Published Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021 | 3:47 p.m.
Updated Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021 | 5:16 p.m.
The Golden Knights started the season slow on the power play, not scoring with the man advantage until the fourth game of the season. And through the initial 11 games of the season, they were only scoring at 14.3% on the power play.
But Vegas scored three times on the power-play Saturday — the first game this season it connected more than once — in a 3-1 victory against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center.
“We scored off the rush, we scored different ways and that’s what makes us dangerous,” forward Cody Glass said. “We can score any way.”
The Golden Knights scored on their first three power-play opportunities, courtesy of forwards Jonathan Marchessault, Mark Stone and Chandler Stephenson. It was the sixth time in franchise history Vegas had at least three-power play goals in a game.
Marchessault scored his goal from inches outside the crease, redirecting a floating puck into the net. Stephenson was in the right spot, as Alex Tuch’s pass bounced off his skate and in.
One the other power-play goal, Stone passed the puck to Glass, who was positioned to the right of the San Jose net. Glass turned the corner around the post and instead of looking for a pass, jammed the puck right into goalie Martin Jones’ pad.
The idea was to create mayhem in front of the net with a flurry of sticks and bodies. His shot kicked to William Karlsson, whose rebound went to a crashing Stone for the back-handed goal.
It was a savvy move from Glass for the secondary assist was his third power-play point of the season and seventh point overall in eight games.
“One of the plays is jamming the net and kind of just simplifying everything,” Glass said. “Once we get to the net we have five guys going in and like the goal that we scored, it was kind of similar to that.”
Now the rivalry.
Marchessault said Friday he thought the sparks had tempered between these teams, having not played in a full year. The Golden Knights also reached the Western Conference Final last year and the Sharks missed the playoffs, and it’s tough to keep a rivalry going when teams are in different places like that.
Then the game started.
Vegas’ Ryan Reaves and San Jose’s Evander Kane appear to have a genuine animosity that goes beyond on-ice dislike, and they were charged for coincidental minor penalties in the first period.
Kane was in the middle of things again in the third after a big hit and a scrap with Golden Knights forward Reilly Smith, who does not typically have fighting as part of his game.
Tuch told AT&T SportsNet in the postgame show that the Golden Knights took exception to the hit on Smith, and that Kane will “have to keep his head up every game we play,” and that he “better be looking over his shoulder” in the next seven games the two teams are scheduled to meet.
It’s always something when the Golden Knights get together, something players noticed after the game.
“As the game went on, you saw some good hits out there, after the whistle, guys in guys’ faces and stuff,” said goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who made 24 saves in the victory. “With no fans too it takes some of the emotions away, but it’s still always fun to play them and battle them and obviously win those games.”
It was Pete DeBoer’s first experience with it from the other side. Including preseason and postseason, Saturday was the 32nd time Vegas and San Jose have met since the Golden Knights’ inaugural season. DeBoer was on the Sharks’ bench for the first 31 as their coach of five years.
He was dismissed in December 2019 and hired by Vegas a month later. Saturday was the first time he returned to SAP Center since his firing. DeBoer was pleased to return to San Jose for a few reasons, but he was mostly just happy leave with a win.
“These games are never easy when you’re coming back into a situation like this,” DeBoer said. “I’ll be honest with you, it was great to catch up with people here that I’ve got a lot of time and respect for and really went through a lot of wars with over the four, five years I was here. So that was the nice part.
“I think the game, you just want to get through it and get out. Obviously glad to win.”