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Sharks cough up third period lead in loss to Golden Knights

Curtis Pashelka, The Mercury News on

Published in Hockey

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Captain Joe Pavelski scored on the power play to give the San Jose Sharks a one-goal lead midway through the third period of Thursday's game against the Vegas Golden Knights.

Anyone who has watched the upstart expansion franchise this season, though, knew that a San Jose win wasn't going to come that easily.

Vegas charged back and got third period goals by Brayden McNabb and James Neal to help pick up a 5-3 win over the Sharks in an emotionally charged atmosphere at SAP Center.

McNabb's goal came at the 9:36 mark of the third and Neal picked up the game-winner with 4:50 to go as the Pacific Division-leading Golden Knights increased their lead over the second place Sharks to 12 points..

Pavelski scored twice, including a go-ahead goal at the 7:45 mark of the third period, Timo Meier also scored on the power play and Brent Burns had three assists in a game that saw forward Joel Ward leave the game with an injury.

With slightly more than 12 minutes to go in the second, Ward was chasing after a loose puck in the Knights' zone when he was hit hard into the boards defenseman Nate Schmidt. Ward stayed on the ice for several moments and was led off by Sharks trainer Ray Tufts. He did not return for the start of the third period.

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The Sharks did just about everything they wanted to do in the first period, including outshooting Vegas 16-4, but were unable to take a lead into the intermission.

Pavelski opened the scoring for the Sharks as he tipped a shot from Burns past Fleury 4:40 into the first period as San Jose recorded the first 12 shots on goal.

The Golden Knights got their first shot with 6:01 to go in the first period, and their first goal with 6:00 left. Erik Haula collected a rebound after a David Perron shot on goal and slipped the puck under Sharks goalie Martin Jones to tie the game 1-1.

Thursday marked the expansion Golden Knights' first-ever visit to San Jose for a regular season game, and their first game against the Sharks since Nov. 24 when the two teams' met at T-Mobile Arena.

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