Tomas Hertl on Thursday provided a fast start and Martin Jones delivered the key saves that helped the San Jose Sharks flip the script in their playoff series against the Vegas Golden Knights.
Hertl scored the first of his two goals just 76 seconds into the game and Jones delivered his biggest save to preserve the lead in the third period as the Sharks staved off elimination with a 5-2 win in Game 5 of their first-round series.
“It’s huge, in our building too because right away from the first minute we get the fans behind our back,” Hertl said. “They helped us. They were cheering all game. It’s huge... Finally we have a great start.”
Photo: John Hefti-USA TODAY
Hertl’s early goal gave San Jose their first lead since Game 1 and ended a run of three straight games where the Sharks fell behind less than 90 seconds into the game. That helped steady the team and the Sharks delivered a complete performance to send the series back to Las Vegas for Game 6 tomorrow with the Golden Knights leading 3-2.
Logan Couture, Barclay Goodrow and Joe Pavelski also scored, but the key was the fast start and the strong play from Jones, who had 30 saves after getting pulled twice in the previous three games.
Jones had allowed 11 goals on 54 shots in those games, but coach Peter DeBoer showed confidence to go back to him once again. That proved justified when he robbed Reilly Smith’s attempt at the tying goal in the third period on a two-on-one after Las Vegas had cut it to 3-2 on Jonathan Marchessault’s power-play goal.
“Totally what we expected. He’s a heck of a goalie,” captain Joe Pavelski said. “I know everybody wants to write their things, but we’ve got a lot of belief in this guy. We played the right way tonight. It probably started with him and led the way out, but we were committed and helping him out a little bit.”
In other games, the Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Washington Capitals 2-1 to make their series 2-2, while the St Louis Blues won 3-2 over the Winnipeg Jets, with the Blues now leading their series 3-2.
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