LAS VEGAS (AP) - The expansion Golden Knights have taken the league and their hometown by storm in their first season.
The Golden Knights steamrolled the Coyotes 5-2 in the emotional home opener on October 10 and blasted Winnipeg 5-2 on November 10 to stop the bleeding following a rough road trip and the loss of their top three goaltenders. He was three seconds away from keeping the game scoreless after 20 minutes before the Knights struck to take a 1-0 lead.
Vegas swept the eventual Presidents Trophy-winning Nashville Predators, and ended any thought of the Sharks catching them for the Pacific Division title with an emphatic victory on March 31 to close out the regular season home schedule.
Friday's game five was yet another echelon of pressure for the young franchise, and they handled it easily.
Jonathan Marchessault scored on an empty net, tacking on an insurance goal and securing a 5-3 win for the Golden Knights.
Martin Jones continued to be dominant, looking like the same netminder from Game 4. Linemates Alex Tuch (two goals) and David Perron (two assists) were especially effective, as Perron was promoted from the third line.
"They came out hard and when you're kind of feeding them that transition game, they'll show you what they can do with it", San Jose centre Joe Pavelski said".
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Not only was Wednesday night's 4-0 loss the first time Vegas had been shutout in the postseason, it was its first loss in regulation. "That's why we lost". "We stuck with it and even when they scored the second goal I really liked how we were playing". "It's just one game, obviously we had to win it, but it's one game".
From a spectacular glove save on Mikkel Boedker's point blank shot in the first period, to a pair of back-to-back saves before and after being knocked into the goal midway through the second period, or an incredible pad save on Tomas Hertl early in the third, Fleury was dialed in from the start.
The Sharks put an emphasis on improving the details of their game since the moment they left T-Mobile Arena last week after a 7-0 drubbing at the hands of the Golden Knights in Game 1 on April 26.
Neal has experienced deep playoff runs, making it to the Stanley Cup Finals previous year with the Nashville Predators. "Like I said going in, as long as our game is good - even if we lost tonight - I think we've always taken the approach that if we play our game, at the end of the day good things happen".
It looked the game was going to be a 0-0 tie going into the intermission until James Neal banged a rebound from a point shot with only three seconds left to give his team a 1-0 lead going into the intermission. Learning that they are human has been a motivator for both teams. "We keep getting better and I like that".
Vegas was on cruise-control until the final 10 minutes, when the San Jose Sharks began their all-out assault on Marc-Andre Fluery's net. We knew we had to get in there and create a little bit more.