Thompson shutout leads Golden Knights to 4-0 victory over Sharks

Neville Guard-USA TODAY
The Golden Knights recovered from Saturday’s loss with a 4-0 shutout victory over the rebuilding Sharks in San Jose.

LAS VEGAS — Logan Thompson registered his first shutout in 63 regular-season games, leading the Knights to a 4-0 victory over the Sharks in San Jose on Monday afternoon. The netminder tallied 29 saves in the effort and stifled a Sharks team that had some life early despite the obvious rebuild. 

The game also marked the NHL debut for Golden Knights rookie forward Mason Morelli. Morelli signed with the team in July after a standout performance in last year’s Calder Cup, where he tallied 13 postseason points to help the Hershey Bears win the AHL’s crown.

The Sharks actually looked like the faster and more prepared team in the early goings of the first period. Which made it even more surprising that when the first intermission came around, the Knights were actually the ones up 3-0 and the Sharks were the ones left reeling.

How it happened

Michael Amadio opened the scoring for the Golden Knights just two and half minutes into the game, putting the Sharks behind early despite controlling the first few minutes.  Zach Whitecloud collected a rebound at the far end of the defensive half and fired a beauty of a pass into the offensive zone that allowed Michael Amadio to score unscathed on a solo breakaway. 

It was the type of break that a champion usually gets and one that a team in a rebuild usually gives up. Yes, there was puck luck involved but there was also execution on behalf of the Knights. They converted their very first chance and quickly proved that if you come at the king, you may not even need to really miss before you are left on the back foot. 

Just a few minutes later, William Karlsson put the Knights ahead 2-0. Karlsson collected a rebound off goalie Mackenzie Blackwood and sent the puck into the net to cap off what was a chaotic but productive shift for the top line. 

The debutant Morelli extended the Golden Knights lead to 3-0 with under a minute left in the first period. The rookie converted on the power-play to tally his first NHL goal before his first NHL intermission.

So, despite an encouraging couple minutes to start the game, the Sharks were basically already in an untenable position after a period. It’s the stark reality for a team that has to play perfect to earn a win, and even then they may not be exactly inclined to do so from the front office perspective. Frankly, the Knights were lucky they brought such an intangible advantage to the ice. It was their experience and patience that allowed them to overcome a Sharks team that really did look hungry for a win, however rare that is. At least early. 

The second period went rather quietly until Keegan Kolesar put the games final goal between the pipes with just under two minutes left in the second period.  The Golden Knights headed into the second intermission with a 4-0 lead, which would end up being the final score after another quiet third period. 

The Golden Knights are back at home on Tuesday night for the second night of a back to back. The Predators are in town for a 7 p.m. puck drop.