Ok, everyone take a big drink of your favorite beverage, because this first period was the stuff of nightmares. Coming into tonight, both teams were well rested, riding their respective first-round sweeps. This hopefully indicated fresh legs and a nice jump to the opening frame. One team got the memo, and the other team looked lifeless and lost.
Vegas came out like they were shot out of a cannon causing an early high-sticking penalty on Tomas Hertl just one minute in. The penalty was successfully killed off — albeit it in an ugly fashion — and Vegas kept the pressure turned up. It didn’t take long for Cody Eakin to redirect a point shot to put the Knights up 1-0 less than five minutes into the game. 26 seconds later, Minnesota Wild transplant Erik Haula potted another to put Vegas up 2-0, just like that.
San Jose couldn’t stop the bleeding even a little bit and just after the six minute mark, Jonthan Marchessault netted the third of the night for Vegas.
The Sharks tried to claw back into the game with a power play of their own after a high sticking penalty to Alex Tuch, but nothing came of it. San Jose then continued their nightmare start with penalties from Kevin Labanc and Brent Burns, leading to a 5-on-3 for Vegas that Tuch was able to take advantage of to put the Knights up by four.
The boys in teal gave it their best rally effort by drawing an interference penalty on Reilly Smith, followed by a tripping call on Former San Jose Barracuda Legend Ryan Carpenter to gain their own a 5-on-3 man advantage. Again, nothing happened because Marc-Andre Fleury is apparently the greatest goalie ever and stopped everything coming his way.
San Jose finished the period up in shots, 17-9, but let’s be real, this was all Vegas, all the time.
The second period started the same way we left our finned warriors: poorly. A scant three and a half minutes into the period, Shea Theodore got behind the defense and deflected home a seeing-eye pass.
The fifth goal also brought about the end of the night for Martin Jones. The World’s Okayest Goalie Aaron Dell manned the crease in the playoffs for the first time in his career.
The rest of the period was rather boring compared to the bonkers first. The Sharks had yet another chance to get some good vibes going, but squandered a power play six minutes into the second frame. To the Sharks’ credit, Fleury continued his sparkling play from round one and looked unbeatable.
The referees then decided they hadn’t seen enough Sharks goals and started everyone’s least favorite game — the penalty box parade. Over the course of the next eight minutes, San Jose collected penalties by Eric Fehr, Timo Meier, and Brenden Dillon.
Fortunately, none of these infractions led to goals, leaving San Jose down a casual five goals. At the end of the period it looked as if Vegas hit the touchdown. The goal was immediately waived off by the referee, because James Neal punched it into the net with his glove, which is not how you score goals in hockey. Neal then proceeded to complain about this turn of events, evidently unaware of the score and how the game had gone entirely up to that point.
By then, the Sharks had packed it in and coasted to the final horn. Joe Pavelski decided to snag a penalty, the Sharks’ seventh of the game. Nothing transpired on the Vegas power play, but immediately after Joe regained the ice, he took a mighty hack at Shea Theodore’s ankle. Arm up, Pavs back to the box for penalty number eight.
During the ensuing scrum, Evander Kane decided to go full Round-One-Ducks with two cross-checks to Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, dropping the Vegas winger to the ice. Kane was assessed a five minute major and a game misconduct for his handiwork.
There is serious potential for a call with the Department of Player Safety, but then again after replay, it looks like the five and a game may suffice. Keep your eye out for the verdict tomorrow. Whatever the result, there’s no defending that kind of play when the Sharks were victim to it in all four games against Anaheim last week.
The Knights capitalized on the newfound 5-on-3 with a Colin Miller blast from the point only four and a half minutes into the third frame.
For as much as they had given up, San Jose still got a few chances on net. Fleury was equal to the task all night, providing some tricky saves, but those shots will eventually go in down the line, if San Jose can keep up their shooting pace.
James Neal decided six goals wasn’t enough and tucked home a nifty wraparound just over halfway through period three. After the goal, the broadcast decided it was time to show the Sharks bench, and boy that was one thousand yard stare after another.
San Jose did manage to draw their fourth power play of the night later in the period. They did not score — surprise — and wound up 0-4 on the man advantage. Las Vegas ultimately finished 3-10 in the same department.
This was ugly as ugly can be, but fortunately the NHL does not use aggregate scoring. Game 2 will start 0-0 and the series will only be 1-0. San Jose needs to adjust the game plan, play better, and continue to fire at Fleury, until he eventually breaks.
The Knights came at the Sharks goaltenders from everywhere, but especially up close. Meanwhile, the Sharks hardly attempted anything that wasn’t right on Fleury’s doorstep.
Do we have to talk about this? It’s bad, but maybe not as bad as you’d imagine until the third period.
- San Jose gave up 10 power plays in Game 1 compared to 12 total in their round one series against the Ducks.
- San Jose has lost by seven goals in the playoffs once previously. This happened in 1995 against the Calgary Flames in Game 3 of Round 1. The score was 9-2 and the Sharks went on to win the series.
- Don’t let the score distract you from the awful intro and game ops Vegas deploys.
- The seven goal outburst by Vegas matches their entire total from the sweep of the Kings in round one.