In their second meeting this season, the expansion Vegas Golden Knights tallied three straight goals in the third period to best the San Jose Sharks 5-3 Thursday night.
Golden Knights defensemen Brayden McNabb sent a slapshot past goaltender Martin Jones 9:36 into the third period, before James Neal followed up with his 24th of the season less than six minutes later. An empty net goal by Jonathan Marchessault would seal the victory for Vegas with a minute and a half left in regulation.
Head coach Peter DeBoer said:
“It was a tough game. It was a tale of a bunch of different games. Again, I loved our start. I loved the first period. We came out with nothing to show for it, which I think it hurts you when you play that well.”
San Jose (28-18-8) took a 3-2 lead 7:45 into the third period after Brent Burns centered the puck, allowing Pavelski to record his second goal on the night.
Forward Logan Couture said the difference tonight was breaking down on defense:
“You get the (3-2) lead there. Really nothing to play, they scored a two-on-two and another one, that’s it.”
Sharks points leader Brent Burns record three assists on the night, bumping his points total to 44 on the year. Two of the Sharks’ goals came on the man advantage.
DeBoer said Burns is the team’s most dynamic player:
“We ask him to do a lot at both ends of the rink, and there’s some nights where he’s on the right end of those decisions… He makes an unbelievable play to give us a lead in the third.”
The Sharks would hold the lead until 6:00 in the first, when Erik Haula slipped the puck through the wickets of goaltender Martin Jones.
The Golden Knights would jump out to a 2-1 lead just 37 seconds into the second period, when Marc-Edouard Vlasic turned the puck over in the Sharks zone. Marchessault sent a wrist shot toward Jones before William Karlsson tapped the puck into the net.
San Jose tied the game at 2-2 when a Burns wrist shot deflected of forward Timo Meier‘s thigh and into the net.
The Sharks host the Edmonton Oilers Saturday night as they try to break their tie with the Calgary Flames for second place in the Pacific Division.