LAS VEGAS (AP) – Alex Tuch scored the winner in a shootout, and the streaking Vegas Golden Knights beat San Jose 3-2 on Monday night as Sharks forward Patrick Marleau passed Gordie Howe for the most games played in NHL history. Robin Lehner stopped 29 shots, and the Golden Knights won their seventh in a row, overcoming a two-goal deficit behind a pair of power-play goals from captain Mark Stone.
The 41-year-old Marleau played in his 1,768th career game to break Howe’s record in front of a sold-out crowd of 3,950, including his wife, Christina, and four sons. That wouldn’t have been possible in San Jose, where fans still aren’t allowed in the arena during the pandemic.
After the game, a choked-up Marleau was asked what keeps him coming to the rink all these years.
“I just love it,” he said, wiping away tears with a towel. “There’s nothing else like it.”
Howe played in 1,767 regular-season games and 419 more in the World Hockey Association, the latter of which are not recognized by the NHL.
Martin Jones made 38 saves for the Sharks, including five spectacular game-saving stops in overtime.
Lehner, who stopped all three San Jose attempts in the shootout, improved to 8-0-1 since returning from a concussion on March 19. The Sharks opened the scoring on Marleau’s historic night when Vegas’ Shea Theodore turned the puck over with a breakout pass along the boards gathered by Nikolai Knyzhov, who then fired a shot from the point past Lehner.
Just 29 seconds into the second period, it was Noah Gregor corralling a loose pick, spinning and firing from the right circle with a shot that appeared to glance off Lehner’s glove and gave the Sharks a 2-0 advantage.
It wouldn’t last long, though, as Theodore’s wrist shot from the blue line was deflected perfectly by Stone, who was camped at the doorstep and found the top shelf on Jones’ blocker side to cut San Jose’s lead in half.
Vegas thought it tied the game when newcomer Mattias Janmark was in front of the crease to put one home, but a quick whistle was blown as Jones was covering the puck, and the goal was disallowed.
Stone scored his second goal of the night just seven seconds into another power play when he scooped the puck around the crease, and Jones, to the far side to tie the game with his 17th of the season.
William Karlsson came close to giving Vegas a 3-2 lead with 14 seconds left when his wrist shot trickled past Jones, but Sharks defenseman Mario Ferraro was there to slap the puck away as it neared the goal line.
The teams conclude their two-game series in Las Vegas on Wednesday.
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