Fleury played his entire career with the Pittsburgh Penguins, before being picked by the Golden Knights in the 2017 expansion draft.
Rookie Whitecloud Anxious To Learn About Life In Nhl
The former Bemidji State defenseman was in Buffalo Saturday but did not play for the Knights vs. the Sabres. (Steve Carp/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jon Merrill glad to be back in Newark
The Golden Knights defenseman had played for the New Jersey Devils before joining the Knights. (Steve Carp/Las Vegas Review-Journal )
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like