LAS VEGAS (AP)Thomas Bordeleau scored the only goal in a shootout and the San Jose Sharks rallied late for a 5-4 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday night.
Vegas squandered a 4-2 lead with a little more than two minutes left in regulation, as Nick Bonino scored his second goal of the game at 17:54 of the third period and Timo Meier added the equalizer with 0.9 seconds remaining to silence what moments before was a raucous crowd of 18,367.
Vegas settled for one point instead of two, and the stunning defeat damaged its fading playoff hopes with three games left in the season. Dallas can eliminate the Golden Knights by beating them in regulation Tuesday.
”Definitely a devastating loss, but we’re still in it,” said Vegas captain Mark Stone, who fired wide of an empty net with a shot that would have put the Golden Knights up two with 46 seconds remaining.
The Golden Knights outshot San Jose 6-1 in overtime, but Sharks goalie James Reimer was stellar in keeping everything out of the net – including three shots on goal during a Vegas power play.
San Jose, already eliminated from postseason contention, snapped an 11-game losing streak against the Golden Knights.
”It’s tough to compare what just happened for us to winning a playoff game, but the emotion in the locker room from our side, it was pretty awesome in that room right there,” Bonino said.
Tomas Hertl also scored for San Jose, and Bordeleau got the shootout winner in his fifth NHL game. Reimer stopped 42 shots.
”I’ve never seen the room as happy and as joyful,” Sharks coach Bob Boughner said.
Chandler Stephenson and Nic Roy each had a goal and an assist, and Max Pacioretty and William Carrier also scored for Vegas. Logan Thompson made 25 saves in his 17th NHL appearance, getting the nod over veteran Robin Lehner.
”He’s one of the best goaltenders in the American league,” Golden Knights coach Peter DeBoer said. ”So he’s been in situations like this where you lose and you’ve got to bounce back the next night. I’m not worried about him. We’ve got a good room. I don’t think there’s one guy in that room that’s pinning this on him. He made some exceptional saves tonight at key times for us.”
Thompson replaced Lehner in the second period of Wednesday’s 4-3 overtime win against Washington. Though reports surfaced that Lehner would undergo season-ending surgery, DeBoer said Friday and Saturday he expected the goalie to be available. Lehner was the backup on Sunday.
With a lot of traffic in front of Thompson’s net, Hertl snapped a loose puck top shelf to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead just past the midway point of the first period.
Vegas wasted no time with its first power-play opportunity moments later. The Golden Knights were able to get the puck to the front of the net, and after Stone’s initial shot was stuffed by Reimer, Stephenson was there to smack home the rebound to make it 1-all.
The Golden Knights came out firing with early pressure in the second, but Reimer was outstanding in stopping their first five shots. Pacioretty then dared the challenge of a 1-on-3 rush.
Leaking through the Sharks and darting around San Jose defenseman Nicolas Meloche with a power move to the inside, Pacioretty snapped the puck into the upper corner to give Vegas a 2-1 lead.
Later in the period, Vegas forward Keegan Kolesar delivered a nifty drop pass via backhand across the slot, where Carrier was in position to deposit a welcome-back goal after missing the previous 10 games, pushing the Golden Knights’ lead to 3-1.
Bonino made it a one-goal game late in the second when he tipped in the redirect of Jaycob Megna’s shot from the point.
Shortly after failing to convert on its third power play, Vegas was able to keep the pressure in the Sharks’ zone. Showing incredible patience behind the net, William Karlsson fed Roy in the slot for a perfect opportunity to notch his 15th goal of the season and put the Golden Knights in front 4-2.
But they couldn’t hold on.
”There’s no time to sulk. We have a game against a team that we’re chasing in two days,” Pacioretty said. ”As Mark said, we win that game, anything can happen.”
San Jose: Hosts Anaheim on Tuesday.
Vegas: Begins a season-ending, three-game road trip in Dallas on Tuesday.
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