Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault each had four points and the Vegas Golden Knights won for the ninth time in 10 games, beating the San Jose Sharks 7-3 on Monday night.
Smith assisted on three goals in the first period and added a score of his own in the third. Marchessault had a goal and two assists in the first and an empty-netter in the third. William Karlsson, Mark Stone, Paul Stastny and Cody Eakin also scored for Vegas. Malcolm Subban made 36 saves in place of injured Marc-Andre Fleury.
The win moved the Golden Knights within seven points of the Sharks with nine games to play in the race for home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. San Jose remains one point behind Pacific Division-leading Calgary, with the Flames holding a game in hand.
The Sharks dropped their third straight home game in regulation for the first time in three years as they failed once again with an opportunity to clinch a playoff berth.
Logan Couture scored twice and Joe Thornton also had a goal for San Jose. Martin Jones allowed three goals on 11 shots before being replaced by Aaron Dell in the first period.
This game was a possible playoff preview, with the teams lined up to meet in the first round based on the current standings. A rivalry is already building between the clubs after Vegas knocked out San Jose in six games in the second round on the way to a Stanley Cup Final appearance during its expansion season a year ago.
The intensity was high from the start, with Couture’s goal on the opening shift setting the tone for a wild first period that featured five goals, 25 shots, five power plays and a goalie change.
The Sharks tried to take control early. Tomas Hertl hit the post on the second shift before Vegas responded with two goals from its top line and another from the No. 1 power-play unit to take a 3-2 lead after one.
Marchessault and Smith were involved in all three goals, capped by Marchessault’s bad-angle shot that ended Jones’ night.
The Golden Knights could have had even more when they got a power play late in the period after Micheal Haley took exception to Ryan Reaves’ hard hit on Melker Karlsson before a line change. Haley rushed over and tried to pull Reaves off the bench for a fight, getting a penalty on the play.
Vegas couldn’t capitalize despite getting 16 seconds of a two-man advantage for too many men on the ice.
But the Golden Knights did take advantage of a bad penalty in the second period when Thornton hit Shea Theodore late in the offensive zone for an interference call. That led to Stastny’s goal that put Vegas up 4-2 heading into the third.
Smith’s goal in the opening minute of the period put Vegas in control.
NOTES: Only two Vegas players had previously recorded four points in a game: Karlsson and Theodore did it last season. — Couture’s first goal gave him 500 career points. — Sharks captain Joe Pavelski missed his first game with an injury since Jan. 11, 2011, after taking a hard hit Saturday against Nashville. The only other game he had missed since then was for rest in the final game of the 2016-17 season.
Vegas: Hosts the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.