LAS VEGAS (AP)Logan Couture isn’t always following the calendar enough to know who’s next on the San Jose Sharks’ schedule. He knew the Golden Knights were coming, though, because the team uses the Las Vegas trip as part of its annual Father’s Trip.
He made some dads plenty happy Thursday night, scoring in overtime to back 37 save from Aaron Dell in San Jose’s 2-1 victory.
“I can barely remember who we play the next game,” Couture said. “You get in the middle of a season, games just kind of happen.”
This was the first meeting of the Pacific Division rivals since Vegas swept a home-and-home set to open the regular season. The teams have met in the previous two postseasons, splitting those series.
“Any time we play these guys it’s gonna be a tough game,” Couture said. “They’re a very good team. At the end of the year they’re gonna be near the top of the division, so it was a good test for us.”
San Jose is 7-3-0 in November to improve to 11-11-1 overall. It arrived in Vegas eager for a victory after its six-game winning streak was snapped in Tuesday’s home loss to Edmonton.
“I think we all know we’re a good team,” Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson said.
Even when they’re short-handed.
The Sharks played without forward Tomas Hertl, who was a late scratch, resulting in the Sharks using 11 forwards and seven defensemen, rather than the traditional 12/6 ratio. They finished without forward Melker Karlsson and defenseman Radim Simek, both of whom left in the third period.
Much of the credit went to Dell, who had perhaps his best performance of the season against a team that had given him fits in his three prior meetings. Dell came in 0-2-1 with a 4.28 goals against average and an .868 save percentage against the Golden Knights, but he stopped 33 of 34 shots in regulation and four more in overtime.
“It was a great character win,” Dell said. “I think we really showed that it doesn’t matter who’s in and who’s out, that we can get the job done.”
Vegas was thwarted on all three attempts by the league’s best penalty kill. San Jose has been successful on 22 of its last 24 penalty kills.
“Our PK was good tonight again,” Karlsson said. “I don’t think they created anything more than a few chances here and there, which is gonna happen. Overall it’s been one of the best parts of our game.”
Timo Meier scored early in the second period for San Jose, and Brayden McNabb tied it midway through the third.
Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, coming off a highlight-reel save Tuesday, stopped 27 shots.
“We played pretty good,” Fleury said. “We’re at home. We��re playing against them, too, so we always want to beat them, but at least we battled back to get that point.”
After a physical start, including a first period that featured 29 combined hits and 20 shots on goal, Meier showed off his strength by holding off defenseman Nate Schmidt. He backhanded the puck past Fleury 1:26 into the second.
McNabb scored and invigorated Vegas midway through the third, when he fired a shot from the top of the right circle and beat Dell glove side with his second goal of the season. Both of the defenseman’s goals this season have come against San Jose.
NOTES: Vegas F Paul Stastny is now two games away from playing in the 900th of his career. … Fans chanted “pay your marker” at San Jose F Evander Kane following recent allegations by The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas that he owes the casino $500,000 in gambling debt. … Dan O’Halloran, one of the two referees in Game 7 of last season’s Western Conference quarterfinal series between Vegas and San Jose, was on the ice. O’Halloran was one of the two referees assigned to Game 7, which included a disputed major penalty call on Knights center Cody Eakin that ignited San Jose’s come-from-behind win in overtime. … Vegas was 2-for-2 with its penalty kill after allowing at least one power-play goal in five of its last seven games. … Vegas F Ryan Reaves, who leads the league with 120 hits and is averaging 5.0 hits per game, registered 12 – his highest total with the Golden Knights.
Sharks: Host Islanders on Saturday.
Golden Knights: Host Edmonton on Saturday.
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