SAN JOSE, Calif. — Malcolm Subban treated himself to a late birthday present Sunday. The fact it came with his father, Karl, in attendance made it even sweeter.
Subban turned away 37 of 38 shots a day after he turned 26, and the Golden Knights pulled away from rival San Jose in the third period for a 3-1 victory at SAP Center in the final game of the season series.
“Just trying to give my team a chance to win every night and do what I can,” Subban said. “It was a great birthday present, obviously, and dad’s trip. A good way to end the trip for sure.”
Shea Theodore and Jonathan Marchessault scored in the third period to help the Knights extended their point streak to five games (4-0-1) and keep pace with first-place Arizona in the Pacific Division. Each team has 46 points.
The Knights finished with three of four points on the Fathers Trip and are 5-0-1 all time with the dads in tow.
They play Colorado in the second game of a back-to-back before the start of the three-day holiday break.
Paul Stastny scored his first goal since Nov. 27 when he converted Alex Tuch’s pass with 2:29 remaining in the second period to put the Knights ahead 1-0. The assist was Tuch’s 100th career NHL point.
San Jose’s Logan Couture buried a pass from Brent Burns at 3:54 of the third period to tie the score at 1, but Subban made 19 stops in the third and outdueled San Jose counterpart Aaron Dell.
Subban is 6-2-1 with a 2.52 goals-against average and .920 save percentage in nine appearances since Nov. 25.
“We played real well, especially the first half of the game. I really liked our game. We didn’t give them a whole lot,” coach Gerard Gallant said. “They had a push at the end, which you knew they were going to and they had a lot of opportunities, but that’s when (Subban) really made some key saves.”
Here’s what stood out from the Knights’ win:
1. Postman rings three times
Defenseman Nic Hague must have had a magnet in his hockey pants during the first period, as the rookie couldn’t avoid metal in search of his first career goal.
First, Hague swooped in to collect a rebound off William Carrier’s deflection and his shot skimmed off the crossbar with 6:26 remaining in the period.
Less than two minutes later, he moved in from the right point and beat Dell only to see the puck go off both goal posts and stay out.
Hague and defenseman Jon Merrill remain the only players on the active roster yet to score.
“I think he’s been preparing a big (celebration) for a long time,” Theodore said of Hague. “I think we might get maybe a Tiger Williams stick ride all the way down the ice or something.”
2. Theodore heats up
After a slow start offensively, Theodore has points in five straight games (two goals, six assists), which is the second-longest point streak by a defenseman in franchise history. Colin Miller had a six-game streak Oct. 17-31, 2017, according to the NHL.
Theodore put the Knights ahead 2-1 at 8:05 of the third period with his fifth goal. He leads Knights defensemen in scoring and is on pace for a career-high 42 points.
“I’ve just been trying to join a little bit more and try to create more opportunities,” Theodore said. “It was a great drop pass by (William Karlsson) on that play, and it’s good to see them go in.”
3. Sharks schadenfreude
The loss sent San Jose into a tie with Los Angeles for last place in the Western Conference and left the organization facing some difficult questions heading into the holiday break.
Do the Sharks wave the white flag and break up a group that was supposed to be a Stanley Cup contender? Is Bob Boughner the long-term answer as coach?
Ottawa fans are certainly rooting against San Jose. The Senators own the Sharks’ 2020 first-round pick as a condition of the Erik Karlsson trade.
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