This was the San Jose Sharks' opportunity after their frustrating Game 2 loss. But Sunday night's contest in Las Vegas featured more of the same problems for Team Teal.
Despite making a late-game push that made things interesting, the Sharks dropped a 6-3 decision to the Golden Knights in Game 3 and now trail two games to one in their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series.
Here are the three immediate takeaways from the proceedings at T-Mobile Arena.
Vegas' 'second line' proves lethal
During NBC Sports California's Facebook live Q&A on Sunday morning, Sharks radio announcer Dan Rusanowsky pointed to Vegas' de facto second line of Max Pacioretty, Paul Stastny and Mark Stone as the combo that San Jose needed to watch extra closely. While the Sharks have done a good job shutting down the William Karlsson-led top line, the Pacioretty-Stastny-Stone combo -- which, you'll recall, is made up of three players who were on completely different teams at this time last season -- has posed a problem.
That line proved to, in fact, be a huge problem for the Sharks, as all three skaters found ways to score goals, with Stone doing so three times, making hats rain down on the T-Mobile Arena ice. Stastny scored twice, including once on the power play, and Pacioretty added a marker on the man advantage.
The line also got a jump on the Sharks less than a minute in all periods of the game and put San Jose on its heels. The Sharks gave up goals at 16 seconds into the first frame, 21 seconds into the second and 36 seconds into the third.
The Sharks have discussed time and again that they need to not let this opportunistic Vegas team put them on their heels. But the Knights did just that in Game 3, after also doing it in Game 2.
Sharks make too many early mistakes
Unlike in Game 2, when the Knights made copious trips to the penalty box, the Sharks were the ones skating in and out of the sin bin in Game 3. And unlike San Jose, which couldn't convert on the majority of its opportunities in Game 2, Vegas found ways to make the Sharks pay for their mistakes, going 2 for 6 on the power play.
It didn't help that the Sharks weren't able to channel their frustrations into scoring opportunities, and instead took more penalties for their extracurriculars. The constant penalties further hurt the flow of San Jose's game, and by the time it finally scored a power-play goal in the third period, it was in such a deep hole that it didn't make much of a dent.
Some of the Sharks' penalties even could have consequences in future games. Joe Thornton was rung up for an illegal check to the head on Tomas Nosek, and he potentially could receive supplemental discipline for it.
With the Sharks' lineup already depleted because of injuries, losing Thornton would be a huge blow in a big spot.
Time for a turnaround in Game 4
There's no mistaking that this loss puts the Sharks in a difficult spot. They have one more game to play in a very tough Vegas home barn before the series returns to San Jose. Returning home in a three-games-to-one series hole could obviously where the Sharks want to be.
The Sharks can dig deep and pull out a win Tuesday night when these teams reconvene for Game 4. However, with how San Jose has played in its last two contests, it will need a complete turnaround to have any chance of evening the series and making it a best-of-three situation.