SAN JOSE, Calif. — William Karlsson scored one of the most memorable goals of the season against the Sharks last month.
The Golden Knights center went one better Monday.
Karlsson scored 8:17 into overtime as the Knights came away with a 4-3 victory at SAP Center to regain control of their Western Conference semifinal series.
“It’s probably the nicest one,” Karlsson said.
Colin Miller and Jonathan Marchessault had power-play goals in the second period, and Reilly Smith also scored for the Knights, who lead the best-of-seven series 2-1.
Game 4 is Wednesday at 7 p.m.
“It was a tough, hard-fought game between two very good teams,” Knights coach Gerard Gallant said. “We were a little disappointed to give up a two-goal lead in the third period, but we talked about going out there in overtime and winning the hockey game.
“I thought we competed well and we had some chances on those two power plays, but we kept working and we were able to get the win.”
Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury finished with 39 saves, including a dazzling glove save on San Jose’s Logan Couture moments before Karlsson’s goal.
Karlsson, who scored on a between-the-legs move against San Jose on March 31 in a game that clinched the Pacific Division, streaked down the right wing and ripped a shot past goaltender Martin Jones on the blocker side.
”I just saw the opportunity to get a good scoring chance and to take the shot,” Karlsson said. “It was a pretty good shot.”
San Jose finished with a 42-33 edge in shots on goal but needed two goals in the final 12:11 of the third period to force overtime.
Evander Kane, who returned from a one-game suspension for cross-checking Knights center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare in Game 2, wristed a shot that beat Fleury to the glove side at 7:49.
Tomas Hertl tied the game with 1:57 remaining on a scramble in front after the Knights failed to clear their own zone.
“I think we have a great attitude in here and we don’t break down when they tie it up,” Karlsson said. “We keep going and I think that’s a big strength of our team.”
Gallant decided to shake up his forward lines after the Game 2 double-overtime loss. Tomas Tatar, who didn’t play the past four games, was inserted on the third line with Cody Eakin and David Perron in place of Ryan Carpenter.
But following a sluggish start, it was the Knights’ top two lines that turned around the game in the second period, scoring three unanswered goals.
James Neal found Miller sneaking in the backdoor for a power-play goal that tied the score 1-1 at 9:40 of the period, and the Knights took advantage of a roughing penalty to Hertl to take the lead.
Alex Tuch sent a beautiful cross-ice pass to Jonathan Marchessault, and he one-timed it past Jones for his second goal of the playoffs with 6:51 remaining in the second.
The Knights went 2-for-6 with the man advantage against the Sharks, who had the No. 2 penalty-killing unit in the league during the regular season.
“The second period was good,” Marchessault said. “We skated and we got some power plays, and that’s because we played our game. If we do that on a consistent basis, I think we’re able to close the game in three periods.”
Reilly Smith then gave the Knights a 3-1 advantage 1:17 later off a fantastic feed from Karlsson. With his back to the play, Karlsson redirected the puck across the goal mouth to Smith, who backhanded it into an open net for his first goal of the playoffs.
“He’s got eyes in the back of his head sometimes,” Smith said of his linemate. “He’s a great player and he makes big plays.”
The Knights spent the past two days talking about the need to get off to a fast start but were outplayed for the majority of the first period and a half.
San Jose finished the first period with a 16-10 advantage in shots on goal — it was 14-4 before a Knights power play with 5:15 remaining in the period — as Fleury helped them weather the storm.
Fleury turned away Hertl on a partial breakaway with 12 minutes left in the first and made a series of stops with about eight minutes remaining after San Jose pinned the Knights in their own zone.
The Sharks finally broke through at 6:59 of the second period to take the lead. After Mikkel Boedker’s shot was blocked, the rebound went to Chris Tierney, and he sent a perfect cross-seam pass to Timo Meier, leaving Fleury stranded.
“I think we’re getting better every game in the series,” Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. “Our game is building. I think we’re realizing what we can do that works against them. This series, there’s a lot of hockey left to be played.”
1. Controversial call. The Golden Knights unsuccessfully challenged for goaltender interference on Evander Kane’s third-period goal that made the score 3-2. It was the second straight game the Knights had a coach’s challenge denied by the NHL’s Situation Room.
2. Firing low. The Sharks had a clear strategy to shoot low on Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury in hopes of creating rebounds. Fleury spilled a couple of pucks in the first period, but the Knights defensemen cleared away the danger each time.
3. Sharks switches. San Jose coach Peter DeBoer was forced to change his lines after Joonas Donskoi was ruled out with a lower-body inury. Chris Tierney centered the Sharks’ No. 1 line, while Barclay Goodrow slid into Tierney spot at the pivot on the third line.
David Schoen Review-Journal