The Golden Knights are now in an intense Round 2 matchup against the San Jose Sharks, and inside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas there happens to be a shark tank. "We were tighter, our team game was better, we were better in every situation, and I knew we would be".
How did we get here? "It was a strong game by everyone".
His Vegas counterpart, Marc-Andre Fleury, has been similarly stellar with some lesser moments. The last game here between these teams saw the Sharks win by a score of 4-0, so they have the confidence to pick up a big win in this one. Cody Eakin scored an empty-netter in the third to cap off an impressive showing from Vegas, who will wait for the victor of the Predators-Jets series. Four minutes later, Mikkel Boedker added another goal and it became a one-goal game.
"I thought we had some good starts", Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer said.
A major reason why his numbers declined so significantly in the series is that the Knights generated a plethora of quality-scoring chances with their speed. They were part of a National Hockey League formed to get away from the old NHA and from the former Toronto Blueshirts and owner Eddie Livingston, and they wound up with most of the Blueshirts' players.
The Sharks and Golden Knights face off in Game 6 at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif.
Brian Gionta - Making his first playoff appearance since 2014, the 39-year-old winger had a fine game, until Dan Girardi got his stick loose behind Gionta to deflect in Tampa Bay's winning goal in overtime. "I think we played well enough to win all of the first three, but tonight? No".
"We didn't have bounces go our way and they capitalized on their chances". It's a case of so close but so far away as they simply could not beat Fleury or the iron, only to see a turnover lead to a Jonathan Marchessault goal six minutes into period two. Logan Couture blocked Shea Theodore's shot from the point, with the rebound going right to Neal, who drilled it past Jones to give Vegas the lead with 3 seconds left in the period.
The shutout was not an easy one for Fleury, who made 28 saves in the effort.
Jones may still be trying to figure out how Haula scored, as he threw the puck at the net from the goal line and it somehow slipped through to make it 3-0 midway through the second. Just 32 seconds later Tuch scored for a 2-0 Vegas lead.
Injuries aside, the Sharks did themselves in by surrendering the opening goal in five of six games against the Knights. Shots were even at 12 in the first, but San Jose certainly had better scoring opportunities as several shots went off the crossbar.
"We got caught a little bit sleeping in the first period and they took advantage", Marchessault said. We felt we had a chance for sure.
That trend came to an abrupt end in Game 5 on Friday night at T-Mobile Arena, in which the Sharks were simply out-battled and outplayed all over the ice in a 5-3 loss. Vegas F Oscar Lindberg made his playoff debut, taking Tomas Tatar's place on Cody Eakin's line, while Ryan Carpenter also returned to the Golden Knights' lineup, taking Tomas Nosek's spot on Pierre-Edouard Bellemare's line along with William Carrier.