LAS VEGAS — Marc-Andre Fleury made 28 saves and Max Pacioretty had four points for the Vegas Golden Knights in a 5-0 win against the San Jose Sharks in Game 4 of the Western Conference First Round at T-Mobile Arena on Tuesday.
Vegas leads the best-of-7 series 3-1.
“They’re a good team,” Fleury said. “It’s not over obviously. It was a big game tonight, a big win for us.”
It was the 15th Stanley Cup Playoff shutout for Fleury, tying Chris Osgood and Clint Benedict for fourth in NHL history. It was his 78th NHL playoff win to pass Mike Vernon for seventh place.
Pacioretty had two goals and two assists for the Golden Knights, who are one win from eliminating the Sharks for the second consecutive season.
Pacioretty and Mark Stone, who had two assists for Vegas, are tied for the NHL lead with 10 points.
The Sharks lost their third consecutive game and have been outscored 16-6 in that span. Martin Jones was pulled for the second time in three games after allowing two goals on seven shots. Aaron Dell made 17 saves in relief.
“When you look at the game, you can’t put all of this on the goalies,” San Jose coach Peter DeBoer said. “You have to score too. We have to find a way to solve Fleury. This isn’t all on our goalies.”
Game 5 is at San Jose on Thursday. Sharks center Joe Thornton can return after serving a one-game suspension for an illegal check to the head of Golden Knights forward Tomas Nosek in Game 3.
“You always want to win that next game,” Pacioretty said. “You have to be prepared for whatever’s brought at you. They’re going to get a ton of energy from their crowd. They’re going to play their best game of the series, and we have to be ready for that.”
Despite the shutout, their third against the Sharks in 10 playoff games, the Golden Knights said they felt like they didn’t play their best game. They were outshot 26-14 through the second period, including 18-7 in the first, but had a 13-2 advantage in the third.
“We still gave up almost 30 shots and we didn’t catch them until the end,” said Vegas forward Alex Tuch, who scored his first goal of the playoffs. “I thought we had a strong third period. It helps with more power plays and stuff, but we’ve got to be better. We’ve got to keep it going.”
The Golden Knights were 2-for-9 on the power play.
Pacioretty scored for the third straight game at 1:11 of the first period to give Vegas a 1-0 lead.
The Golden Knights became the first team in NHL history to score in the first 90 seconds of three consecutive playoff games and in four consecutive postseason periods.
“We saw what we were able to do in our building when we get so much momentum,” Pacioretty said. “We get so fired up from the fans, so we have to credit a lot of these quick goals to them.”
Shea Theodore scored his first goal of the playoffs at 19:13 to make it 2-0. He received a pass from Pacioretty, evaded Sharks defenseman Brent Burns, and scored with a backhand.
Pacioretty scored his second goal on the power play at 12:33 of the second period to make it 3-0.
Tuch scored at 6:37 of the third period for a 4-0 lead, and Marchessault scored on the power play at 16:24 for the 5-0 final.
They said it
“I think our guys responded and we got what we wanted from the guys that went in there. I was proud of our group considering Joe [Thornton] and [Marc-Edouard] Vlasic were out. We played as good of a game as we did in Game 1, just (Golden Knights goalie) [Marc-Andre] Fleury was great.” — Sharks coach Peter DeBoer on playing without their suspended center and injured defenseman
“Doesn’t matter what happened tonight. It’s a clean slate. Everyone’s going to come out, it’s going to be physical, it’s going to be gritty. We’ve got to grind it out.” — Golden Knights forward Alex Tuch on Game 5
Need to know
Forward Joonas Donskoi took Thornton’s place in the San Jose lineup. He was minus-1 with one shot on goal and one hit in 13:15 in his first game of the series. … Vlasic (undisclosed) missed his second straight game. … Sharks forward Micheal Haley (lower-body injury) did not play. … Pacioretty’s four points were an NHL playoff career high. His previous best was three (two goals, one assist) on May 7, 2015, for the Montreal Canadiens against the Tampa Bay Lightning. … Fleury played his 139th playoff game, passing Vernon for fifth in NHL history among goalies.
Game 5 of Western Conference First Round at SAP Center on Thursday (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVAS, NBCSCA, ATTSN-RM)