Couture’s OT goal sends Sharks past Golden Knights 2-1
Couture scored 39 seconds into overtime after getting bailed out by goalie Martin Jones and the San Jose Sharks won their season-high sixth straight game, 2-1 over the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday night.
”I was able to make a move on their guy,” Couture said. ”(Marc-Edouard Vlasic) did a good job of driving their backchecker back and I was able to go far side.”
Couture’s goal came at the end of an opening shift of the overtime that started with him losing the puck in his own zone, giving Jonathan Marchessault a chance alone in front. Jones got enough of the shot to stop it, and then Vlasic sent the puck ahead to Couture for the winning goal that moved San Jose within seven points of first-place Vegas with eight games remaining in the regular season.
Brent Burns also scored and Jones made 24 saves to help the Sharks open a four-point lead over third-place Los Angeles in the Pacific Division with a game in hand as the Sharks close in on home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
”For us to get a win tonight was important,” captain Joe Pavelski said. ”Plus, just plant that seed. If we stay hot, you never know, we might be able to catch them and get home ice. We took care of business tonight and we’ll try to keep playing well.”
Tomas Tatar scored the lone goal for the Golden Knights, who were kept in the game by a sterling performance by goalie Malcolm Subban. He stopped 42 shots but it wasn’t enough for Vegas to come up with the win, although he helped earn a point that gave the expansion team 100 this season.
”It’s impressive,” forward James Neal said. ”It’s a great season for our guys. Guys came together real quick. A great job so far but we’re not done yet.”
The Golden Knights struck first on a pretty passing play early in the first period that ended when Marchessault found Tatar cutting through the slot ahead of Justin Braun. Tatar skated past Jones and backhanded the puck into the open net.
Vegas has been dominant when getting off to a lead, posting an NHL-best 31-5-1 record when scoring first heading into this game. But the Sharks carried the play in the second period, outshooting the Golden Knights 18-4 and getting the equalizer on a blast by Burns from the point after another strong shift by San Jose’s fourth line.
”We want to be playing really good hockey this time of year and heading into the playoffs. I think that’s the goal,” coach Peter DeBoer said. ”Whether we would have won tonight or lost, I like how we played for most of the game, so that’s what I’m concentrating on.”
Vegas managed to keep it tied despite the lopsided shot totals, killing off a four-minute penalty to Colin Miller and another late power play that started late in the second.
That penalty carried over until the third period and the Sharks got 25 seconds of a two-man advantage after Brayden McNabb was called for throwing his stick but still couldn’t get anything past Subban.
The Golden Knights squandered a power-play chance later in the period when Miller was called for cross checking with the man advantage. That nearly led to a power-play goal for San Jose but Subban appeared to get a piece of a shot from in close to Joe Pavelski to keep the game tied at 1.
”He’s the main reason we got the point,” coach Gerard Gallant said. ”He looked comfortable.”
NOTES: Vegas G Marc-Andre Fleury didn’t make the trip to San Jose with an undisclosed injury but is expected to join the team for Saturday’s game in Colorado. … Burns became the 15th player to play 500 career games with the Sharks.
Golden Knights: Visit Colorado on Saturday.
Sharks: Host Calgary on Saturday.
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