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Ellen Schmidt / Associated Press

Vegas Golden Knights right wing Jonathan Marchessault (81) scores a goal on San Jose Sharks goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen (36) during a shootout of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023, in Las Vegas.

Updated Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023 | 11:33 p.m.

This one won’t go in the books as the best win the Golden Knights have had in recent memory.

The two points count all the same. Given the circumstances, they’ll chalk it up to strong resiliency and move forward.

The Golden Knights squandered a two-goal, third-period lead and allowed the tying goal with less than a minute remaining, but found a way to win 5-4 in a shootout against the San Jose Sharks at T-Mobile Arena on Sunday.

Vegas (19-5-5) played for the second time in just over 24 hours following what was deemed an “emotional” 6-1 win over the Dallas Stars in the third meeting of last season’s Western Conference Final. The Golden Knights wrapped up their annual fathers trip by completing the season-series sweep against the team that they could see again in a playoff series down the road.

The second games of a back-to-back set are never the easiest, no matter the opponent. The Sharks have played near-.500 hockey (8-7-2) since starting the season 0-10-1 and making a run for the worst team in league history. While there may no longer be an intense rivalry anymore between the Golden Knights and Sharks, Vegas knew it was going to be competitive.

“We had an emotional win last night against Dallas, travel home and they’re sitting here waiting for us,” said center Jack Eichel. “They’ve been playing very good hockey, very competitive. They gave us all we could handle.”

Playing on fumes and flying back from two time zones away, the Golden Knights found a way to win for the fifth time in six games and extend their point streak to eight games (5-0-3). The last time they lost in regulation was on Nov. 25 (2-0 loss vs. Arizona).

“We’re playing relatively good hockey right now,” defenseman Brayden McNabb said. “It’s good to rack up the wins in a short span of hockey.”

Jonathan Marchessault scored twice in regulation, as well as the winning goal in the third round of the shootout, and Eichel had an assist to extend his point streak to seven games (four goals, eight assists) in what was the sixth time in the last seven games the Golden Knights scored four goals in a game.

Jiri Patera made 35 saves in his first start of the season. The usual starter for the Henderson Silver Knights has been with the NHL club for the past week while Adin Hill continues to recover from a lower-body injury. Logan Thompson won both starts during the dads trip, in St. Louis and Dallas, allowing a combined two goals on the trip.

It didn’t take long for Patera and his teammates to play from behind. To the tune of 29 seconds, Sharks defenseman Mario Ferraro opened the scoring with Patera screened by San Jose’s Anthony Duclair, and giving the Sharks a 1-0 lead.

The remaining 39 minutes, 31 seconds of the first two periods saw Patera settle in. He stopped the next 19 shots he faced, including 12 in the second period, to keep the Golden Knights in it. They broke through in the second with goals from Marchessault and a power-play tally from Chandler Stephenson for a 2-1 lead through 40 minutes.

Even when defenseman Brayden McNabb scored less than two minutes into the third for a 3-1 Vegas lead, the Sharks didn’t go away. Sharks forward Mike Hoffman scored twice in the third period; on a puck that bounced off Vegas’ Kaedan Korczak’s skate, and the game-tying goal with 38.9 seconds left in regulation.

“Today wasn’t our best,” McNabb said. “Give credit to San Jose. It’s always different when you’re on a time change and playing a back-to-back.”

Marchessault’s second goal of the game at 9:23 of the third was the insurance Vegas needed, though would’ve preferred to go without.

“They were pretty resilient,” Marchessault said of the Sharks. “We know from their past games, they’ve done a good job.”

Patera responded by stopping both San Jose attempts in the shootout. After Nic Roy missed the first attempt, Eichel scored in the second round, followed by Marchessault’s winner to cap off his second multi-goal game in the last five games.

It was also a game the Golden Knights felt they needed to win. It was their first home contest since the on-campus shooting at UNLV on Wednesday that killed three professors and injured one more.

The Golden Knights wore UNLV stickers on the back of their helmets and the coaching staff wore UNLV lapel pins. Shirts with the UNLV and Golden Knights logos inside a heart were sold on the concourse and sold out instantly. A moment of silence was held prior to the game, and anthem singer Carnell Johnson wore a UNLV hockey sweater while performing.

While not the prettiest way to win, given what’s happened, it’s a win the Golden Knights will take.

“It was good to be back home and give our city a win,” Marchessault said.

Danny Webster can be reached at 702-259-8814 or [email protected]. Follow Danny on Twitter at twitter.com/DannyWebster21.

Article written by #LasVegasSun

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