If the regular season was any indication, the Golden Knights-Sharks Western Conference semifinal series that starts Thursday at T-Mobile Arena should provide some fireworks.
The teams combined for 25 goals in their four games, with the Knights going 3-0-1. Two games went into overtime, and both team’s stars played major roles.
William Karlsson, who had a career-high 43 goals, scored four against San Jose. One of them was his highlight-reel, short-handed winning goal March 31 when he went between his legs on a breakaway, eluded a poke-check from goaltender Martin Jones and flipped the puck over Jones’ shoulder.
On the Sharks’ side, all-star defenseman Brent Burns scored twice and had three assists in the four games.
Here’s a look at the season series:
Knights 5, Sharks 4 (OT), Nov. 24 at T-Mobile Arena — The Knights jumped to a 2-0 lead, built it to 4-1 6:55 into the second period and chased goaltender Jones. Aaron Dell stopped 17 shots, allowing the Sharks to rally, as goals from Burns, Chris Tierney and Mikkel Boedker tied the score after two periods. Jonathan Marchessault won the game 1:21 into overtime after Burns broke his stick, giving Marchessault an opening to shoot.
Knights 5, Sharks 3, Feb. 8 at San Jose — The Knights were at the end of a six-game trip and coming off an emotional loss in Marc-Andre Fleury’s return to Pittsburgh, his former team. The Sharks took a 1-0 lead when Joe Pavelski beat Fleury 4:40 into the game. The Knights took a 2-1 lead on goals from Erik Haula and Karlsson, but the Sharks scored two power-play goals and led 3-2 after two periods. Brayden McNabb scored the tying goal, and James Neal then gave the Knights a 4-3 lead with 4:50 left. Marchessault closed the scoring with an empty-net goal. Fleury made 35 saves.
Sharks 2, Knights 1 (OT), March 22 at San Jose — An early goal from Tomas Tatar failed to stand up, as the Sharks had a territorial edge in play, putting 44 shots on Malcolm Subban in the Knights’ net. Burns scored 3:27 into the second period to tie the score, and Logan Couture won the game 39 seconds into overtime. Subban, who was playing for an injured Fleury, made a career-high 42 saves. The Knights picked up a point in OT to become the first expansion team to reach 100 points in its inaugural season.
Knights 3, Sharks 2, March 31 at T-Mobile Arena — The final regular-season home game was highlighted by a pregame ceremony to honor the Oct. 1 Strip shooting victims with a “Vegas Strong” banner containing the names of the 58 who died. The victory also clinched the Pacific Division title. But most people will remember Karlsson’s goal, which came 8:35 into the third period when he was killing a penalty and went on a breakaway, put the puck between his legs and beat Jones for what would be the winning goal.
William Karlsson with a DISGUSTING goal of the year candidate 😷 pic.twitter.com/xUGwI1HekK
— Hockey Central (@HockeyCentraI) April 1, 2018