The 2021 AHL Best Goaltender nearly left SAP Center tonight not only with his first-ever NHL win, but also his first NHL shutout. The 24-year-old Logan Thompson was nearly perfect in net for the Vegas Golden Knights, allowing just one goal, with more than 50 minutes of the game already gone.
But if a team keeps running into hot goaltenders, at what point does the responsibility fall on the players who can’t score?
For their part, the San Jose Sharks could not build significant offensive zone time and the shots they leveled at Thompson lacked power and went to soft, easily stopped areas. They spent the entire game chasing Vegas in every area, until they were too exhausted to do anything but lob the puck down the ice and hope the next guy had fresh enough legs to cut off Vegas in the neutral zone, and unsurprisingly, they rarely did.
The team lacks the basic positional awareness required of NHL-level hockey, and on top of everything, are playing James Reimer until he completely unravels in the crease.
There’s no way this team acknowledges the season is toast until the last minute, meaning the hockey will not improve any time soon and we don’t even get the consolation that they’re trying for a good draft pick. Sounds like a great rest of the season.
Comment of the Game
This layup might actually make you feel a little bit better...
How dare you remind me of Mikkel Boedker? I guess it could always be worse.
Happy Sunday, y’all! Time to see how our old buddy Pete DeBoer is doing.
18:33: A couple of back-and-forth shifts to open, these look like two teams trying to figure the other out.
17:09: Ryan Merkley is not looking totally confident. He needs to commit to his decision-making.
16:04: The dream team of Tomas Hertl and Timo Meier set up for a shot that bounces off Logan Thompson, but earns a few more chances in the offensive zone.
14:41: Jack Eichel went in alone on James Reimer, but he makes the blocker stop.
14:23: Rudolfs Balcers hit Nicolas Hague with his stick blade along the boards and Vegas is going to get a double minor out of it.
The officials had to review to confirm the penalty and the call is correct. Tough kill coming up.
13:25: Matt Nieto came through the neutral zone to race Shea Theodore for the puck after a clear and was able to take a shorthanded shot.
12:23: First minor penalty killed.
11:40: The Sharks’ penalty kill is so aggressive, but not in a way where they try to turn it into opportunities for themselves.
11:24: Reimer with a big stop on Max Pacioretty.
11:01: Of course, as soon as I say the penalty kill isn’t aggressive about taking or making scoring opportunities, Hertl and Nieto get back-to-back scoring chances.
10:23: Penalty killed.
9:46: Keegan Kolesar takes a wrister from the top of the right circle and beats Reimer. 1-0, Vegas.
7:55: The last three shifts or so have just been changing possession and skating the puck up and down the ice.
6:55: I bet this will shock everyone, but Noah Gregor got a wide open look at Thompson that did not go in.
6:29: Vegas is going back to the power play, as Brent Burns is called for tripping on William Carrier.
5:58: Logan Couture with a shorthanded breakaway that doesn’t go in, but Theodore slashes his stick, which brings gameplay to 4-on-4, so that’s something.
5:26: Jack Eichel gets his first goal as a Golden Knight. Chandler Stephenson skates the puck behind the net, passes to Eichel in the crease, who fires a quick shot to beat Reimer. 2-0, Vegas.
2:29: Cogliano laid a big hit on Pacioretty. That might come back up later, Brayden McNabb didn’t care for that.
1:41: Shots are 15-8, Vegas leading.
Vegas gets one more shot on goal before the period closes.
END FIRST: Sharks 0, Vegas 2
19:45: Jonathan Marchessault wasting no time to test Reimer.
His line fires off a few chances in that opening shift.
18:37: Pacioretty thinks he scored a goal. I don’t think it ever crosses the line.
They’re saying it went in. I hate that call. It hit the crossbar, but it never went over the line. Whatever. 3-0, Vegas.
14:22: Sharks slowly shifting the ice some, but as per usual, they don’t get extended time or particularly dangerous chances.
14:12: Mattias Janmark goes off for hooking Jeffrey Viel. Sharks power play.
12:31: Vegas with a shorthanded opportunity? Who could’ve guessed.
Gregor had a shot attempt but I can’t tell you when that happened because for some reason Vegas’ broadcast loves not showing the clock on the broadcast????
10:01: Nieto with a weak backhand attempt.
8:42: Third line just had some really great positional awareness in the neutral zone that led to a great and successful entry despite Vegas being all over them, but then they just fumble it in the offensive zone and play goes the other way. This sucks.
7:05: Vegas has dominated the last few shifts, but shots are evening up somewhat, 21-19, Vegas leading.
6:29: Evgenii Dadonov behind the net gets the puck out to Mattias Janmark, Reimer makes the save up close.
Apologies, had to step away for a few minutes.
1:39: Real tired of watching the Sharks get possession in the neutral zone and look completely lost with the puck on their stick.
0:29.6: Shots are 25-22, in favor of Vegas.
Nicolas Roy gets a shot in the final second that beats Reimer, but not the clock.
END SECOND: Sharks 0, Golden Knights 3
19:42: Vegas broadcast said that Vegas has only lost one game when leading after two and the Sharks have only won one game when trailed after two, so y’know, feel free to tune out. I wish I could.
17:40: Hertl heading to the bench after getting hit in the face with a puck deflection. Ouch.
16:13: Burns has what is probably the Sharks’ best scoring chance all night. Nieto behind the net dives to pass the puck to Burns, who took the shot up close.
14:22: Any time the Sharks start to get any momentum toward a breakout, they’ve been on the ice so long that all they can do is flip the puck into the offensive zone and go off for a line change and by then, Vegas is ready to enter to Sharks’ zone again and the cycle starts anew.
13:21: Cogliano with a quick entry into Vegas’ zone and fires off a shot that Thompson turns away.
11:55: Burns with a slap shot from the blueline.
10:09: Timo Meier is doing everything he can, but the team has to do more to support the top line. Matt Nieto was probably not the best option to finish a 2-on-1.
9:43: The third line has had their moments, and one finally pays off. Cogliano skates the puck behind the net (where Theodore lost an edge) and finds Nick Bonino in the slot, who one-times it past Thompson. 3-1, Vegas.
8:50: McNabb with a shot on goal.
8:17: Theodore gets called for high-sticking Gregor in the face as the pair were racing for the puck in the Vegas zone. Sharks to the power play.
6:51: Dahlen to Couture leads to a chance, but Thompson makes a heads-up glove save.
6:16: Penalty over. How uninspiring.
5:16: Reimer takes a puck to the mask and his helmet goes flying.
4:51: Shots are 34-29, in favor of Vegas.
3:25: Meloche takes a wrister from the blueline that gets blocked.
2:44: Meier drives the net and has to bail on the puck, there’s no one anywhere near him following the play, so Vegas gets it right back.
2:35: Sharks have pulled Reimer.
1:51: Meier with a shot up close.
1:00: Nick Bonino tried so hard to bury a pass from Dahlen, but Thompson tracks the puck too well.
0:32.1: Chandler Stephenson adds an empty-netter on his only shot of the game. 4-1, Vegas.
0:08.4: Now everybody is fighting. Three Vegas players are done for the night (lol), not sure how many Sharks players got sent off.
Last shift is just a formality.
FINAL SCORE: Sharks 1, Golden Knights 4
The Vegas Golden Knights are coming into SAP Center tonight on a surprising three-game losing streak. Despite that, the team has held on to second place in the Pacific Division, and Jack Eichel is finding his place in the Vegas line-up — even if it’s only because of blatant cap shenanigans.
Meanwhile, the San Jose Sharks are on a five-game losing streak. One of these teams will be breathing a sigh of relief at the end of the night.
Here’s everything you need to know to tune in:
SAN JOSE SHARKS
Timo Meier — Tomas Hertl — Alexander Barabanov
Matt Nieto — Logan Couture — Rudolfs Balcers
Andrew Cogliano — Nick Bonino — Noah Gregor
Jeffrey Viel — Lane Pederson — Jonathan Dahlen
Mario Ferraro — Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic — Ryan Merkley
Jacob Middleton — Nicolas Meloche
Expected Scratches: Radim Simek, Jonah Gadjovich
Injured Reserve: Erik Karlsson (upper body), Kevin Labanc (upper body), Adin Hill (lower body)
VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS
Max Pacioretty — Jack Eichel — Chandler Stephenson
Jonathan Marchessault — William Karlsson — Reilly Smith
Mattias Janmark — Nicolas Roy — Evgenii Dadonov
William Carrier — Brett Howden — Keegan Kolesar
Nicolas Hague — Alex Pietrangelo
Brayden McNabb — Shea Theodore
Ben Hutton — Dylan Coghlan
Expected Scratches: Michael Amadio
Injured Reserve: Nolan Patrick (upper body), Robin Lehner (upper body), Alec Martinez (facial laceration), Zach Whitecloud (undisclosed), Mark Stone (back)
How to Watch
Tonight’s game will be broadcast regionally on NBCSCA and ATTSN-RM. Streaming is available with a subscription to ESPN+ (blackout restrictions do apply). The radio call will be streamed through the Sharks Audio Network. Puck drop is at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET at SAP Center in San Jose, California.