LAS VEGAS — Mark Stone had three goals and two assists, and the Vegas Golden Knights beat the San Jose Sharks 6-3 on Sunday night to take a 2-1 lead in their first-round playoff series.
Paul Stastny collected two goals and three assists as Vegas captured another high-scoring matchup with San Jose. Max Pacioretty had a goal and an assist, defenceman Shea Theodore had three assists and Marc-Andre Fleury made 25 saves.
The Golden Knights and Sharks scored 15 times while splitting the first two games in San Jose. Game 4 of the best-of-seven series is Tuesday night in Las Vegas.
Kevin Labanc, Logan Couture and Tim Meier scored for San Jose, and Martin Jones stopped 34 shots.
Vegas got off to a fast start when Nate Schmidt went blue line to blue line with a perfect feed through traffic to Stone, who beat Jones with a backhand just 16 seconds into the game.
It was the fastest goal in the playoffs since San Jose’s Joe Pavelski scored 15 seconds into a first-round game in 2007. Stone has six goals in the playoffs already.
Pacioretty extended the lead to 2-0 when he fired a wrist shot from the top of the right circle past Jones at 12:16.
San Jose got one back when Joe Thornton passed from behind the goal to Labanc, who somehow squeezed the puck past Fleury at 15:26.
Stastny accounted for both of Vegas’ goals in the second as the Knights opened a 4-1 lead.
First, Stastny grabbed a rebound between the circles, skated to his left and drove a wrist shot past Jones 21 seconds into the period. Then he got into a perfect position to redirect a feed from Stone into the net at 16:04.
San Jose rallied in the third. Couture got his second of the series when his pass intended for Joe Pavelski was tipped in by Vegas defenceman Brayden McNabb. Then Meier knocked in a rebound after Gustav Nyquist’s shot was stopped, making it 5-3 with a little more than 14 minutes remaining.
Stone got his third goal when took a pass from Pacioretty, skated in alone and went forehand-backhand to beat Jones with a little more than six minutes to play.
NOTES: The Golden Knights signed forward Nikita Gusev to a one-year, entry-level contract and expect the Moscow native to join the team for practice on Monday. Gusev, 26, had a Kontinental Hockey League-high 82 points in 62 regular-season games. During the KHL playoffs, he recorded 19 points, which ranked second in the league. … The Golden Knights are the 13th team in NHL history, and third in the last 30 years, to score in the opening minute of back-to-back playoff games.
Game 4 is Tuesday night in Las Vegas.
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W.G. Ramirez, The Associated Press