Golden Knights, Lightning close out playoff series

BC-HKN--Sharks-Golden Knights,1st Ld-Writethru

BC-HKN--Sharks-Golden Knights,1st Ld-Writethru

The Vegas Golden Knights have made plenty of history so far this season, making the playoffs in their inaugural year, getting their first playoff win in their first game, becoming the first NHL, MLB or National Basketball Association expansion team to sweep a series in their first year, and now, advancing to the Western Conference finals thanks to a 3-0 win in a road Game Six against the San Jose Sharks Sunday night. (Especially considering that the National Hockey League was only four teams deep at that time.) And while the 1967-68 St. Louis Blues made the Stanley Cup Final, they did so thanks to playing in a division composed exclusively of expansion teams; they were swept in four games by the Original Six Montreal Canadians in that final. Led by Nate Schmidt and hot goalkeeper Marc-Andre Fleury, the Golden Knights are now just one step away from the Stanley Cup Final, which pretty much nobody saw coming in this franchise's inaugural season. The Jets, who host the Predators on Monday night, lead that series 3-2.

The Golden Knights' top line of William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith, on the other hand, nearly never slowed down, and provided the difference once again on a second period goal that ended up as the game-winner.

"I thought we had some good starts", Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer said. This marked the fourth straight postseason for the Sharks that ended with a loss on home ice.

In addition to team accomplishments, James Neal also became the first player since 1972 to score goals in each of an expansion team's three regular-season games.

"We were physical, we were playing well, and it was a very good game by everyone", Tuch said.

There's nothing this team isn't capable of, and they know it. "As a team, individually, that's something that's very hard to take".

The Golden Knights especially stymied the Sharks in the third period. Marc-Edouard Vlasic picked it up and had it on his stick for a moment before it was knocked off by Karlsson.

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Defenseman Brent Burns agreed, adding it's unfair to qualify the Knights success with the expansion label.

Schmidt then increased the Vegas lead to 2-0 at 15:38 of the middle period with a blast from inside the blue line off a faceoff won by David Perron.

Play went on for 25 more seconds before the buzzer rang, with the situation room in Toronto calling for a video review.

Later in the first, a shot attempt by Timo Meier went underneath a scrambling Fleury, but through the crease and just past the post. That quickly showed that the puck bounced off the post, off a piece equipment inside the net and out. "I'd never seen something like that happen where they blew the play dead, but when I was skating back to the bench and all the guys were yelling, 'It's in'".

The puck then pinged off the crossbar, and Hertl fed the rebound to Logan Couture in the slot. "It's a fine line".

"I got lucky a few times", Fleury said of the first period. That's hockey. But Vegas deserves to be moving on. "I think we had a couple of those that didn't go in".

Jones may still be trying to figure out how Haula scored, as he threw the puck at the net from the goal line and it somehow slipped through to make it 3-0 midway through the second. "You know the enemy's got a vote and the enemy this series was Fleury". Vegas F William Carrier was scratched with a lower-body injury and replaced by Ryan Reaves, who played his first game this postseason.

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