For the first time in a little over three weeks, the Vegas Golden Knights find themselves trying to bounce back from a loss.
The Western Conference leaders, who had a nine-game winning streak snapped by the visiting St. Louis Blues on Saturday, host the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.
The nine-game winning streak, which started after a 3-2 home loss to defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado on Oct. 22, was the second-longest in team history for Vegas and just one off the franchise record of 10 wins in a row set in April 2021.
A bad second period that saw St. Louis outshoot the Golden Knights 19-8 and get goals from Ivan Barbashev and Ryan O’Reilly just 40 seconds apart was the difference in the Blues’ 3-2 win. Vegas pushed hard in the third period, finishing with a 22-5 edge in shots on goal, but couldn’t get an equalizer past Jordan Binnington, who finished with 34 saves.
“Got scored on two times in 30 seconds and then chasing from there,” Golden Knights captain Mark Stone said. “Obviously had a good push in the third but couldn’t get them by (Binnington). Probably didn’t deserve to win anyways. Go back to the drawing board and try and start another streak.”
Despite the loss, Vegas still enjoyed a five-point lead in the Pacific Division over the Los Angeles Kings heading into Monday’s action. Only the Boston Bruins (14) have more wins than Vegas (13) in the NHL.
San Jose, which has picked up four of its five wins on the road this season, is coming off a 3-2 shootout victory at Minnesota on Sunday. The Sharks have won back-to-back games for the first time this season under new coach David Quinn.
The Sharks, who held on for a 5-4 victory at Dallas on Friday to snap a five-game losing streak that included three consecutive shootout losses, scored twice in the final 6:04 of regulation to tie the Wild, 2-2, on goals by Steven Lorentz and Nico Sturm. Alexander Barabanov scored the game-winner in the fourth round of the shootout after Nick Bonino tied it in the third round.
“I thought we showed really good character there,” Bonino said of the late comeback. “It’s been a year of adversity so far for everyone. To win like that was pretty fun.”
Quinn was also impressed with his team’s resilience.
“We stuck with it,” Quinn said. “We could have easily got really down and packed it in after we went down 2-0, and we didn’t. We kept coming. … Just really happy and proud of our guys. We really competed, and that was a gutsy win.”
Bonino was asked if the comeback victory could be a turning point for the Sharks after their shaky start.
“I do think we’re trending in the right direction,” Bonino said. “It’s easy to blame things on new management, new coaching, new players, new systems. It wasn’t the most favorable start to the year. … I thought we’ve battled through it. Nobody feels sorry for us. We know we’re going to have to claw wins out here. I thought (Sunday) night was a good example of just sticking with it.”
–Field Level Media