NHL Hockey

7
Final 1 2 3 Tot
Vegas 3 1 3 7
San Jose 2 0 1 3
3
7:30 PM PT8:30 PM MT9:30 PM CT10:30 PM ET2:30 GMT10:30 7:30 PM MST9:30 PM EST6:30 UAE (+1)22:30 ET23:30 BRT, March 18, 2019
SAP Center at San Jose, San Jose, California  Attendance: 17,487

Sharks try to slow red-hot Golden Knights

Vegas Golden Knights at San Jose Sharks

  1. The Golden Knights have won eight of their 12 games against the Sharks, including their four wins in the second round of the 2018 playoffs. Five of those eight wins have come in Las Vegas where the Knights have outscored the Sharks 31-16 over seven total games.
  2. The Golden Knights defeated the Oilers, 6-3, in Las Vegas on Sunday, their fifth consecutive home win. The Knights are 9-6-0 in their last 15 road games despite scoring on just 8.3 percent of their power plays in those games. Their three road power-play goals since December 17 are the fewest in the NHL.
  3. The Sharks fell to the Predators, 4-2, in San Jose on Saturday, giving them back-to-back regulation losses at home for the first time this season. San Jose is tied for the third-best home record this season at 23-7-5. The last time the Sharks had a top-five home record in a season was 2013-14 (second, 29-7-5).
  4. Mark Stone has six points (3g, 3a) in his last five games after tallying just one point (1a) in his first four games with the Golden Knights. Vegas is 8-1-0 with Stone in the lineup. No Golden Knight player has won nine of his first ten games played with the team.
  5. Joe Thornton scored his 15th goal of the season in the loss to the Predators. Of his 15 goals, 13 have come at home and two have come on the road. Thornton has 14 points (9g, 5a) in his last 14 home skates after starting the season with 12 points (4g, 8a) in his first 19 home games.
  6. The Sharks have six players with 50 or more points this season, the most such skaters in the NHL. The Golden Knights are one of three teams which does not have a 50-point scorer this season. Alex Tuch and Jonathan Marchessault co-lead Vegas with 49 points apiece.

The San Jose Sharks head into Monday night's home game with the Vegas Golden Knights just one point behind first place Calgary in the Pacific Division with 10 games remaining.

The Sharks (43-21-8, 94 points), who will be trying to end a two-game losing streak, can clinch a Stanley Cup playoff berth for the 14th time in 15 years with a point against the defending Western Conference champions. But that might be easier said than done considering the way the Golden Knights have been playing since their acquisition of Mark Stone from Ottawa at the trading deadline.

Vegas (40-27-5, 85 points) improved to 8-1-0 since Stone's arrival with a 6-3 home victory over Edmonton on Sunday night. Stone had a goal in the win and has had six points in the last five games, while also playing a key role in tightening up the Golden Knights' defense.

"The team's playing great hockey right now, and that's what we want to do heading into the final stretch," Stone said.

Despite the recent hot spell, Vegas still trails second place San Jose by nine points in the standings, so passing the Sharks for home-ice advantage in the playoffs is still a long shot. But Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant is happy that his team has turned things around from a slump that saw them win just three times over 12 games from Jan. 21 to Feb. 22.

"I feel good about our team," Gallant said. "A couple of weeks ago, we were in a little tailspin, and I really didn't like it a lot. Since the trade deadline, and adding Stone to our group, I feel real confident with our group. We can go into any building and play any team and win."

Besides the addition of Stone, the Golden Knights have also gotten strong goaltending from Marc-Andre Fleury, who has allowed just five goals during a personal six-game win streak, including a pair of shutouts. But Fleury, who had 40 saves in a 2-1 victory at Dallas on Friday night and leads the league in starts (58), wins (35) and shutouts (eight), didn't dress Sunday night with what was called a lower-body injury. The team recalled Maxime Lagace from the Chicago Wolves of the AHL on an emergency basis earlier in the day.

"He's not coming (to San Jose)," Gallant said of Fleury after Sunday night's win. "He's still day-to-day but he's not coming (to San Jose)."

The Sharks will also be without a key player: two-time Norris Trophy winning defenseman Erik Karlsson, who resumed some skating drills on Saturday for the first time since injuring his groin in a Feb. 26 game at Boston.

"Good sign," Sharks coach Pete DeBoer told the San Jose Mercury News. "Out there, no setback. No pain. First step, obviously. We're not close yet."

Karlsson has three goals and 42 assists in 52 games this season. The Sharks still have managed to compile a 14-5-1 record without Karlsson in the lineup.

This is the third of four meetings between the two teams but the first played in San Jose. Behind 33 saves by Fleury and two goals by Max Pacioretty, Vegas won the first one, 6-0, on Nov. 24. San Jose, behind 36 saves by Martin Jones and third-period goals by Melker Karlsson and Joonas Donskoi, pulled out a 3-2 victory on Jan. 10.

--Field Level Media

Updated March 18, 2019

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