Golden Knights hit 100, but fall to Sharks in overtime

Updated March 23, 2018 - 12:16 am

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Insert the “100” emoji here.

Yes, the Golden Knights dropped a 2-1 overtime decision to the surging San Jose Sharks on Thursday at SAP Center when Logan Couture scored 39 seconds into overtime.

But thanks to goaltender Malcolm Subban and a strong effort from their penalty-killing unit, the Knights (47-21-6) hit the century mark in points for the season.

“It’s a huge number. Definitely satisfied and happy with that,” coach Gerard Gallant said. “What do we got, eight games left in the season? So let’s keep adding on to the points, but it’s definitely a huge feat for our group so far.”

The Knights are the first team in NHL history to reach 100 points in their inaugural season. The previous benchmark for fewest seasons to reach 100 points is three, set by the Edmonton Oilers in 1981-82.

Despite the OT loss, the Knights hold a seven-point lead over San Jose (42-23-9, 93 points) in the Pacific Division with eight games left and are closing in on a playoff berth.

The Knights need four points to guarantee they will finish ahead of Los Angeles and St. Louis.

“You never want to be happy when you lose, that’s for sure,” Knights forward James Neal said. “We’ll take the point, but I think we let one get away. I thought we played a great first period, and after that I thought we chased the game a little bit. But, that being said, (Subban) gave us a solid chance to win the game.”

Subban, starting in place of the injured Marc-Andre Fleury, finished with a career-high 42 saves in his first start since Feb. 2. His previous best was 41 against Nashville on Dec. 8.

Subban made 13 saves while the Knights were short-handed, including a key stop on Joe Pavelski with about 12 minutes remaining in the third period, to help kill all six of San Jose’s power plays.

“I just tried to get my hands going, track the puck as well as I could,” Subban said. “It was huge. There were a lot of shots that didn’t get through. The guys made some huge blocks when I couldn’t see the puck.”

In the overtime, Sharks goaltender Martin Jones made two stops on Jonathan Marchessault before Couture beat Subban with a backhander to extend San Jose’s winning streak to six games.

Despite being outshot 13-11 in the first period, the Knights generated the best scoring chances of the opening 20 minutes and took the lead after less than four minutes.

Moments after Shea Theodore hit the post with a wrist shot from the point, Marchessault found Tomas Tatar cutting through the slot, and he backhanded it past Jones for his third goal — and second in as many games — since being acquired by the Knights at the trade deadline.

The Knights nearly went up 2-0 midway through the first when Alex Tuch walked down the slot after a terrible turnover by San Jose’s Kevin Labanc, but he missed the net from close range.

And Jones was forced to make a right-pad save late in the period when Cody Eakin won a race with Labanc to a loose puck and cut in alone.

But the Knights were on their heels for most of the second period, failing to generate a shot on goal for the opening 8:53.

San Jose tied the game at the 3:27 mark when a strong shift by the Sharks’ fourth line was capped by Brent Burns’ wrist shot from the point through traffic.

“The guys played hard, they played well,” Gallant said. “The first period I thought was excellent. We played a great first period, then San Jose took over a little bit in the second period.”

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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