The San Jose Sharks will live to fight another day, and play another game.
San Jose swam into Game 5 on Thursday with their season on the line, and the Sharks responded with a 5-2 win against the Vegas Golden Knights. The Golden Knights will have another chance to end this Round 1 series in Game 6 on Sunday, but the Sharks survived this first attempt.
Continuing the theme of Thursday, the first goal of the game quickly, as Tomas Hertl made it 1-0 just 1:16 into the contest. Logan Couture then made it 2-0, and it looked like the Sharks would run away with this … but then Martin Jones allowed a tough goal.
You could almost feel the collective groan from San Jose after Reilly Smith‘s fluke 2-1 goal, but luckily, Jones was able to bounce back. Sometimes in a big way.
The Golden Knights were pesky on Thursday, also reducing a 3-1 lead to 3-2, so Jones needed to be alert. He was more often than not, with this late save on Smith being absolutely crucial:
Jones ended Game 5 with 30 saves, and while many will continue to look at him as a liability, this victory very well might have restored Jones’ confidence in himself, and maybe the Sharks’ confidence in their starting goalie.
Of course, this is merely the first of three big steps if the Sharks hope to actually advance to Round 2, which would mean making a 3-1 series deficit dissolve.
If that happens, you can bet that Gerard Gallant would be very angry. That’s a scary thought, because witness Gallant’s frightening reaction after Tomas Hertl’s power-play goal. Gallant wasn’t happy that a high-sticking penalty was called, which dude, Logan Couture lost teeth, and Hertl quickly removed any real doubt about Game 5 with a 4-2 goal. Gallant then did a sarcastic smile + thumbs up combination that may haunt your very soul.
(GIF gold though, really.)
Anyway, the Sharks get that first must-win, while hockey fans get the win of this fascinating, sometimes-violent series going at least another game.
The Sharks hope to stay alive, and the Golden Knights hope to advance in Game 6 on Sunday. (livestream)
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.