Our Golden Knights vs Sharks Playoff Preview will break down this Knights and Sharks playoff matchup according to goaltending, offense and defense. The San Jose Sharks and the Vegas Golden Knights are set to meet in the opening round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The two clubs met last year in the second round with Vegas emerging victorious. San Jose finished second in the Pacific Division this year with the Golden Knights finishing third. The clubs split the season series 2-2 and should make an entertaining series. .
Golden Knights vs Sharks Playoff Preview – Goaltending
San Jose’s biggest weakness is in net. Starter Martin Jones did not have a strong season. He finished the year with a .896 save percentage and a 2.94 GAA struggling fairly consistently. He never saw his save percentage reach above .907 at any point. Historically Jones has been stellar in the postseason. He has played in a total of 40 postseason contests over the last three years with a .926 save percentage in those games. If Jones can find his footing, San Jose should have no problem dealing with Vegas.
Marc-Andre Fleury will start for Vegas. Our Golden Knights vs Sharks playoff preview notes that Fleury had a solid season but is coming off of a significant lower body injury. In his two games since returning he allowed eight goals on 72 shots. The 3-time cup winning netminder should have a solid postseason if healthy. Although it is unlikely he can perform as well as he did through the first three rounds last year. If he does manage to do that, then this series would go the way of the Golden Knights.
San Jose Sharks
San Jose boasts an impressive group of defensemen and forwards. They get a big boost with Erik Karlsson returning from a groin injury. He has played one game since coming back and was +3 in the contest. Brent Burns is also a big threat on the backend. Burns led the team in points with 83. Brenden Dillon had a solid season as well leading the club in plus-minus. Up front eight Sharks forwards had at least 50 points on the year. They have three lines that can all produce which is a big reason why they scored the second most goals in the NHL. Tomas Hertl (35-39-74), Timo Meier (30-36-66), Joe Pavelski (38-26-64), and Evander Kane (30-26-56) all had 30-plus goals. Hertl along with Logan Couture (27-43-70) and Joe Thornton (16-35-51) give the Sharks the type of center depth that cup winners need.
Vegas Golden Knights
Vegas has some talented forwards but they haven’t had as much success putting the puck in the net as San Jose. They rank 13th in goals for in the NHL. Their biggest threat up front is Mark Stone who they acquired at the trade deadline. His production has decreased drastically since coming to Vegas. He has average 0.61 points per game as a Golden Knight compared to 1.05 when in Ottawa. Along with Stone the top line of Jonathan Marchessault (25-34-59), William Karlsson (24-32-56), and Reilly Smith (19-34-53) as been solid this season. They have enough talent to carry the team if they get hot.
The Golden Knights blueline is lacking compared to San Jose’s. They have spent much of the year rolling six defenseman. Only two of their D-men averaged over 20 minutes a night. Nate Schmidt was the club’s best player on the backend. Despite missing 20 games due to suspension, he led to team in plus minus (+22) and average time on ice (21:57 minutes). Shea Theodore averaged 20:06 minutes a night and led Knights defenseman in points (37). Overall both the forward and defense group of San Jose looks to have an edge over Vegas.
Golden Knights vs Sharks Playoff Preview
Our Golden Knights vs Sharks Playoff Preview likes San Jose in this matchup. Even if Jones is unable to find his play during the series, the Sharks have plenty of offensive firepower to make up for it. Vegas has also been abysmal on the road this year. While they arguably have the best home ice advantage in the league, they have a 19-20-2 away record. We see the Sharks’ home ice advantage playing a role in this series and factoring into a second-round appearance for San Jose. The Golden Knights will be a good bet in their home games, but the Sharks should handle them fine in San Jose.
Golden Knights vs Sharks Playoff Preview: Prediction
San Jose Sharks over the Vegas Golden Knights in 6 games