Yes, they've been better all season long and they got much better at the deadline. I'm aware of the results, but the way the team is structured they are even better. Long way to go, but VGK will be a tough out for anybody in these playoffs. https://t.co/YA0davZIuX
VGK are significantly deeper and much more talented aside from the top guys. MacKinnon is unreal and will be a handful, but VGK would have a much bigger advantage in that series than this one. Let's get there first though. https://t.co/MJ5Y9PCXME
I'll have to watch them a lot more if we get there, but from my memory of when they've played VGK it's been puck possession. They cycle in the VGK zone for extended periods (not always doing anything dangerous) but it slows Vegas down. Get the puck and keep it. https://t.co/hcIQnN0GWx
Through four games of the series, the San Jose Sharks have iced 14 different forwards, seven different defensemen, and two goalies. Only four of those 23 players have yet to be on the ice for a goal by Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, or Paul Stasnty.
The Sharks have tried multiple forward lines, they’ve rotated defense pairings, they’ve tried checking lines, skill lines, speed lines, superstar defense pairings, and defense-first pairings. Nothing has worked.
It’s great, we always know they are going to be in the right spots. You just want to get the puck in their hands and they make the plays and score. -Shea Theodore
The Golden Knights line of Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, and Paul Stastny have scored 12 goals, tallied 28 total points, and they’ve done it on just 34 shots.
With every series now having four games finished, Stone leads the league in playoff goals, Stastny leads in playoff assists (tied with Pacioretty), and Pacioretty (tied with Stone) leads in playoff points.
The player who has spent the most time on the ice against the Golden Knights dominant line has been Erik Karlsson. Despite being one of the best defensemen in the entire NHL, Karlsson has not been able to handle the pressure of Stastny, Stone, and Pacioretty. He’s been on the ice for 11 of their 12 goals.
Overall, Karlsson has been out there for 13 of the Golden Knights 18 goals in the series, the same number as goalie Martin Jones.
They are a special group. I hope (they continue this), I want them to, but you know what, lines are going to get hot as we go along here. Let’s hope we can get a couple of lines going too. -Nate Schmidt
The Sharks have another chance to try and crack the code tonight, and they’ll likely try something new once again, but if you ask Mark Stone, no matter what the Sharks do, that line believes it’s just a matter of keeping it simple.
I mean, we have a good team. At the end of the day we just have to play our style hockey. We have to put pressure on their defensemen. When you put pressure on anybody, it makes the game harder. -Stone
As far as the defensemen, they have a simple plan too.
It’s called watching offense from the D. You sit back, watch, and enjoy the show. -Schmidt
One more dominant effort from the line of non-Misfits, and the Golden Knights will have ridden them right into the second round.
Ryan Reaves has 40 career NHL goals. Sharks center Joe Pavelski has accrued 355 career goals, 38 of them this season. Pavelski averages 12+ more minutes a game and has $40M more in career earnings. Simple numbers alone show the wide gap between the two players. So after dropping their third straight series game, why in the world is the Sharks Captain so concerned with Reaves?
He’s called himself the lion in the jungle. You see what he does, he baits guys in and enjoys when he’s doing it. Give him credit. -Joe Pavelski, Sharks Captain
Reaves gets paid $2.75M and scored nine goals this season. Costing $300,000 per goal, clearly, the Golden Knights aren’t paying their fourth liner to score. Reaves is being paid to get into the heads of highly skilled players in the postseason. And he’s earned every penny against the Sharks.
Reaves is doing his job, he’s got us fired up at times. We’ve played against this guy 5-10 years ago when there were other heavyweights in the lineups and he was just very quiet. Now you see him he starts yapping when Haley’s out. -Joe Pavelski, Sharks forward
After each game in the series, one of the Sharks stars have brought up Reaves. The question is, why? Why are San Jose’s veteran leaders so concerned with a player that averages under ten minutes a game in this series?
Evander Kane's full comments on Ryan Reaves fight, some highlights:
"He thinks it's the WWE. Probably going to end up there pretty soon." "Nobody thinks of Ryan Reaves as a hockey player." "To chirp Jumbo's vision. The guy has over 1,000 assists. That doesn't seem too bright." pic.twitter.com/JG5heW3zB4
Future Hall of Famer Joe Thornton also piped in after Game 3. While Thornton was carrying on about Reaves, the league was getting his suspension papers prepared for the morning.
For a 30-goal scorer, boy he looked good in that fight… He looked like Brett Hull fighting Ryan. It was just tough to see Ryan go down like that versus a 30-goal scorer but hopefully he’ll have better luck next time. -Joe Thornton, Sharks forward
And as this series heads to SAP Center Thursday for what could be a series-ending Game 5 following an impressive 5-0 victory at T-Mobile Arena Tuesday night, it’s a fact Fleury has been a big part of why the Knights hold a 3-1 series lead.
He’s getting better with each period of each game. He wasn’t great in the 5-2 loss to the Sharks in Game 1. And after letting in three late first-period goals in Game 2, Fleury has been virtually unbeatable.
I’m not blaming him for the loss or the trio of goals allowed in Game 2. But he’s doing what you want your goalie to do — stop the easy ones, make a few spectacular saves, be the first line of defense on the penalty kill and keep your team in the game.
He’s tracking the puck with laser precision. He’s always a step ahead of the Sharks in anticipating where the play is going to be. His positioning is spot on. And he’s moving well in his crease and post to post.
In other words, Fleury is being Fleury. He stopped all 28 shots he faced in recording his 15th career playoff shutout, tying Chris Osgood for fourth place on the NHL’s career list.
I have felt good all playoffs. They are a good team, it’s not over obviously. It was a big game tonight and a big win for us. One game at a time. -Fleury
The win, Fleury’s 78th in the playoffs, moved him past Mike Vernon into seventh place on the all-time list for goaltender wins. Next is Ken Dryden, who had 80 postseason victories. Patrick Roy is the career leader in playoff wins with 151.
It is really cool. I have been very fortunate to play on a lot of good teams and again this year. It is very humbling to be amongst these guys who I grew up watching. -Fleury
His play Tuesday did not go unnoticed by his coach, his teammates and his opponent.
He played awesome the first two periods. We weren’t happy with our game. Obviously, we got out to the 1-0 lead in the first shift fortunately for us so that was big, but we didn’t play our type of game for two periods. I thought and we played a lot better in the third. Fleury was huge, when we needed him, he was huge. -Gerard Gallant
This from Shea Theodore:
I think when you watch him out there and he makes those saves, you see how confident he is. Even when he is playing the puck, he is confident with it and he always makes the right decisions. –Theodore
And San Jose coach Peter DeBoer tipped his hat to Fleury.
I thought we created a lot of chances on the other end, but you have to give Fleury credit. He frustrated us tonight and allowed them to be in the position they were in the third. -DeBoer
The Knights have done an awful lot of things well in this series. The line of Paul Stastny, Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone have dominated and the Sharks still haven’t found an answer for them. They’re doing the little things well, like winning faceoffs. They’re outhitting the Sharks.
What Vegas has not done well is avoiding penalties. They’re taking way too many, and it’s going to catch up with the Knights. Maybe not in this series, but perhaps in the next round. Fleury has been tremendous in standing up to the barrages of shots the Sharks have fired at him when they have the man advantage and that’s what you hope your goalie will do. Tuesday, San Jose went 0-4 on the power play and they are just 3 for 20 in the series (15%).
The Vegas Golden Knights had a chance to take a two-game series lead last night in their home building for Game 4. The San Jose Sharks would be without two of their best players, defenseman Marc-Eduard Vlasic was unavailable again due to an unknown injury, and center Joe Thornton who was suspended one game for an illegal hit to the head on Tomas Nosek.
The Golden Knights opened Game 4 like they didn’t the previous two scoring quickly on Sharks goaltender Martin Jones. Max Pacioretty scored his third goal of the season postseason 1:11 into the game. Vegas would go on to defend against the Sharks heavy attack for the entire period but no shots slipped past Marc-Andre Fleury. With under a minute remaining in the period defenseman Shea Theodore weaved in and out of defenders dazzling the crowd with his first goal of the playoffs. Vegas held the 2-0 edge after one period of action.
Vegas tightened up and protected their two goal lead in the second period. More than halfway through the period Pacioretty lit the lamp a second time putting the Golden Knights up 3-0. The home team would skate into the locker room unblemished once again.
Vegas would tack on a fourth goal from a great individual play by Alex Tuch. Tuch gave Vegas a commanding 4-0 lead on his first goal of the postseason.
Evander Kane took a miserable pair of penalties and got himself tossed from the game essentially for the second straight game. San Jose did nothing but take penalties the rest of the night leading to X more VGK goals.
Vegas leads the best of seven series over San Jose (3-1) and have a chance to close out the series on Thursday night. Game 5 in San Jose is scheduled to start at 7 PM. (Recap by Jason)
Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. San Jose Sharks in Game 4 of Round 1 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs
Steve Carp’s Wednesday playoff column on Fleury vs. Jones
No matter what the Sharks try, they don’t have an answer for Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, and Paul Stastny
Photo Gallery from Game 4
Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Shea Theodore ** Marc-Andre Fleury * Max Pacioretty
All series long (this year and last) I've been saying 5-on-5 is where Vegas does its best work against SJS. VGK have been the better team at 5-on-5, but they are winning the series because of special teams.
In three playoff games, the Golden Knights top six have been outstanding. Between the two lines they have 11 goals, and 14 assists. However, after a winning night that featured Mark Stone’s hat trick and the second line’s offensive explosion, Gerard Gallant took time to praise a different line. The so-called fourth line.
For me tonight, they were as good as their top line, for the role they play on our hockey team. -Gallant
The trio of Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Ryan Reaves, and William Carrier averaged 10 minutes of ice time, generated four shots on net, had three takeaways, three blocked shots and won 75% of faceoffs.
They are momentum guys. They finish checks, they take very few penalties and play the game the right way. -Gallant
Playing the game the right way means pushing the puck towards the offensive zone, pouncing on loose pucks and winning board battles. Sure, it’s a bunch of cliches but for anyone that watched Game 3, they noticed the impact the fourth line had in their 10+ minutes played.
When you cause turnovers, when you’re skating hard that’s a big part of it… I’ve talked about forecheck for a year and a half, two years. When we’re forechecking well and moving our feet well we’re a good team. -Gallant
When Pacioretty told his sons he was traded to Vegas, they wanted to know which logo the Golden Knights were on their NHL bed sheets. Unfortunately, because the sheets were a few years old, there was no Golden Knights logo. Luckily, Max had a backup plan because he knew his boys would remember the pregame shows they watched together last year in the playoffs.
So I’m like, “Vegas! Here — come on, you remember these guys, right? From the playoffs last year? That cool team in black and gold? They made the Cup Fi—”
And right in that snap second, I see their eyes just light up. I know I don’t even have to finish the sentence. The boys, not only do they remember Vegas from the playoffs last year……. they loved Vegas in the playoffs last year.
So now they’re jacked.
Now they’re parading around the house, you know, chanting and hollering, “WE’RE GOING TO VEGAS, WE’RE GOING TO VEGAS.” -Max Pacioretty, Player’s Tribune
(By the way, if you haven’t read that Player’s Tribune article, stop reading this right now and go read that. It’s better than this one, I’m not even going to lie. I would appreciate it if you come back though.)
So there’s no question Pacioretty has been thinking of Sunday night’s game for a while. His first playoff game as a member of the Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena. It was always going to be special, and it was always going to be a memory he’d share with his kids.
As soon as my kids woke up at 6:30 in the morning they thought it was time to go to the game. For my family, it’s the best time of the year. -Pacioretty
Then, one of his sons made a request, one he’s never done to his NHL superstar father before.
First time in my career my son asked me to score a goal tonight and I was able to do so. In this rink, I’m sure he had a ton of fun. -Pacioretty
About eight minutes into the 1st period and just a few seconds into Evander Kane’s 4-minute high stick penalty, dad got it done. He took a pass from Shea Theodore, walked in towards the goal and sent a laser of a shot past Martin Jones.
An important Game 3 between the Vegas Golden Knights and the San Jose Sharks would take place in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada. It was the the first playoff game in front of the Golden Knights fans since the disappointing loss in last year’s Stanley Cup Finals.
The excitement started immediately for Vegas fans when Mark Stone scored his fourth goal of the postseason :16 seconds into the game. It was the Golden Knights fastest postseason goal in team history. Vegas had an early edge and took advantage of multiple mistakes by San Jose. Sharks forward Evander Kane took back-to-back penalties leading to a power play goal for Max Pacioretty. Pacioretty’s second goal of the postseason gave the Golden Knights a 2-0 lead. San Jose would tack one on late in the period to cut the lead in half 2-1.
Vegas turned it on quick again out of the break scoring :21 seconds into the second period. Paul Stastny and the second line added another postseason goal to give the Golden Knights a 3-1 lead. Stastny would punch in another goal to give Vegas a 4-1 lead after forty minutes.
For the third straight period the Golden Knights jumped out scoring :36 second into the final period. Stone scored his second of the game and fifth of the postseason to give Vegas a commanding 5-1 lead. However, the four goal lead wouldn’t last long. San Jose added two goals within a minute to get within two. The Sharks threat wouldn’t last as Stone would give the Golden Knights a 6-3 on his first career hat trick.
Vegas leads the best of seven series over San Jose (2-1) with Game 4 coming up on Tuesday. Game 4, scheduled for 730p. (Recap by Jason)
Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. San Jose Sharks in Game 3 of Round 1 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs
Photo Gallery from SinBin.vegas photographer Brandon Andreasen
A look at the difference (if there has been one) in the matchups between home and away at 5-on-5.
Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Max Pacioretty ** Paul Stastny * Mark Stone
The first playoff hat trick in VGK history is Mark Stone!