SAN JOSE -- You could call the second game between the Sharks and Golden Knights many things. But boring sure as heck isn’t one of them -- especially after San Jose rallied from a three-goal hole in just a little over two minutes time. Unfortunately, the pendulum swung in the opposite direction after that, and the rival Vegas squad was able to tie the first-round series up at a game apiece with a 5-3 victory.
Here are three takeaways from Game 2:
So many swings of momentum
To say the Sharks started the first period of Friday’s game on the wrong foot is an understatement. All the problems that plagued them during their losing streak late in the regular season came back to bite them -- letting Vegas score in the first minute of the game, then letting them take over the neutral zone and increase the lead to 3-0. Which made things even more interesting when San Jose came roaring back to tie everything up 3-3 before the first 20 minutes expired.
San Jose then fell victim to a series of unfortunate events early in the second stanza, having Logan Couture’s go-ahead marker waived off for goaltender interference and then giving up the go-ahead goal on the ensuing Vegas power play.
Speaking of the power play …
While the Sharks ran into adversity early in the second period, they weren’t without their chances to even the score back up. Vegas did not play a clean game, racking up seven penalties in the first 40 minutes alone. But just one game after their special teams were a huge contributing factor in a victory, the Sharks went 1-for-8 on the man advantage on the evening.
Although San Jose was able to get one goal during 4-on-4 play within their first-period push, the rest of their opportunities on the power play didn’t look very strong. They spent a lot of time passing to each other instead, and the Knights' kill did a good job of getting their sticks in lanes. The real nail in the coffin, though, was that Vegas was able to score two short-handed goals over the course of the evening -- and seeing as how the Sharks lost by two goals, that was clearly a big deciding factor.
Dell minimized some of the damage
Martin Jones might’ve had a good showing in Game 1, but he got the hook pretty quickly in Game 2 after giving up three goals in just a little over six minutes. Aaron Dell inherited a tough task, but made a couple big saves along the way that helped stave off the Knights' momentum. He made a particularly nice gloves save on Max Pacioretty towards the end of the second period that could have easily put San Jose in a bigger hole.
Dell ran into trouble, though, when San Jose’s power play lost possession and William Karlsson got a speedy breakaway and was able to tuck the puck away with a backhanded shot. Dell stretched out on the ice and tried to keep the puck out, but Karlsson was too fast for the skaters or the goalie to keep up.
Key for next game? Get back to the formula from Game 1 of tightening up the defense so the Knights don’t get any more golden opportunities like that off of a rush.