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Golden Knights’ Stone, Stastny dominate Sharks to take 2-1 series lead

Mark Stone leads the way with his first career hat trick for the Golden Knights as they take a 2-1 series lead against the Sharks.

When you begin a Stanley Cup Playoff game with a goal in the first 16 seconds, it’s often a sign of good things to come.

When you score three, add two assists and have another player on your team also put together a five-point effort. Well, you have yourself one hell of an assured win.

Mark Stone and Paul Stastny feasted on Shark in a 6-3 win in Game 3 of the Western Conference First Round series on Saturday, moving the Golden Knights to a 2-1 series lead in the process.

Stone entered the game with three goals in the first two games and left Game 3 with six after a ridiculous effort from his line alongside Stastny and Max Pacioretty. The line combined for a whopping 12 points in the game.

Stastny hadn’t scored coming into the game but had three assists and double that in the game, assisting on Pacioretty’s first-period goal (both via a pass and also via a perfect screen) and Stone’s second and third of the game. Stastny’s goals were his first an second of the series.

Pacioretty had a goal and an assist for good measure.

The Sharks showed life in the third, scoring two goals in 54 seconds to pull the game to 5-3. That’s as close as they’d get.

Martin Jones played like another goaltender altogether in San Jose’s Game 1 victory. Jones, who had a .896 save percentage during the regular season, put up and elite .923 outing to open the series.

In Game 2, he was pulled after allowed four goals on seven shots. On Sunday, he allowed six on 40 shots. Two disastrous outings, but both the Sharks’ No. 1 and the five in front of him.

If you’re San Jose, you have to be thinking about putting Aaron Dell into the net (Dude, you’re getting a Dell...) But seriously, Jones hasn’t been the answer all season and something needs to change after such a demoralizing defeat.

The Sharks have no answer for Stastny’s line. And if they find one, then it will be at the cost of shutting down William Karlsson and Co. There are no easy fixes here, and Vegas looks very good once again.

San Jose, meanwhile, is probably going to be without Joe Thornton after this bone-headed hit by the elder statesman.

Frustrations boiled over there and later in the game when Ryan Reaves and Evander Kane engaged in a fight that featured few jabs and all haymakers.

Game 4 of this best-of-7 series goes Tuesday at 10:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck