Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (29). File photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo
The unprecedented success enjoyed by the Vegas Golden Knights in their inaugural season carried over into the second round of their first playoff run.
Now that the San Jose Sharks have home-ice advantage after a dramatic win, the question is how will Vegas bounce back from its first taste of postseason adversity?
The best-of-seven series between the Golden Knights and the Sharks shifts to Silicon Valley, starting with Game 3 on Monday night.
Vegas blanked the Los Angeles Kings twice and limited them to three goals in a first-round sweep. The winning ways continued as three-time Stanley Cup winner Marc-Andre Fleury posted his third shutout during this postseason, 7-0 over the Sharks in Game 1 on Thursday.
San Jose evened the series with a 4-3 victory in double overtime on Saturday. Fleury posted 43 saves, but Logan Couture notched the game-winner -- his second goal of the night -- eight seconds after Vegas defenseman Jon Merrill was sent off for hooking.
Less than 24 hours later, Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland refuses to dwell on the defeat.
"It's a new day today," he said Sunday. "We lost. You didn't expect to go through playoffs not losing a game. We've just got to take what we can from last game and get back at it tomorrow night."
While San Jose rallied from a two-goal deficit with three straight goals in the second period and overcame a tying goal from Nate Schmidt late in regulation, Sharks defenseman Brent Burns reminded everyone that there's still a lot of hockey to be played.
"It's just one game," Burns said. "Obviously we had to win it, but it's one game."
Vegas coach Gerard Gallant didn't rip his team for the effort but said they need to be better prepared.
"We didn't show up for 45 minutes tonight," he said Saturday. "We didn't play a good game tonight. We played a great game the other night, and competed and battled, and tonight we didn't show up to play our game tonight, and it cost us big time."
Vegas went 1-0-1 at the Shark Tank during the regular season.
On Feb. 8, the Golden Knights exploded with three straight goals in the final 10:24 en route to 5-3 win. On March 22, Tomas Tatar scored early, but the Sharks answered with a goal from Burns before Couture scored 39 seconds into overtime to lift San Jose to a 2-1 win.
Sharks coach Peter DeBoer noted that Saturday's win was a result of keeping true to the same message that has been communicated throughout the season.
"I think we've always taken the approach all year that we play our game and at the end of the day, good things happen," he said.
A key to San Jose knotting the series was Martin Jones having a short memory. After yielding five goals on 13 shots in Game 1, he didn't face more than eight shots in any period in Game 2 and finished with 26 saves.
"My confidence isn't going to get shaken from one bad game. It's not the first time I've had a bad game. You put that behind you. It's why you have a routine," said Jones, who stopped 75 of 77 shots at home in Games 3 and 4 of the Sharks' first-round sweep of the Anaheim Ducks.
One player who has been hard to stop in the postseason is Vegas center William Karlsson. He scored twice in Game 2, giving him seven points (three goals, four assists) in a four-game points streak.
Karlsson enjoyed a breakout season with career highs of 43 goals and 35 assists.
San Jose is expected to have winger Evander Kane back in the lineup after he served a one-game suspension for cross-checking Golden Knights center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare in Game 1.
Acquired at the Feb. 26 trade deadline from the Buffalo Sabres, Kane had eight of his 14 points with the Sharks at SAP Center.
That's also where Game 4 is scheduled Wednesday night.