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First Round

Golden Knights confident they'll win series against Sharks in Game 6

Reaves says Vegas will be motivated to 'close it out' at home after Hertl's comments

by Danny Webster / NHL.com Correspondent

LAS VEGAS -- The Vegas Golden Knights are not deterred by San Jose Sharks forward Tomas Hertl saying he believes San Jose will win Game 6 of the Western Conference First Round at T-Mobile Arena on Sunday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, SN360, TVAS, ATTSN-RM, NBCSCA).

Hertl scored two goals in a 5-2, Game 5 win at San Jose on Thursday and said the best-of-7 series, which the Golden Knights lead 3-2, would return there for Game 7.

"We have one more game [and we can] come back for Game 7, and I believe it because we [are a] better team than them," Hertl said.

 

[RELATED: Complete Sharks vs. Golden Knights series coverage]

 

"I would assume he thinks they're the better team," Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves said after practice Saturday. "If he doesn't, he probably shouldn't be playing. We know we're the better team here, so we're going to close it out tomorrow."

Vegas is confident that it will end the series at home because of its play in Games 3 and 4 here. The Golden Knights outscored the Sharks 11-3, including a 28-save shutout by Marc-Andre Fleury in Game 4, a 5-0 win.

"So that means we shouldn't play the game tomorrow? We should go back to San Jose?" Fleury said. "To be honest, I don't care. Whatever he says, it is what it is. I just go out, play and don't worry about anything."

Video: Sights And Sounds: Game 5 vs VGK

Jonathan Marchessault, who scored in Game 5, said Hertl's comments can serve as inspiration for the Golden Knights.

"It's just more motivation for us," Marchessault said. "I just hope he can back it up. Who cares what he says? We focus on us. He had a great game last game, he was the best player on the ice. We're going to do everything we can to try and shut him down. Obviously it was on the emotion of last game. I don't care if he says stuff like that."

The Golden Knights scored in the first 71 seconds of the prior three games before failing to do so in Game 5.

"Obviously you want to get off to a quick start, but we have 60 minutes of hockey you need to play well, and we just need to focus on that," Marchessault said. "Everyone's excited to play that game."

This will be the first opportunity for the Golden Knights to win a playoff series at home. Vegas eliminated the Los Angeles Kings, San Jose and the Winnipeg Jets on the road last season to make the Stanley Cup Final in its inaugural season. The Golden Knights then lost to the Washington Capitals in five games.

The winner of this series will play the Colorado Avalanche in the second round.

"We're in a good position and we know that," Vegas forward Max Pacioretty said. "Each game kind of writes its own script. You go up in a game and you play a certain way, you go down in a game, you play a certain way. But at the same time, no matter what the score is, we want to go out there and play the right way every shift.

"It hasn't been perfect, but it's the playoffs. Has any team really played perfect? You're playing against a good team on the other side with some of the best skill in the world, so we do have more to give and we're looking to do that tomorrow."

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