Sun, May 06, 2018 - Page 11 News List

Golden Knights overpower Sharks for 5-3 win

AP, LAS VEGAS

The San Jose Sharks’ Eric Fehr, right, checks the Vegas Golden Knights’ Ryan Carpenter into the glass in the third period of Game 5 of their NHL Western Conference semi-final series at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Friday.

Photo: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY

After a lackluster loss two nights earlier, the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday responded with an energetic performance in Game 5 to move one victory away from their second playoff series win and a berth in the Western Conference final in their inaugural season.

Alex Tuch scored twice to lead Vegas to a 5-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks, giving the Golden Knights a 3-2 series lead in their conference semi-final.

“We were physical, we were playing well, and it was a very good game by everyone,” Tuch said. “Every game is a must-win, and at times in this series we kind of got away from that, especially Game 4 ... but I thought we came out tonight and we had 20 guys working really hard. It was a strong game by everyone.”

James Neal, Erik Haula and Jonathan Marchessault also scored for Vegas. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 27 shots, making save after highlight save until things got interesting late in the third period.

With San Jose trailing 4-0, Kevin Labanc, Tomas Hertl and Boedker scored in a 6 minute, 9 second span to pull the Sharks within one with 4 minutes, 16 seconds remaining.

However, Marchessault’s empty-netter with 21 seconds left sealed it for Vegas.

“Fleury played really well and we left him out to dry a little bit in the third, but I thought we finished strong,” Tuch said.

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.

However, it was not until Marchessault’s long-range wrist shot that the 14-year veteran goalie was able to exhale.

“I had a great view, I was right behind it, it was great, I was so happy to see it going in,” Fleury said. “It doesn’t matter when you get [wins] in a series, as long as you win. They’re all big. Obviously, it was nice to be home and get that win.”

Martin Jones allowed four goals on 31 shots before being pulled in the third. Aaron Dell came on and stopped all six shots he faced.

Game 6 is today in San Jose, California.

After looking lethargic in a 4-0 loss in Game 4 on the Sharks’ home ice, the Golden Knights came out refreshed and looking more like the team that won Game 1 7-0.

Vegas set the tone in the first period, outshooting the Sharks 15-7, outhitting them 26-14 and taking a 1-0 lead.

“The other night we played okay, but it wasn’t good enough to win. You’re not gonna win many games in the playoffs if you don’t play your best hockey,” Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said.

“Tonight we came out for 50 minutes and played our best hockey and really set the tone. We got into some penalty trouble at the end and gave them a chance to get back in the game,” he added.

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