“We played from game one until the last buzzer in Game 56 and threw our best record on the board,” said coach Peter DeBoer. “I hope it’s enough for the first time. If not, I’m still very happy with the regular season we had. “
Vegas tied Colorado’s victory over Los Angeles and maintains a two-point lead over the Avalanche in the Western Division and for top mark in the NHL. Colorado hold the regular-season win-based tiebreaker and can take the top spot by beating the Kings on Thursday night.
The Golden Knights will have to wait until then to determine whether they play third-place Minnesota or fourth-place St. Louis in the first round of the playoffs.
“Hopefully we get a little bit of luck and have a big Los Angeles game and finish first,” said forward Jonathan Marchessault. “Otherwise, I thought our good season was overall good. Despite who we play in the first round, I think our team is ready for the playoffs. “
Dylan Sikura scored twice in the third period, and William Carrier and Marchessault also scored to help Vegas complete an eight-game series sweep against the Sharks. Fleury made 17 saves.
San Jose has missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons since the first since 1996 and 1997 with just 49 points in 56 games.
They were completely outclassed by a motivated Golden Knights, scoring 35-13 in the first two periods and giving little help to rookie goaltender Alexei Melnichuk. Melnichuk made 38 saves in his second career start.
“Let’s be honest, we played a really good hockey team tonight and we weren’t very good at all,” said coach Bob Boughner. “We didn’t have crazy help. I didn’t give him a lot of things. “
The Golden Knights were quick to gain the upper hand over the Sharks, scoring twice in the first eight minutes.
Pietrangelo got a loose puck up front and beat Melnichuk for the opening goal and Kolesar added up the lead when he converted a rebound.
Vegas didn’t give up from there and put the game out of reach with goals from Carrier and Marchessault in the second period.
“In this type of game like this, you want to get the opponent’s will as fast as you can, and we did it,” Marchessault said.
FAREWELL FROM MARLEAU
Sharks forward Patrick Marleau received freebies in what could have been his last game with the franchise. His teammates gave him a personalized painting of him and Gordie Howe to honor Howe’s historic NHL game record in Marleau’s history last month. At the request of the Howe family, Marleau also received the stick that Howe used in his last NHL game which was presented to the Hall of Fame. This stick will be replaced in the room by a Marleau stick used in the record game.
Marleau was the last player to leave the ice and recognized the small crowd present for the last game of the season.
“If this is his last game in the NHL, I’m glad I got a top spot for it,” said DeBoer, who coached Marleau in San Jose. “Happy to have had the opportunity to train him for a few years in San Jose. As great a player as he is and as accomplished as a hockey player he is, he is a better person, a better father and a better guy. “
Marleau, 41, will be a free agent this offseason and the Sharks may be looking to move in a younger direction next season.
Golden Knights: While waiting to discover their opponent in the playoffs.
Sharks: the off-season.