Ryan Reaves broke a tie during a run of four straight Vegas goals in the third period and the Golden Knights rallied to beat the San Jose Sharks 5-4 on Wednesday night.
Reaves, who had a goal nullified earlier in the game when William Carrier was called for goalie interference, deflected Tomas Nosek’s shot past Devan Dubnyk to give Vegas the lead with his first goal since March 3, 2020.
“Anytime you do anything against the Sharks, it’s fun,” Reaves said. “It’s no secret I hate every one of them over there.”
Cody Glass, Nicolas Hague and Alec Martinez also scored over a roughly eight-minute span when Vegas erased a 3-1 deficit. The Golden Knights improved to 13-1-3 in 17 regular-season meetings with San Jose, including 5-0-0 this season.
Shea Theodore also scored for Vegas, and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 29 shots while making his 17th start in 18 games. Fleury earned his 482nd win and is two victories shy of Ed Belfour, who ranks fourth on the NHL career list.
Matt Nieto, Mario Ferraro, Kevin Labanc and Evander Kane scored for the Sharks. Dubnyk made 32 saves.
It was certainly an uncharacteristic stat sheet for both teams, considering this rivalry generally finds Reaves and Kane chirping at one another, if not dropping the gloves. Instead, Vegas captain Mark Stone and assistant Jonathan Marchessault fought San Jose’s Tomas Hertl and captain Logan Couture, respectively.
“I don’t know if it’s April Fools or St. Patrick’s Day when you see Reaves scoring and Couture and Hertl and Stone and (Marchessault) fighting,” Vegas coach Peter DeBoer said. “It definitely wasn’t a typical game. It was really hard-fought. They’re obviously a desperate team. They don’t want to go 0-5 against us, they’re fighting for a playoff spot. They threw a real good game at us and it took us 40 minutes to kind of get involved.”
Theodore extended his point streak to five games with a missile from the point in the first period, but the Sharks took control in the second period.
Nieto, playing in his 499th career game, backhanded the puck to the top shelf for his fifth goal of the season, tying it at 1. Less than two minutes later it was Ferraro burying the puck with a swift wraparound into the net, giving San Jose its first lead over the Golden Knights in more than 13 periods this season. Labanc extended San Jose’s lead by two goals when he caught Fleury out of position and banked the puck off the netminder for his sixth goal in the last 10 games.
Vegas began its comeback on its fourth power-play opportunity. Off a faceoff win five seconds into the power play, Glass punched home a rebound from Theodore’s blast to get the Golden Knights within one. It was Glass’ fourth of the season — all during a power play. Shortly after Stone and Hertl dropped the gloves, Hague one-timed a laser with a slap shot through traffic from the top to tie it.
A little more than two minutes after Reaves' go-ahead, Martinez extended it to 5-3 with a power-play goal just before the advantage ended.
Kane, who also had two assists, got his 12th goal of the season on a power play. Kane has a point in nine of his last 12 games.
“I take some great things out of both games,” San Jose coach Bob Boughner said. “We’re trending in the right direction, but this really stings right now.”
Vegas goaltender Robin Lehner returned to the lineup to backup up Fleury for the first time since Feb. 7. Lehner revealed after the team’s morning skate the upper-body injury that caused him to miss more than a month was a concussion. The 12-year veteran said it was the third concussion of his career. Lehner has had stops in Ottawa, Buffalo, New York with the Islanders and Chicago before landing in Las Vegas last season.
DeBoer scrambled his lineup when he was forced to scratch regulars Chandler Stephenson and Alex Tuch, plus Nic Holden. Carrier, who was scratched from Monday’s game, returned to the lineup. Tomas Jurco made his team debut for the Golden Knights.
ST. PATRICK’S DAY
San Jose’s Patrick Marleau continued his trek for several milestones over a 23-year career. The 41-year-old forward has skated in 1,750 NHL games, currently third-most in history, and is only 17 games behind Gordie Howe (1,767) for the all-time record. He remains one goal from tying Mats Sundin and Joe Nieuwendyk (564) for 23rd on the career list.
San Jose: Opens a two-game series at home on Friday vs. St. Louis
Vegas: Opens a two-game series in Los Angeles on Friday vs. the Kings.
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