Vegas Golden Knights (58-25-5-3) vs. San Jose Sharks (51-29-8-3)
When: 7:30 PM ET, Sunday, May 6, 2018
Where: SAP Center, San Jose, California
Knights Take 3-2 Series Lead
The Vegas Golden Knights (7-2) slipped into the driving seat to advance to the Western Conference Finals after taking a 3-2 lead in their Second Round series against the San Jose Sharks following a 5-3 victory at T-Mobile Arena on Friday. Goals by James Neal (3 markers, 7 points during the current playoffs) and Erik Haula (3 goals, 5 points), as well as a double courtesy of Alex Tuch (4 goals, 7 points) gave the Knights a 4-0 lead nine minutes into the final third before the visitors managed to score three times in a matter of 6:09 in the final third to pull withing one, only for Jonathan Marchessault (3 goals, 10 points) to round off the proceedings with an empty-netter 1:21 minutes from time.
Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury made 27 saves for his 69th victory during the Stanley Cup Playoffs to pass Andy Moog for the 10th place on the NHL all-time list. He has now gone 7-2 for the ongoing postseason with a 1.68 GAA and a .946 save percentage, has posted a 69-53 playoff career total with a 2.57 GAA and a .912 save percentage and was 7-3-3 against San Jose historically ahead of the current postseason with a 2.21 GAA and a .935 save percentage. The Golden Knights, meanwhile, are scoring the 9th highest quantity of goals per game during the ongoing playoffs (2.89), while allowing the 2nd lowest amount defensively (1.89). They are 10th in power play with a 17.9% conversion rate and 3rd in penalty kill with 84.2% efficiency.
Sharks’ Comeback Falls Short
The San Jose Sharks (6-3) lost just for the third time in their last nine contests, but still were handed a 3-2 series deficit by the Vegas Golden Knights during the Western Conference Semifinals after a 5-3 defeat at T-Mobile Arena on Friday. Kevin Labanc (1 goal, 5 points during the current postseason), Tomas Hertl (6 goals, 9 points) and Mikkel Boedker (1 goal, 6 points), all assisted by Logan Couture (4 goals, 12 points), hosted a three-snipe comeback in a matter of just over six minutes in the third period after the visitors netted on four consecutive occasions earlier. The Sharks, though, failed to find an equalizer, giving up an empty-netter at the very end of the game.
Goalie Martin Jones conceded four goals on 31 shots before being relieved midway through the final frame by Aaron Dell, who stopped all seven shots faced before being pulled for an extra attacker. Jones has now gone 6-3 for the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 2.29 GAA and a .926 save percentage and is 22-17 in all of his previous postseason outings combined with a 2.07 GAA and a .926 save percentage. Prior to the ongoing playoffs, he was 1-2-0 against Vegas during the regular season with a 3.32 GAA and a .899 save percentage. The Sharks, meanwhile, are scoring the 7th highest number of goals per game this postseason (3.33), while allowing the 4th lowest quantity on the defensive end (2.56). They are 6th in power play (24.4%) and 8th in penalty kill (79.5%).
- Golden Knights are 1-4 in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
- Golden Knights are 2-5 in their last 7 after scoring 5 goals or more in their previous game.
- Sharks are 10-2 in their last 12 when their opponent scores 5 goals or more in their previous game.
- Sharks are 9-2 in their last 11 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- Sharks are 22-6 in their last 28 vs. Pacific.
After exchanging a domestic shutout and an overtime road victory apiece with the Golden Knights in their first four contests of their Western Conference Second Round series, the Sharks have found themselves one loss away from elimination following the defeat in Game 5. They can, however, force Game 7 with a win here and are more than capable of doing so, having won eight of their past 11 home contests and nine of their last 11 domestic fixtures versus sides with a winning road record. The Knights have triumphed in just one of their past five away outings against teams with a home winning percentage above the .600 mark and will be facing a team, which came dead close to getting a result in its previous game in Las Vegas…