It will be one of the most talked-about hockey games ever, and the most insane game the Golden Knights have ever played.
The San Jose Sharks won the game 5-4 in overtime, and won the series in seven games.
Barclay Goodrow was the hero, getting a partial breakaway and tucking it behind Marc-Andre Fleury with 1:41 until double overtime.
Overtime was not short of chances, even though it took that long to score. Alex Tuch had a look with nothing but the net in his sights. Timo Meier pulled Marc-Andre Fleury out of position but couldn't pull the trigger, and was then stoned on a redirect.
Meier had another chance with 7:34 remaining, kicking a rebound to his stick and firing toward the post, but Fleury got just enough of it to keep the game alive.
The third period is what will have everyone talking. A five-minute major penalty assessed to Cody Eakin led to four Sharks power-play goals, surging them back to a 4-3 lead. It turned the game on its head, a game that became even crazier when Jonathan Marchessault scored with 47 seconds left to tie it.
It was highly debated call, with many wondering if Eakin should have been penalized as heavily. He was called for high-sticking Joe Pavelski, who hit the ice and did not move for several moments before trainers helped him up and cleaned blood off the ice.
Rest assured, it's a play that will be talked about for quite some time.
Wild third period ends in 4-4 tie
You can watch a million hockey games in your life, and you may never see anything as crazy as what happened in the third period of Tuesday night's Game 7.
The Sharks trailed 3-0 in the third period and looked ready to pack up for the summer. Then Cody Eakin committed a five-minute major and the Sharks scored four times in 4:01 and went from having no life to taking a 4-3 lead.
The Golden Knights had a late power play, but did not convert, then Jonathan Marchessault tied the game with 47 seconds left in the game, sending one of the wildest games in Golden Knights history to overtime, tied 4-4.
First it was Logan Couture on the major for San Jose, stirring the home crowd. Then it was Tomas Hertl, waking them up. Then it was Couture again, blowing the roof off the arena. Then it was Kevin Labanc, shaking the building to its foundation.
It liked like Vegas was going to roll with a victory. Max Pacioretty scored at 3:36 of the third to Vegas what looked like an insurmountable lead. Marc-Andre Fleury was a brick wall and the Golden Knights had found their momentum.
The Sharks led in shots on goal after regulation 34-29.
Golden Knights close in on series win
The Golden Knights continued to play with fire in the second period, but they got out of it unburnt and even did some damage the other way. Cody Eakin scored the period's only goal and Vegas doubled its lead to 2-0 going into the second intermission of Game 7 against the San Jose Sharks.
A disputed goal is still a goal. The Golden Knights put one in the net at the midpoint of the second period, which was subject to review. Cody Eakin looked like he deflected the puck with his stick above the crossbar, but review confirmed the call of good goal and Vegas led 2-0.
Brayden McNabb had the shot, and Shea Theodore also picked up an assist.
As if things weren't already going the Golden Knights' way, Sharks forward Timo Meier found himself on a partial break 28 seconds later. He went high-glove on Marc-Andre Fleury, who picked it out of the air to maintain the Vegas lead.
Fleury was on his game for the Golden Knights, batting away all 20 shots in the opening 40 minutes. San Jose played better than the score indicated, coming in hot with multiple odd-man rushes in the second. A few missed the net, but Fleury was there for the rest.
San Jose still held the edge in shots on goal, 20-14.
Golden Knights take 1-0 lead after first
The coaches got their jabs in before the game, but once the game started it was all about the action on the ice.
The San Jose Sharks were the better team for most of the period, but it was the Golden Knights who scored first and took a 1-0 lead after one period of Game 7 at SAP Center.
Vegas' start to the game was as far from the script as it could have asked for. Two penalties early and a 7-2 deficit in shots on goal, yet the Golden Knights struck first.
William Karlsson netted it at 10:10, collecting a rebound from a Reilly Smith shot that landed right in front of the crease and on Karlsson stick. It was his second goal of the series, Smith's fourth assist and Jonathan Marchessault's second assist.
The Golden Knights started the game with two penalties in the first 4:15 of the game, first Colin Miller for a hook, then Brayden McNabb for a cross-check. Neither resulted in a Sharks goal, though a Brent Burns shot caused a flurry on the rebound.
Even the Golden Knights' first power play ended in a penalty. Vegas got the extra man when Erik Karlsson hit the box for tripping, but Alex Tuch's interference penalty ended the advantage.
Vegas was 3-for-3 on the penalty kill in the first.
The Sharks led in shots on goal 11-4.
The animosity between the Golden Knights and San Jose Sharks has reached a new peak ahead of their Game 7 duel at 7 p.m.
Vegas coach Gerard Gallant took exception to Sharks coach Peter DeBoer and forward Logan Couture telling San Jose media Monday that Gallant trash-talks players on the ice.
Gallant called DeBoer a "clown" during his post-morning skate news conference at SAP Center today.
“I really don’t want to talk about that, but I think I’m going to have to a little bit because, you know, for that clown to say that in the paper yesterday, it’s not right," Gallant said. "If I’m going to be a chirper and a loud mouth, I think people know me as a coach and respect me as a coach and if he’s going to yap about that, that’s a little nonclassy for me.”
Gallant clarified there were two instances that may have drawn the Sharks' ire. Gallant yelled at a referee that Couture embellished a penalty and Gallant claims he was yelling at the referee and not Couture; and when Evander Kane told Gallant to put Ryan Reaves on the ice, he responded in kind.
Here is DeBoer's initial comment, via The Athletic:
“There’s still chatter. Their coach is chattering, he’s probably doing the most chattering,” DeBoer said on Monday. “He’s talking to our players constantly during the game, which I … I haven’t seen before. That’s probably where most of the chatter is coming from now. The players are playing.”
After all that, there is a still a game to be played. The Golden Knights dropped Game 1, then won the next three to take a 3-1 series lead. The Sharks roared back with a Game 5 win on home ice, then outlasted the Golden Knights in Las Vegas in a double-overtime classic.
The Golden Knights said there are no lingering doubts about losing their 3-1 advantage and that it's an opportunity to win the first Game 7 in franchise history.
"It's zero-zero, first one to one," Vegas forward Cody Eakin said. "That fourth one is the hardest to get. We knew from the start that it wasn't going to be easy. They're a team that has been really making a push to have a long playoff run here. Game 7, anything can happen."
The importance of scoring first in this series has taken on a new level as well. The team that netted the first goal has not only won every game, there have been no lead changes in this series. Only twice in the series has there been a tie after a goal was scored.
Starting fast is paramount in any game. In this one, it might mean the difference between going on and going home.
"We have to be ready to go right form puck drop," Golden Knights defenseman Shea Theodore said. "Scoring first obviously is big, but I think more or less playing the right way and playing a full game."
Western Conference first round
Series: Tied 3-3
TV: AT&T Sports Net (DirecTV 684, Cox 1313, CenturyLink 1760)
Radio: Fox Sports 1340 AM and 98.9 FM
Betting line: Golden Knights plus-102, Sharks minus-112; over/under: 6 (minus-110, minus-100)
Golden Knights (3-3) (1-2 road), 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, Shea Theodore (6)
Expected goalie: Marc-Andre Fleury (2.47 gaa, .912 save percentage)
Sharks (3-3) (2-1 home), Pacific Division No. 2 seed
Coach: Peter DeBoer (fourth season)
Points leader: Erik Karlsson (7)
Goals leaders: Tomas Hertl (5)
Assists leader: Erik Karlsson (7)
Expected goalie: Martin Jones (3.23 gaa, .906 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
Nate Schmidt, Deryk Engelland, Brayden McNabb, Shea Theodore, Jon Merrill, Colin Miller
Marc-Andre Fleury, Malcolm Subban