A power play in double overtime usually means the end of the game. It did Sunday, just not in the way anyone expected.
Tomas Hertl, who guaranteed there would be a Game 7, scored a short-handed goal 11:17 into double overtime. The Golden Knights fell to the San Jose Sharks, 2-1 at T-Mobile Arena in Game 6.
The Golden Knights lived in the Sharks' zone for the first half of the second overtime, firing the first seven shots of the period at Martin Jones. The seventh was his 57th save of the game, a San Jose franchise record for a postseason game.
The Sharks got their first shot of the period at 8:35, a Brent Burns slap shot from the point that Marc-Andre Fleury swallowed up.
Vegas led in shots on goal, 59-29.
Overtime doesn't decide it
One overtime wasn't enough. For the first time this postseason, a double overtime was needed, as the Golden Knights and Sharks finished up the extra period, still tied 1-1.
The wildest moment came on a Sharks flurry with three minutes left. Marc-Andre Fleury ended up on his back and Jon Merrill and Colin Miller jumped in the crease to help keep the puck out of the net.
Down at the other end, Brayden McNabb laid out Joonas Donskoi with a monster hit, and the Golden Knights failed to capitalize on their scoring chances.
Two minutes into the overtime, Kevin Labanc danced around the Vegas defense with a chance to win it. His shot went off Marc-Andre Fleury's chest, only the 20th save the Vegas goalie needed to make.
The Golden Knights had a couple good looks soon after. First Reilly Smith shopped at a puck off a William Karlsson feed that went just to the left of the net. Brayden McNabb fired one from the slot that Martin Jones saved.
The Golden Knights shortened their bench in the overtime, relying heavily on their top six and neglecting the fourth line until more than seven minutes into the period. Max Pacioretty had the top six's first grade-A look, whipping a slot shot into Jones' pads.
Both teams started off cautious, as each side had only two shots on goal in the first 10 minutes of overtime.
Vegas led in final shots on goal after the first overtime 51-28.
No goals in third, game heads to overtime
It's only fitting that the biggest game of the season is headed to overtime. The nervous energy inside T-Mobile Arena was apparent all period, and after 60 minutes of action, the Golden Knights and Sharks needed overtime, tied 1-1.
The Golden Knights came out of the tunnel for the third like they were shot out of a cannon. They killed off the 50 seconds remaining on Jonathan Marchessault's penalty with ease, then assaulted the San Jose net with eight shots on goal in the first three minutes of the frame.
All period the Golden Knights controlled play but couldn't finish the job. They had 17 shots on goal and held the Sharks to four, but no dice. Sharks goalie Martin Jones turned in his best performance of the postseason, saving 43 shots in regulation.
Vegas' bets look came on a Tomas Nosek breakaway at the end of the period, but Brenden Dillon saved the Sharks' season by swatting the puck away without drawing a penalty.
It is the first overtime of the series.
Marchessault ties it in second
T-Mobile Arena was looking for a reason to explode. The Golden Knights trailed and needed someone to step up.
Jonathan Marchessault happily obliged. Marchessault's goal re-energized the home crowd, and sent the game into the third period in a 1-1 tie.
The Golden Knights caused a flurry in front of Martin Jones near the midpoint of the period, popping four shots on him in seven seconds. The third was Shea Theodore's, a shot low off the pads that bounced to Marchessault, who put home Vegas' first goal on the fourth shot of the sequence at 11:20.
It was the first 5-on-5 goal for the top line this series. William Karlsson picked up a secondary assist.
The Golden Knights had their first power play of the game in the second, but did not convert on any of their three shot attempts. None of them reached the net.
Near the end of the period, the Golden Knights caught San Jose defenseman Justin Braun in a bad pinch, sending a 3-on-1 at the San Jose net. Reilly Smith looked for the pass to Marchessault, who had a wide-open net if the pass is through. Marc-Edouard Vasic broke it up, and Marchessault drew a slash to send the Sharks to the power play.
The Sharks will have 50 seconds of power-play time to start the third.
The Golden knights commanded the period, and fired 17 shots on goal. They lead for the game, 27-16.
Sharks score late in first
The team that has scored first has won every game this series. If that's the case, the Sharks have Game 6 in the bag.
San Jose beat the buzzer in the first period, scoring with 6.5 seconds left to grab a 1-0 lead after one period.
Logan Couture had the goal for San Jose, plucking the puck away from Deryk Engelland in the neutral zone and taking care of it himself, whipping the puck by Marc-Andre Fleury on the last ful play of the period.
Both sides had good looks in the opening 20 minutes, but neither side found the back of the net as the Golden knights and San Jose Sharks went to the first intermission in a 0-0 tie.
The Golden Knights missed two shots on the empty net while Martin Jones was out of position. Mark Stone was first, shooting wide on a back-hander early in the period, and Tomas Nosek missed on the forehand with six minutes left in the frame.
The Sharks had the lone power play of the period, and had one shot on goal. The Vegas penalty killers did a good job against San Jose's top unit, not allowing the Sharks to set anything up until most of the penalty was already gone.
Vegas led in shots on goal 10-9.
When tonight's game ends, the Golden Knights will have one of two things happen that has never happened before. They will either clinch a playoff round on home ice or they will prepare to play a Game 7.
Vegas had a chance to finish the series Thursday, but fell short, and will look to fend off a desperate San Jose Sharks team as they try to clinch the series at 4 p.m. in Game 6 at T-Mobile Arena.
"It would great for us and the crowd too, so hopefully we can get it done," forward William Karlsson said. "Today is another opportunity to eliminate them and move on and that's what we want to do."
The good news is the Golden Knights dominated in both home games this series, outscoring San Jose 11-3 in Games 3 and 4. The Sharks came back to life on home ice in Game 5, scoring early then running away from Vegas.
A loss puts the Golden Knights in a tough spot. Not only will they have squandered a two-game advantage in the series, they would have to play the revitalized Sharks on the road in a winner-take-all Game 7. The good news is Vegas faced the Sharks in Game 6 of last year's Western Conference second round, and won 3-0.
The importance of tonight's game is not lost on the Golden Knights, and they plan on treating the game like they are the ones on the brink of elimination.
"We're trying to win every night and tonight would be a great time to do it," defenseman Jon Merrill said. "To bring that competitive level and to match that energy that we know they're going to play with is important. I think that in front of this crowd tonight, guys will be ready to go and we'll be firing on all cylinders."
While he's had his troubles on the defensive side of the puck this series, Erik Karlsson still remains an offensive threat from the Sharks' blue line. He has seven assists this series, more than any one else on either team. His passing has not slipped even if he is not fully healthy, and he had two assists in Game 5 to help keep San Jose alive.
"You got to be aware of passes that might not be there for other players but for him they're going to be there because he's that good," \William Karlsson said. "I think he's a constant threat."
Western Conference first round
Series: Golden Knights lead 3-2
TV: AT&T Sports Net (DirecTV 684, Cox 1313, CenturyLink 1760)
Radio: Fox Sports 1340 AM and 98.9 FM
Betting line: Golden Knights minus-190, Sharks plus-165; over/under: 6.5 (minus-100, minus-120)
Golden Knights (3-2) (2-0 home), Pacific Division No. 3 seed
Coach: Gerard Gallant (second season)
Points leader: Max Pacioretty, Mark Stone (10)
Goals leader: Mark Stone (6)
Assists leader: Max Pacioretty, Paul Stastny (6)
Expected goalie: Marc-Andre Fleury (2.82 gaa, .908 save percentage)
Sharks (2-3) (0-2 road), Pacific Division No. 2 seed
Coach: Peter DeBoer (fourth season)
Points leader: Erik Karlsson (7)
Goals leaders: Tomas Hertl (4)
Assists leader: Erik Karlsson (7)
Expected goalie: Martin Jones (4.37 gaa, .866 save percentage)
Golden Knights expected lineup
Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson, Reilly Smith, Max Pacioretty, Paul Stastny, Mark Stone, Tomas Nosek, Cody Eakin, Alex Tuch, William Carrier, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Ryan Reaves
Brayden McNabb, Nate Schmidt, Shea Theodore, Deryk Engelland, Jon Merrill, Colin Miller
Marc-Andre Fleury, Malcolm Subban