Sharks invade Vegas with chance to clinch postseason (Mar 31, 2018)
LAS VEGAS -- The Vegas Golden Knights finish the regular-season home schedule of their inaugural season on Saturday night against the San Jose Sharks with a number of Fan Appreciation Week promotions.
Among other things, after the game, players will hand-deliver their game-worn jerseys to select fans. And those could prove to be quite valuable if Vegas (49-22-7, 105) can garner at least one point against the Sharks.
The Golden Knights, who have already earned a berth in the Stanley Cup playoffs, can clinch the Pacific Division title with one more point in their final four games. And what better place to do it than at T-Mobile Arena before finishing the regular season with a three-game western Canadian road trip to Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary?
"We're trying to get as many points as we can," Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said. "Somebody told me we're one point away from clinching our division. That's what the goal is. Let's keep battling hard and playing hard and win as many games as we can."
It will be a quick turnaround for Vegas, which needed overtime on Friday night before defeating the St. Louis Blues, 4-3, as Jonathan Marchessault scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner 22 seconds into the extra period.
The win helped to rinse some of the bad taste out of the mouths of the Golden Knights, who lost to Arizona, 3-2, at home in a lackluster performance two nights earlier.
"Tonight, I was really happy with our performance, the way we competed and battled," Gallant said. "I knew St. Louis was going to play that type of hockey game. They're a team fighting for points, fighting for playoff position so you knew they were coming in hard. I was happy with it because it looked like a playoff game tonight."
San Jose (44-24-10, 98) also has a lot riding on the contest. The Sharks, coming in off a tough 5-3 loss at Western Conference-leading Nashville on Thursday night, can clinch a playoff berth for the 13th time in 14 years with a victory.
"We've been playing playoff hockey I think for the last 10 or 15 games now," defenseman Brenden Dillon said. "With this streak we have going (9-1-1), we've really put an emphasis on every night on not where the teams are in the standings and just being big-time games and showing up."
"I think we've felt all year that we can play with anybody," San Jose coach Peter DeBoer said. "We still don't have our whole lineup out there yet but I don't think there's any doubt that we can play with anybody else."
San Jose holds a four-point lead over the Los Angeles Kings for second place in the Pacific Division and has a game in hand.
The Golden Knights and Sharks have played three games this season with two of them going into overtime. Vegas won the first meeting, 5-4, in overtime on a goal by Marchessault on Nov. 24 at T-Mobile Arena and followed that up with a 5-3 win at San Jose on Feb. 8. The Sharks won the last meeting on March 22 at home, 2-1, on Logan Couture's goal 39 seconds into OT.