Updated April 26, 2018 - 10:56 pm
It took the Golden Knights four games and almost 14 periods to score seven goals in the first round of the playoffs.
They needed considerably less time to reach that total in the second round.
The Knights scored four times in the first period, and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury posted his third shutout of the postseason Thursday night in a 7-0 thumping of San Jose before an announced crowd of 18,444 at T-Mobile Arena.
Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals is 5 p.m. Saturday, and the Sharks could be without wing Evander Kane, who was assessed a five-minute major and game misconduct early in the third period.
The league is expected to review the play Friday.
“We’re happy with the way we played all night,” Knights center Erik Haula said. “(Fleury) was great when he needed to be, and we were treating the puck well, crashing the net and doing the right things.
“We feel good about our game. We can’t have a letdown next game. We’re going to have to play the same way, play hard, play fast and physical and keep doing the right things.”
Jonathan Marchessault finished with a goal and two assists, and linemates William Karlsson and Reilly Smith each had three assists.
The line of Haula, James Neal and Alex Tuch combined for three goals and three assists, as seven players scored for the Knights.
San Jose goaltender Martin Jones, who gave up four goals in a four-game sweep of Anaheim, allowed five goals on 13 shots Thursday before he was replaced by Aaron Dell in the second period.
“Honestly, the fans helped out a lot,” Tuch said. “I didn’t know how it was going to be not playing in nine days, but as soon as they yelled “Night” during the national anthem, I knew we were in for a good game.”
Fleury finished with 33 saves, including 17 in the first period when the Sharks had three power-play opportunities. He made a stop on Kevin Labanc in the final minute to preserve the shutout.
The Knights, who hadn’t played since April 17 at Los Angeles, showed no ill effects from their lengthy layoff, scoring on three of their first five shots.
Cody Eakin deflected Brayden McNabb’s shot from the point for his second goal of the playoffs 4:31 in, and 26 seconds later, Haula put the Knights ahead 2-0.
Tuch carried the puck into the zone with speed and left it for Haula, whose wrist shot appeared to fool Jones after it was partially deflected by the stick of Sharks forward Logan Couture.
Marchessault notched his first career postseason goal at 6:02 when he snapped a shot past Jones to the blocker side before Tuch weaved his way through four Sharks at the blue line and made it 4-0 with a power-play tally at 11:43.
“I knew they were going to try to stand me up at the blue line, so I just kept my head up and tried to make a good play and I was able to break through,” Tuch said. “I’d gone on Jones a couple times high glove, and I think he thought I was going high glove, so I went blocker side.”
Defenseman Shea Theodore finished off a beautiful tic-tac-toe passing sequence 3:28 into the second period to chase Jones.
Miller and Neal, who had a goal disallowed late in the second period, scored power-play goals in the third.
The Knights finished 3-for-10 with the man advantage.
“It’s one game. We’re fortunate enough to be able to put a lot in the back of the net, but it just comes down to one win at home,” Smith said. “These are important wins, but you move on to the next one.”
1. Fleury moves up. Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made his 120th postseason appearance Thursday to pass Dominik Hasek and Tom Barrasso for 11th all time in career playoff games by a goalie.
2. Scoring barrage. The four goals by the Knights in the first matched their season high for most scored in a period. They did it four times during the regular season, the last coming March 18 against Calgary in the second period.
3. Frustrated Sharks. San Jose lost its discipline and gave the Knights 10 power plays. Sharks wing Evander Kane received a five-minute major and a game misconduct for his cross-check to the face of Knights center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare 3:25 into the third period.
David Schoen Review-Journal