59°F
weather icon Mostly Cloudy

Knights’ Fleury puts frustrated Sharks on brink of elimination

Updated April 17, 2019 - 12:55 am

Before he danced through a pack of Sharks and seemingly all of Silicon Valley, before he made like Steph Curry with a puck and went coast to coast across ice, crossing over, faking this way, shifting that way, finishing with a reverse layup into a different sort of net, Shea Theodore previewed things to come.

“It’s more about how we want to play well, how we want to get up 3-1 in the series,” said the Golden Knights defenseman following a Tuesday morning skate. “We know they’re going to come hard. No team wants to go down 3-1. This is a huge game in the series.

“We don’t want to go back to (San Jose) 2-2. When you’re in this position, you want to take advantage of it. You want to keep things where they are.”

Which is this: The Knights stand 60 minutes from moving on in these Stanley Cup playoffs, having beaten San Jose 5-0 before a frenzied 18,567 fans at T-Mobile Arena, taking that 3-1 lead in a best-of-seven quarterfinal series they can end in Game 5 on Thursday night.

That will take place at the SAP Center and yet I’m not sure the venue at this point would alter what seems an inevitable conclusion to the series. The Knights haven’t trailed in three straight games and appear squarely in the heads of a Sharks side that is as frustrated as new UNLV basketball coach T.J. Otzelberger was fired up while ringing an arena siren as the puck dropped to begin things.

Talk about a Mountain (West) basketball of energy.

Otzelberger went hard at that thing.

Sure, things can still change in the series. Switches can be flipped. Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh were swept out of the first round, for goodness sakes. Things are never really over until a handshake line is formed.

And even then, I’m guessing it won’t be once Ryan Reaves meets Evander Kane.

A major reason things are close to ending: Nothing separates playoff teams like the skill of goaltenders, and right now the Knights hold a larger advantage in that area than most any series going. They weren’t very good at all over the first two periods Tuesday, despite leading 3-0, except for one fantastic effort.

Marc-Andre Fleury was brilliant, now ranked seventh in career playoff wins with 78.

But while Fleury can steal a playoff game, Martin Jones can barely stay in them any more, having been pulled yet again Tuesday. It’s the sixth time overall and fourth in the playoffs over two seasons and 17 starts that the San Jose goalie has not lasted an entire game in this particular matchup.

This might be where the inevitability part comes in. Jones surrendered just two goals Tuesday, including when he received no help from teammates as Theodore danced and pranced and shifted through the pack for his goal.

It almost seemed an act of desperation from San Jose coach Peter DeBoer this time, replacing Jones with Aaron Dell. A last gasp at trying to change for the sake of change, DeBoer’s way of finding something, anything to get his team going.

The opposite is true for Fleury, who in stopping all 28 shots secured free donuts for the community with his shutout.

“Donuts are good,” Fleury said. “The more, the merrier. (San Jose) is a good team. It’s not over, obviously. It was a big game for us tonight. The guys were great, blocking shots. We just have to go into (Game 5) and play our game and focus on the first period. Don’t think too far head. Just focus on playing the right way. Just play the way we’re playing.”

The Knights were better in the third period and it’s assuredly a good omen — winning a playoff game 5-0 when the other guys are more aggressive for 40 minutes — should Vegas advance and face the winner of Calgary-Colorado.

The Sharks, meanwhile, are an undisciplined side teetering on the precipice of elimination.

This thing just feels close to its finish.

“All it takes is one game the other way,” said Knights forward Max Pacioretty, who had two goals and two assists. “So we can’t get too caught up in it.”

He’s right. Switches can be flipped. Crazy things happen fast. Tampa Bay is already on summer vacation.

Difference is, the Knights have Krispy Kreme’s most popular celebrity in net.

Big, big difference.

Contact columnist Ed Graney at egraney@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4618. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Golden Knights Videos
Golden Knights and Henderson make deal on new facility - VIDEO
Henderson City Council unanimously approved a lease agreement with the Vegas Golden Knights to build and operate an indoor ice hockey facility in downtown Henderson, Tuesday evening. ( Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Kelly McCrimmon Gets Promoted to Golden Knight General Manager - Video
The Vegas Golden Knights have announced that Kelly McCrimmon has been promoted to General Manager of the team, effective September 1, 2019. Regarding his new role, McCrimmon will represent the Golden Knights at the NHL's General Managers Meetings and will be the point of contact for other league GMs.
Golden Knights Say an "Awful Call" Cost Them the Series - Video
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant and Golden Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault believe that an "awful call" by the officials cost them game 7.
Golden Knights Fans Watch Game 7 at T-Mobile - VIDEO
Golden Knights went through a roller coaster in game 7 which lead to the Knights loss 5-4 in overtime.
Sharks & Golden Knights fans fired up for Game 7
Ahead of Game 7 in San Jose, Sharks and Golden Knights fans get hyped for the game in the fan zone at SAP Center.
Golden Knights prepare for Game 7 in San Jose - VIDEO
Vegas Golden Knigths players and the head coach talk about their mindset ahead of facing the San Jose Sharks in Game 7 on the road at the SAP Center.
Knights' Gallant Calls DeBoer a "clown" - VIDEO
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant calls Sharks coach Pete DeBoer a "clown" and says his comments are a little "unclassy" for him in response to being called the master chirper for the Knights.
Golden Knights fans father outside T-Mobile Arena waiting for game 6 against the Sharks
Golden Knights gather outside the T-Mobile Arena ready to watch game 6 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the San Jose Sharks.
Knights aim to close out Sharks series at home - VIDEO
The Vegas Golden Knights players and head coach Gerard Gallant spoke about what needs to be done ahead of Game 6 at the T-Mobile Arena to clinch the series. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gerard Gallant talks ahead of Game 6
The Golden Knights coach talked about his team’s upcoming game with the San Jose Sharks after Saturday’s practice.
Coach Gallant Speaks to media about game 5 against the Sharks - VIDEO
Golden Knight's coach Gerard Gallant speaks at City National Arena following thursday's game 5 against the San Jose Sharks.
Golden Knights Fans Watch Game 5 At Henderson Pavilion - Video
Golden Knights fans gather at the Henderson Pavilion to watch game 5 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the San Jose Sharks. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fans prepare for Game 5 of the Golden Knights-Sharks series
Golden Knights and Sharks fans took part in pregame festivities at the SAP Center in San Jose ahead of Game 5 of the playoff series.
Golden Knights Fans Land in San Jose - VIDEO
Four Golden Knights fans who traveled from Las Vegas talk about the experiences they've had in San Jose with fans and the police ahead of Game 5 and give their predictions for the final score of the game.
Shea Theodore says he's trying to be a threat in all phases - VIDEO
Vegas Golden Knights Defenseman Shea Theodore says he's trying to elevate his game in all phases and his teammate Alex Tuch talks about Theodore's growth as a player.
Knights preparing to play a "desperate" Sharks team on the road
The Vegas Golden Knights could close out their first playoff series on the road against the San Jose Sharks when Game 5 takes place at the SAP Center. The team says they're going to have to play their best to defeat a "desperate" opponent.
Coach Gallant speaks after practice, as the Golden Knights prep for Game 5
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant speaks to media after the team's open skate.
Sharks Coach: I think our emotions got away from us a little bit
Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer and center Joe Pavelski say the team needs to hold their emotions in check going forward. Pavelski talks about the Ryan Reaves effect.
2019 NHL Awards set for Mandalay Bay Events Center on June 19
During the 2018 NHL Awards in Las Vegas, tribute was paid to first responders and survivors of the Oct. 1 shooting by a handful of Vegas Golden Knights. NHL Chief Content Officer Steve Mayer said that's why the league is moving the show to the site of the tragedy. The Mandalay Bay Events Center will host the ceremony on June 19th.
Ryan Reaves says Joe Thornton's Hit was "Gutless" - Video
Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves says Sharks' forward Joe Thornton's hit on Tomas Nosek was "gutless." Thornton has been suspended for one game (game four on Tues., April 16) as a result of the hit.
Ryan Reaves Finally Throws Down with San Jose's Evander Kane - Video
Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves says the fight between him and Sharks' forward Evander Kane was nine years in the making. Spectators finally saw the two battle it out in game three of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Ryan Reaves Finally Throws Down with San Jose's Evander Kane - Video
Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves says the fight between him and Sharks' forward Evander Kane was nine years in the making. Spectators finally saw the two battle it out in game three of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Golden Knights rookie team coach Rocky Thompson on Rookie Faceoff
Golden Knights rookie team coach Rocky Thompson discusses team's 7-6 win over Colorado in the Vegas Rookie Faceoff
Fleury's newborn son attends Game 3 - VIDEO
Marc-Andre Fleury's newborn son and his wife Veronique were in attendance at the T-Mobile Arena during game 3. Fleury talks about having his family there to support him.
Sharks and Knights players get physical during game 3 - VIDEO
Several fights broke out during game 3 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs between the Golden Knights and Sharks. Capping off the skirmishes was an intense showdown between Ryan Reaves and Evander Kane.
Golden Knights Fans Gather At T-mobile To Watch Game 3 Of The Playoffs - Video
Golden Knights fans gather outside of the T-Mobile arena to watch game three of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Knights GM says it was important for the team to sign Nikita Gusev
Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee says it was important for the team to sign Russian standout Nikita Gusev. The Knights announced they had signed the forward to a one-year, entry level contract on Sunday. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Marc-André Fleury on flamingo
Marc-André Fleury on flamingo
Golden Knights Watch Party For Game 2 Of Sharks Series - Video
Golden Knights fans gather at Top Golf to watch the second game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the San Jose Sharks.
Gallant addresses the media after practice following a 5-2 loss
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant addresses the media after practice following a 5-2 loss to San Jose in Game 1 of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. (Ben Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gallant on lineup
Golden Knights Fans Gather Downtown For First Round of Playoffs - Video
Golden Knights fans gather downtown to watch the first game of the playoff series against the San Jose Sharks.
Golden Edge Mailbag - April 10, 2019 - VIDEO
Golden Knights reporters Ben Gotz and Adam Hill answer your burning questions.
Gallant on Golden Knights lineup against Sharks
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant on lineup against the San Jose Sharks for Game 1 of the first round in the Stanley Cup playoffs. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights Prepare for Playoffs - Video
Golden Knights players Shea Theodore and Jonathan Marchessault feel that the team is both mentally and physically prepared to take on the Sharks in round one of the NHL Playoffs.
Golden Knights sign defenseman Jimmy Schuldt to a one-year contract
The Golden Knights have signed free agent defenseman Jimmy Schuldt to a one-year, entry level contract. Schuldt comes to the Golden Knights after graduating from St. Cloud State University, where he lead the Huskies to a regular-season conference title and the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Golden Knights letting playoff mentality set in - VIDEO
As the Vegas Golden Knights finish out their season, the team and head coach Gerard Gallant talk about where their mindset is, how they are preparing for the playoffs and their win over the Edmonton Oilers.
Golden Knights Lose to Wild, Clinch Playoff Berth - VIDEO
Despite losing 3-2 to the Minnesota Wild, the Vegas Golden Knights are locked in to a playoff spot. Head coach Gerard Gallant and players discuss their performance against the Wild and what it means to go back to the playoffs.
Gallant on losing to the Avalanche
Gerard Gallant talks about the loss to Colorado. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gallant on Colorado loss
Gerard Gallant talks about the loss to Colorado. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Edge Mailbag- March 27, 2019 - VIDEO
Golden Knights reporters Ben Gotz and Adam Hill answer your burning questions.
Gerard Gallant on Paul Stastny
Vegas Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant talks about Paul Stastny's role on the team. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gallant on St. Louis goal
Gerard Gallant talks about St. Louis's third goal on March 25, 2019. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gerard Gallant on St. Louis Blues
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant talks about the team's loss to St. Louis on March 25, 2019. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
William Karlsson talks before Ducks game
The Golden Knights center talked about Paul Stastny’s line, Reilly Smith’s between-the-legs goal and more.
Mark Stone Locker Room - Full Video
Mark Stone, who was traded Monday to the Vegas Golden Knights from Ottawa, speaks to the press about the move. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Golden Knights coach talks Mark Stone trade
The Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant discusses the team’s newest player, forward Mark Stone, acquired from the Ottawa Senators. (Ben Gotz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST
Aviators speedster Jorge Mateo sprints toward majors

He is 23, hails from the Dominican Republic and leads the Pacific Coast League in hits (54), steals (11) and triples (9), the latter just four off equaling the team record of Joe Thurston in 2002.

 
Daniel Jacobs came up light on effort, but not on weight — VIDEO

You’re not beating the A side — especially when it’s Saúl Canelo Alvarez — by taking off the middle rounds of a mega-middleweight fight that unified three championship belts in the division, but that’s what Jacobs did and he rightly paid for it.

Raiders begin building with cleaner, less risky NFL Draft

While forecasting how a team’s draft will ultimately be judged on the field remains incredibly subjective, this isn’t: The class had a much different feel this year than last. Cleaner. Fewer red flags to investigate. Players that other teams hadn’t passed on for medical or off-field issues.