Golden Knights recover to beat Sharks, tie series
Goals by Mark Stone and William Karlsson lifted the Golden Knights to a 5-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Friday night and even their Western Conference quarterfinal series at one game apiece.
Updated April 13, 2019 - 1:00 am
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Mark Stone raised his arms in celebration, but that display wasn’t enough to capture the emotion of the moment.
The Golden Knights right wing followed with a vigorous fist pump and unleashed a guttural cry before he was swarmed by teammates.
“We had a lot of different guys pull their weight in a lot of different areas,” he said.
Stone notched the go-ahead goal early in the second period, and the Knights regained their swagger along with home-ice advantage Friday thanks to a 5-3 victory over San Jose in Game 2 of the Western Conference quarterfinals at SAP Center.
The best-of-seven series continues with Game 3 on Sunday at T-Mobile Arena.
“This team has never been one to just roll over and quit and we came out there and got an early power-play goal in the second and that proved to be costly (for the Sharks),” left wing Max Pacioretty said. “That’s the way playoffs are and that’s why you have to stick with it and just worry about that next shift.”
Five players scored for the Knights, who tallied short-handed goals from defenseman Colin Miller and William Karlsson and won despite taking 11 penalties.
The Knights never trailed 2-0 in a series during their run to the Stanley Cup Final and avoided falling into that hole by winning for the third time in five postseason games here.
Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury finished with 34 saves and was aided by 25 blocked shots from his teammates.
Stone, who missed out on the playoffs last season with Ottawa, notched his third goal of the series to put the Knights ahead during a chaotic second period.
San Jose appeared to take a 4-3 lead after 51 seconds when Brent Burns’ shot sailed through traffic, but Logan Couture was penalized for goaltender interference.
On the ensuing power play, Stone won a battle in the slot for a rebound and flipped the puck over Sharks goaltender Aaron Dell at 1:31.
“At the end of the day, (Fleury’s) got the ice and he bumps him,” Stone said. “He can’t make the save, and for our power play to come back and really bear down, it was obviously a big swing.”
Karlsson split the San Jose defense and scored on a breakaway at 7:35 of the third period to put the Knights on top 5-3.
“I tried to stay patient, and it paid off,” Karlsson said. “I mean, mid-move, I was like, ‘Oh, I don’t know. I don’t know if this is going to work.’ Luckily, there was a little hole at the end. It paid off.”
The Sharks fell behind during the opening 10 minutes in eight of their final nine games in the regular season, and the Knights scored three times on their first seven shots against San Jose netminder Martin Jones.
Pacioretty found Cody Eakin alone in the slot after 58 seconds for the opening goal, and Miller put the Knights up 2-0 as part of his eventful first period.
After hopping out of the penalty box, Miller intercepted a pass in his own zone and started a 2-on-1. He then beat Jones for a short-handed goal at the 4:37 mark.
Pacioretty chased Jones at 6:11 when he carried the puck across the blue line and snapped in his first postseason goal since May 12, 2015.
“I think I add a lot to this team and I’ve shown flashes of it this year, but I don’t think it was constantly there,” Pacioretty said. “I think our line created a lot of chances, a lot of momentum and we were able to put the puck in the net.”
But the Knights’ inability to stay out of the penalty box allowed San Jose to become the first team in playoffs history to tie a game in the first period after falling behind 3-0.
Miller wiped out a Knights power play when he took a cross-checking penalty, and Logan Couture finished off a pretty tic-tac-toe passing sequence with 3:01 left in the period during the 4-on-4 play.
Tomas Hertl cut the Knights’ lead to 3-2 when he deflected Erik Karlsson’s shot on a power play 39 seconds later, and Joe Thornton redirected Brenden Dillon’s pass with 51.9 seconds remaining to tie score.
“It was ups and downs for sure,” Miller said. “The end of the period probably came at a good time with them scoring those three goals unanswered. We kind of got to catch our breath, get back to playing our game and be a little bit smarter.”
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■ Game 1: Sharks 5, Golden Knights 2
■ Game 2: Golden Knights 5, Sharks 3
■ Sunday: at Golden Knights, 7 p.m.
■ Tuesday: at Golden Knights, 7:30 p.m.
■ Thursday: at San Jose, TBA
■ x-April 21: at Golden Knights, TBA
■ x-April 23: at San Jose, TBA
1. Fleury moves up. Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury earned his 76th career postseason victory and is one win shy of tying Mike Vernon for seventh on the all-time list. Fleury also improved to 36-21 in his next start following a postseason loss.
2. Selling out. The Knights were whistled for two penalties in the opening 3:27 of the first period and were able to kill off 1:01 of a 5-on-3. Defenseman Brayden McNabb helped the cause when he threw his body in front of the net and blocked Gustav Nyquist’s shot with his right skate to preserve a two-goal lead.
3. Sharks problems. San Jose suddenly is faced with a goaltending controversy after Martin Jones was pulled for the third time in eight postseason games and the fifth time in his career against the Knights. Also, defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic blocked a shot a little more than a minute into the second period and did not return.