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Series Preview: Golden Knights vs. Sharks

Vegas found success against San Jose during regular season

by Gordon Weigers @GoldenKnights /

In their second season as an NHL franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights have returned to the Stanley Cup Playoffs and will face the San Jose Sharks in the first round. The series kicks off Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. PT at SAP Center. Before the puck drops, take a look at the history between the two Pacific Division clubs.

In four games during the regular season, the Golden Knights compiled a 2-1-1 record against San Jose. Vegas opened the season series with a bang on Nov. 24 in a 6-0 win at T-Mobile Arena. The Sharks answered on Jan. 10 when they churned out a 3-2 win in their final regular season matchup at T-Mobile Arena. Reilly Smith was the catalyst for Vegas on March 18 when he posted four points in a 7-3 Golden Knights victory at SAP Center. In their final tilt of the campaign on March 30, Brent Burns netted the overtime winner as San Jose picked up a 4-3 win on home ice.

The Golden Knights outscored the Sharks, 18-10, during the regular season. Vegas was successful on four of 17 power-play opportunities against San Jose while the Sharks scored two power-play goals during 13 chances.

Smith was the leading scorer on either club with seven points (1G, 6A) during his three appearances against San Jose. Jonathan Marchessault registered six points (2G, 4A) and William Karlsson notched five points (3G, 2A) during four contests with the Sharks. Logan Couture's four points (2G, 2A) against Vegas were the most among San Jose skaters while Tomas Hertl (2G, 1A), Brent Burns (1G, 2A) and Kevin Labanc (3A) each pocketed three points.

San Jose finished second in the Pacific Division with 101 points and a record of 46-27-9. The Sharks ranked second in the NHL in goals-for (289), sixth in points and ninth in total wins. They had the sixth-best power play in the league as they converted on 23.6 percent of their chances.

Burns was the team's leading scorer with 83 points (16G, 67A) while captain Joe Pavelski paced the team in goals with 38 tallies. Tomas Hertl (74 points), Logan Couture (70 points) and Timo Meier (66 points) each recorded career-highs in scoring.

The Golden Knights and Sharks met in the second round of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Vegas won the series in six games en route to the Stanley Cup Final. It was the only six-game series the Golden Knights played during last year's postseason. In game one, Vegas flung the barn doors wide open in a 7-0 victory at T-Mobile Arena. The Sharks responded with a 4-3 win in double overtime in game two as the series shifted to San Jose knotted at 1-1. William Karlsson's goal in overtime sealed game three for Vegas, but the Sharks were the better team in a 4-0 victory in game four. With the series level at 2-2, Vegas used a 5-3 win in game five to set the stage for a 3-0 shutout victory in game six to advance to the Western Conference Final.

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