An already bitter rivalry will intensify even further, with two back to back games between the San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights.
October 2nd the San Jose Sharks will play Vegas at the fortress against a hostile crowd to open the upcoming season. Then team teal will head to the SAP Center two days later to take on the Vegas Golden Knights a second consecutive time. These two match-ups are almost guaranteed to be entertaining because of recent events that have transpired between the two franchises.
Last postseason the San Jose Sharks played in a prolific series against the Golden Knights. A series that featured iconic moments in almost every single game. After a strong showing in Game 1 for the Sharks, Vegas proceeded to dominate in Games 2 through 4.
But just as all hope seemed to be lost, team teal came back in resilient fashion. The Sharks battled back in Game 5 and showed fans everywhere in San Jose that their was in fact still life. Tomas Hertl, who scored two goals in the match-up, proceeded to have one of the most iconic interviews in San Jose Sharks history.
Hertl informed Sharks nation that they would go to Vegas, get the win and return to San Jose for Game 7 “Because we’re a better team.” This would turn into the battle cry for the San Jose Sharks, their fans, and the whole city.
What would happen next would not be only some of the greatest moments in Sharks history, but all of hockey. Game 6 in Vegas, with their backs to the walls the Sharks stepped up. Martin Jones, a goaltender who had struggled all season, had the greatest single game of any Shark goalie ever. He broke the San Jose single game record with 58 saves on 59 total shots on goal.
Hertl, the man who shined in Game 5, delivered in Game 6 on his promise. In overtime tied 1-1, with Vegas on the power play Tomas Hertl scored a shorthanded goal to win the game. Instilling excitement and hope for all of Sharks territory, the sweet opportunity of Game 7 in San Jose.
The Golden Knights dominated much of the play going into the final match-up, with 10:47 left in the third period the Knights led 3-0. Then it happened, the big moment. Captain Joe Pavelski hit the ice off a cross-check by Cody Eakin that drew blood. The refs quickly and controversially assessed it a 5-minute major penalty. The moments that would happen as a result of this call were some of the most historic in recent history.
According to Josh Dubow of AP News in an interview with Logan Couture “[Joe Thornton] gathered the guys at the bench and said you guys go out and get… three goals. When a guy who has played 20 years orders you around like that, bosses you around, you have to do it.”
The Sharks would go on to score 4 goals within the time frame of that penalty. They excelled at the highest possible level in honor of their fallen captain, in pursuit of finishing the goal they had set out for themselves. But their work was not done.
Jonathan Marchessault of the Vegas Golden Knights would squeeze in a game tying goal to send this match-up into overtime. Nerves in this series were at an all time high, as the hockey world was glued to the television at the events that would transpire in overtime.
Barclay Goodrow an undrafted fourth line forward, would close out the game with the series winning goal. Cementing himself in San Jose Sharks folktale for years to come with his heroics.
What the series has shows is that the Sharks and Golden Knights must now in fact be considered rivals across the hockey world, and bitter ones at that. Gary Bettman and the rest of the National Hockey League’s management knows that. So Sharks Territory better be prepared to see more and more of this rivalry on big stages in the near future.