The San Jose Sharks bounced back from a blowout loss to hand the Vegas Golden Knights their first-ever postseason loss, 4-3 in double overtime, in Game 2 on Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena.
After Vegas jumped all over San Jose with four first-period goals en route to a 7-0 victory, neither team was able to create much separation on Saturday.
This was a physical game from the moment the puck dropped. There was no shortage of hits, scums or penalties (34 total penalty minutes). After getting dominated in Game 1, the Sharks made it clear they weren't going to be bullied in this series.
The goaltenders set the tone early on:
However, as the penalties piled up, space on the ice opened up and led to goals.
As a four-on-four situation wound down near the end of the first period, Knights center William Karlsson—who had 43 goals during the regular season—managed to corral a loose puck and let one rip from a ridiculous angle to break the scoreless tie:
It would not be long before he found the back of the net again.
Less than a minute after the first intermission, Karlsson capitalized on a San Jose turnover and managed to squeeze one past Sharks netminder Martin Jones:
With that goal, it capped a 9-0 run by Vegas to start the series.
Rather than let this game turn into a repeat of Game 1, San Jose fought back—and quickly. Just 94 seconds after Karlsson's second goal and seconds into a power play, the Sharks cut the deficit in half (with a fortunate bounce):
As the Knights pointed out, Brent Burns snapped an impressive shutout streak by Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury:
The scoring barrage would take a breather, but just past the midway point in the second, the game was tied back up, aided by some four-on-four hockey:
Nearly three minutes later, the Sharks grabbed their first lead of the series with their consecutive unanswered goal, a beautiful wraparound by Burns during, you guessed it, a four-on-four stretch:
The Knights challenged the play, arguing for goaltender interference. But after review, the goal was upheld.
Through the first two periods, only Karlsson's first goal came while both teams were at full strength. There were a whopping five four-on-four situations through 40 minutes, a reminder of how chippy this game was.
Things settled down a bit after the intermission, both in terms of scoring and chippiness. There were only two penalties in the third.
Each team had scoring chances throughout the third—but Fleury and Jones were up to the task. It was a combination of good goaltending and shots being just off that kept it a 3-2 game for much of the third.
However, Vegas defenseman Nate Schmidt's first goal of the playoffs came at the perfect time for his team:
Just like that, it was a brand new game with just less than seven minutes to play in regulation.
Both teams came out ready to play in overtime. While Vegas had a few early looks, the best scoring chance of the opening minutes came when San Jose's Barclay Goodrow forced a turnover deep in the Knights' zone and had a one-on-one break against Fleury. The three-time Stanley Cup champ came up big to deny not only that scoring chance but also the threat as a whole.
The Vegas goalie would elicit "Fleury" chants from the Vegas crowd moments later while sprawling all over the ice to keep the puck out of the net.
The two squads would continue to go back and forth throughout overtime. The Golden Knights' James Neal had a pair of great looks in front of the net, including a one-timer, with just less than six minutes remaining, but this time, it was Jones' turn to make the game-saving denials.
But as the Golden Knights just kept attacking, one shot eventually trickled through to end the game...only for the goal to be wiped off the board upon review because of goaltender interference.
The game would head to double overtime, with San Jose controlling play coming out of the locker rooms. Yet again, Fleury proved why he is a championship-winning goalie. He found ways to keep the puck out of the net during an onslaught of shots in the opening minutes. And once again, "Fleury" chants reigned down from the crowd.
This was a hard-fought contest that could have gone either way. Both teams had numerous chances to end things in the extra periods, but Fleury and Jones were on top of their respective games with do-or-die stakes.
San Jose's aggressiveness in double overtime and Vegas' lack of discipline, which resulted in two penalties in the first five minutes or so, turned out to be the difference. The Sharks' Logan Couture finally ended things with his second goal of the game at the 5:13 mark of double OT.
Fleury finished Game 2 with 43 saves, with Jones recording 26 stops of his own.
After posting the third-best home record in the league during the regular season, Vegas now has lost home-ice advantage in the series (for now, at least). The Golden Knights were up by two goals on their home ice, so losing this game is a tough pill to swallow.
San Jose, on the other hand, managed to bounce back from both a 7-0 loss in Game 1 and a 2-0 hole in this game to steal one on the road.
The series now shifts to San Jose, with Game 3 getting underway at 10 p.m. ET on Monday night.