The Las Vegas Golden Knight’s and the San Jose Sharks faceoff in the second round of Stanley Cup playoffs in a Pacific Division showdown. Vegas was first in the Pacific with 109 points while the Sharks finished third with 100 Points.Image result for Las Vegas knights
The Golden Knights breezed through the first round against the Los Angeles Kings, clean sweeping them in four games. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury played a major role in their first-round success, putting up a .977 save percentage and an undefeated record of 4-0. Of the four starts for Fleury, he completed two shutouts. In the series against LA, Fleury, a three-time Stanley Cup champion, gave up only three total goals proving what a dominant weapon he is for the Knights.
The Sharks also had an easy route to the second-round as they too clean swept their first-round opponents, the Anaheim Ducks. Goaltender Martin Jones had an impressive start to playoffs, putting up a .970 save percentage while adding a shutout to his 4-0 record so far this postseason.
Image result for san jose sharksVegas only scored seven goals in their first-round matchup against LA but gave up only three. Premier goal scorers, James Neal and Jonathon Marchessault, were relatively quiet in the first-round series. Neal, who was acquired in the expansion draft from the Nashville Predators, tallied 25 goals and 19 assists in the regular season but has only a goal and an assist thus far in the playoffs. Marchessault had an outstanding regular season, tallying 27 goals and 48 assists, but has only contributed two assists so far in the postseason. Look for these two to step up against a heavily defended San Jose Sharks led by defenseman Brent Burns.
San Jose keeps a tempo of balanced goal scoring. In the 2017-18 regular season, the Sharks had 13 different players score 30 points or more. They continued this in the first-round of the playoffs having eight of their 12 forwards produce three or more points in their clean sweep of the Ducks. Look for the Sharks to continue this balanced scoring, as it may be the only way to get the puck in the back of the net against a hot Marc-Andre Fleury.
In the short series against the Ducks, veterans Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski each provided a team-high five points while each bringing in a plus/minus rating of two. Couture scored twice against Anaheim while adding three assists under his belt. Pavelski, who is now 33 years old, has shown no sign of slowing down just yet. In the first-round, he scored only one goal but continued to show off his incredible puck sharing capabilities by producing a team-high four assists.
Game one is set for this Thursday, April 26th in Las Vegas. Puck drop is at 10 p.m. ET.
Written by: Daniel Brackman
Edited by: Matthew Peterson