Mark Stone scored the tiebreaking goal on a power play created by a penalty that negated an apparent San Jose goal and the Vegas Golden Knights responded after blowing a three-goal lead in the first period to beat the Sharks 5-3 on Friday night to tie their playoff series at one game apiece.
The teams packed an entire game into the opening minutes with the Golden Knights scoring three goals in the first 6:11 and the Sharks rallying for three more in the final 3:01 to become the first team in NHL history to tie a playoff game in the first period after falling behind 3-0.
The craziness continued at the start of the second period when the Sharks briefly celebrated an apparent goal in the opening minute by Brent Burns. That quickly turned to frustration when the officials waved off the goal because Logan Couture interfered with Marc-Andre Fleury, giving the Golden Knights the power play.
Stone converted from the slot after a scramble for his third goal of the series and Vegas held on from there, thanks in part to 34 saves from Fleury.
Cody Eakin, Colin Miller and Max Pacioretty all scored in the first period to stake the Golden Knights to the big lead after losing the opener 5-2. William Karlsson added a short-handed goal in the third to ice it.
Game 3 will be Sunday night in Las Vegas.
Couture, Tomas Hertl and Joe Thornton scored for the Sharks, who were doomed by the lackluster start and a poor power play. Martin Jones was pulled for Aaron Dell after allowing three goals on seven shots.
Perhaps even more concerning for San Jose was the fact that defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic left after blocking a shot in the second period and didn’t return. Couture also missed significant time in the second period after being hit in the groin area by a shot but returned for the third.
The Sharks had chances to tie it with an early power play, but allowed a goal on a breakaway from Karlsson instead to fall behind 5-3. They finished 1 for 8 with the man advantage, along with allowing two short-handed goals.
Vegas coach Gerard Gallant had been unhappy with the compete level of his team in the opener, but that wasn’t a problem early as Eakin scored just 58 seconds into the game after being left alone in the slot and the Golden Knights controlling the play early.
They even killed off one minute of a two-man advantage and scored a short-handed goal just after Colin Miller came back on the ice as he stole a back pass from Erik Karlsson and beat Jones on the rush to make it 2-0.
Pacioretty added his goal less than two minutes later after a turnover from Vlasic and it appeared as if the rout was on. Fleury came up with several big saves, even going into a snow angel to stop a flurry in front of his net on a San Jose power play before the game turned following a reckless penalty by Miller that negated a Vegas power play.
The Sharks got on the board during 4-on-4 play with tic-tac-toe passing from Karlsson to Pavelski to Couture, who put the puck into an open net.
Karlsson’s shot from the point on the man advantage deflected off Hertl to make it a one-goal game and Thornton tied it with 52 seconds left in the period when he redirected a pass from Brenden Dillon after Evander Kane’s hustle created the scoring chance.
NOTES: Miller got the nod in Game 2 in place of Nick Holden after sitting in the opener. He scored the short-handed goal, but also took two penalties. … Jones has been pulled in five of 14 career starts against Vegas.
Game 3 is Sunday night in Las Vegas.