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First Round

Golden Knights look to clinch playoff series at home for first time

Vegas coach Gallant wondering for Game 6 if Sharks 'can do it in our building'

by Danny Webster / NHL.com Correspondent

LAS VEGAS -- Gerard Gallant said he feels the Vegas Golden Knights are in good shape with the Western Conference First Round against the San Jose Sharks returning to T-Mobile Arena for Game 6 on Sunday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, SN360, TVAS, ATTSN-RM, NBCSCA).

The Golden Knights lead the best-of-7 series 3-2 and could clinch a playoff series on home ice for the first time. They won each of their three series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs last year on the road.

 

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

 

"We're up 3-2, we've played good hockey," the Vegas coach said. "Last night I thought was a pretty good game, back and forth. Two teams played really well last night."

Vegas lost Game 5 5-2 at San Jose on Thursday. It was the first time it lost with a chance to clinch a series after going 3-0 last season when they reached the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural NHL season. The Golden Knights lost the Stanley Cup Final to the Washington Capitals in five games.

The Golden Knights will have a second chance to eliminate the Sharks in Game 6. They defeated the Sharks in six games in the 2018 Western Conference Second Round.

This will be Vegas' first opportunity to close a series at home, after eliminating the Los Angeles Kings, Sharks and the Winnipeg Jets on the road last season.

Gallant said if the Golden Knights play the way they did Thursday, they'll have a chance to do just that.

"[The Sharks] played a better game last night," he said. "Let's see if they can do it in our building."

Vegas will need a better game from its top line of Max Pacioretty, Paul Stastny and Mark Stone if it wants to end the series. It had no points in Game 5 after combining for 28 points (12 goals, 16 assists) in the first four games.

Video: SJS@VGK, Gm3: Stone, Stastny combine for PPG

San Jose defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic returned after missing the prior two games with an undisclosed injury. He and usual partner Brent Burns were matched against that Vegas line for most of the game.

"I coach my team and let them coach the other way," Gallant said. "But obviously when you have a player like Vlasic it helps your hockey team defensively."

The Golden Knights outscored the Sharks 11-3 in Games 3 and 4 at T-Mobile Arena and are 9-3 at home in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in two seasons.

Vegas got off to quick starts in each of their two home games in the series. Stone scored 16 seconds into Game 3, and Pacioretty scored 1:11 into Game 4.

San Jose had the quick start in Game 5, with Tomas Hertl scoring at 1:16 of the first period.

Combine that with playing in front of the San Jose crowd, and returning home could be what Vegas needs.

"It always helps," Gallant said. "Our guys like playing here. We've played good hockey in our building."

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