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December 14, 2017

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Blog: Marchessault, Golden Knights beat Sharks in overtime

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AP Photo / John Locher

San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton (19) skates around Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt (88) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Nov. 24, 2017, in Las Vegas.

Updated Friday, Nov. 24, 2017 | 6:27 p.m.

Jonathan Marchessault slipped the puck past San Jose goalie Aaron Dell just before the net was knocked off its pegs, giving the Golden Knights their fourth overtime win of the season Friday night at T-Mobile Arena.

It's the eighth straight home win, and brings Vegas' record at T-Mobile Arena to 9-1-0 on the season.

The Golden Knights surrendered a commanding 4-1 lead in the second period, but fought to a scoreless third period where they allowed only three shots on goal, and won the game in overtime.

In the win, Vegas lost David Perron who missed the end of the game and is day-to-day with an upper body injury according to head coach Gerard Gallant.

The San Jose Sharks scored three straight goals to end the second period Friday night at T-Mobile Arena to draw even with the Golden Knights.

Vegas jumped out to a 4-1 lead behind two goals from William Karlsson, but the lead wouldn’t last.

Sharks’ star defender Brent Burns scored his first goal of the season with a shot from the blue line that found its way past Maxime Lagace to make it 4-2. San Jose then scored two goals in the final five minutes of the period to make it 4-4.

Mikkel Boedker scored on the power play with only 50 seconds left to tie it.

Golden Knights lead 2-1 after first period

The Golden Knights continued their trend of fast starts at home, racing out to a quick 2-0 lead over the San Jose Sharks Friday night.

Shea Theodore scored the first goal of his Golden Knights career to give the Golden Knights a 1-0 lead. The goal was set up by a great move by Cody Eakin, who curled around the Sharks' zone and dropped the puck off for Theodore. The 22-year-old fired a wrist shot past Sharks goalie Martin Jones only 2:33 into the game.

James Neal then lasered a shot into the top corner for his 11th goal of the season. That goal came on a power play after Justin Braun was called for hooking.

The Sharks would answer, though, as Tomas Hertl jumped on a puck in front of the net and backhanded it past Maxime Lagace to cut Vegas’ lead to 2-1 at the first intermission.

The Golden Knights dominated play early, outshooting San Jose 11-1 at one point, but the Sharks had seven of the the final eight shots to end the period.

Pre game

As everyone recovers from their Thanksgiving food hangover, here’s an interesting NHL stat to chew on.

Since the salary-cap era began in 2005, 78.4 percent of teams in playoff position by the fourth Thursday in November have qualified for the playoffs at the end of the season. Last year, 13 of the 16 teams in playoff position on Thanksgiving made the playoffs, and 12 of them made it in 2015.

It’s significant because one of the teams currently in the playoff picture are the first-place Vegas Golden Knights.

The team wasn’t expected to make the playoffs for years, and certainly not in their inaugural season, but 20 games into the season they are atop the division with two games in hand over the Los Angeles Kings.

“It’s a big step for us to be there right now but we also know we have so much work to do,” said Golden Knights’ forward David Perron. “We aren’t even close.”

Perron, who leads the Golden Knights with 19 points, remembers playing as a rookie on a St. Louis Blues team that was in playoff position at Thanksgiving and didn’t make it to the postseason.

“We just want to compete,” Perron said. “When I talked with Flower (Marc-Andre Fleury) during the summer, I told him I just want us to be in it the whole year. We come to the rink, it’s almost December and we are in the hunt. We are having fun playing hockey and we are in a good mood.”

A huge reason why the Golden Knights find themselves in this spot is their spectacular start to division play. Vegas is 5-1 in the Division including wins in their last three games over the Canucks, Kings and Ducks.

“You have to get up for your games and you want to work for home ice, especially the way we play on our home rink,” said Golden Knights leading scorer James Neal. “Divisional games have a little extra motivation to get up for to try to earn that.”

Which brings us to the next reason, and that’s an NHL-best 8-1-0 record at home for the Golden Knights.

“It’s a good, intimate building for sure,” Neal said. “The way it’s set up the fans are right there. It’s a tough building to play in for opponents and our fans have been loud and into it.”

Tonight the Golden Knights host the San Jose Sharks, who are currently fifth in the Pacific Division. It’s another big game in a long line of them if the Golden Knights want to keep from being the 21.6 percent of teams that falter down the stretch.

“I think right from day one when we looked at our lineup we knew we were going to be competitive and push for a playoff spot, but it’s really hard to make the playoffs,” Neal said. “Teams are close and you can’t have off nights.”

Another thing that could hurt the Golden Knights’ chances of making the playoffs, is general manager George McPhee trading key players. McPhee’s still has to do what’s best for the future of the team and that could mean trading players that are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents after this season for draft picks.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie said last week that McPhee is already getting calls for Neal and Perron.

The one thing that could force McPhee to hold on to his veterans is continued success, and the players know that.

“We know what kind of team we have,” Perron said. “We have to keep winning if we want to maybe force a few decisions from George (McPhee) to maybe keep a few guys around.”

Prediction : Golden Knights 5, Sharks 3

Season record for predictions: 11-8

Puck drops: 3:00 p.m.

Where: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas

Radio: Fox Sports 1340 AM and 98.9 FM

TV: AT&T SportsNet (DirecTV 684, Cox 1313, CenturyLink Prism 1760, Dish Network 5414)

Betting line: Golden Knights minus-105, Total 6 minus-120 to the under

Golden Knights (13-6-1) (8-1-0 home)

Coach: Gerard Gallant

Goal leader: James Neal (11)

Assist leader: David Perron (13)

Expected goalie: Maxime Lagace (5-5-1, 3.51 goals against average)

San Jose Sharks (11-8-1) (5-2-0 away)

Coach: Peter DeBoer

Goal leader: Logan Couture (12)

Assist leader: Tomas Hertl and Joe Thorton (8)

Expected goalie: Martin Jones (9-5-1, 2.03 goals against average)

Golden Knights game day roster

Forwards (12): Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, William Carrier, Cody Eakin, Erik Haula, William Karlsson, Brendan Leipsic, Oscar Lindberg, Jonathan Marchessault, James Neal, David Perron, Reilly Smith and Alex Tuch.

Defensemen (6): Deryk Engelland, Brad Hunt, Brayden McNabb, Colin Miller, Nate Schmidt and Shea Theodore.

Goalies (2): Maxime Lagace and Malcolm Subban

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