Momentum means nothing in the playoff series between the San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights.
Momentum has meant nothing in this playoff series between the San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights, and it was spot on again in Game 4.
To review, in Game 1 the Knights crushed the Sharks 7-0. In Game 2, the Sharks won in double overtime. Game 3, the Knights won in overtime and in Game 4, the Sharks crushed the Knights 4-0.
If you’re looking for the old momentum shift, you will need to look elsewhere as this series is a literal coin flip. The house always has an advantage, and in this series, that home ice may be the key. Here are three things we learned in Game 4.
3 takeaways from Sharks vs. Golden Knights Game 4
1. Defense wins championships
If you look at the first four games, the outstanding characteristic is that the team that decided to show up on the defensive side of things won each game. Sure, there would appear to be lopsided victories from both teams, but the D is what has determined the outcomes.
Marc E. Vlasic and Justin Braun were simply smothering in Game 4. We usually talk about Brent Burns when we mention defensemen on the Sharks, but those two simply put the Knights in check all night long. The team that plays the tightest defense will win this series.
2. Vegas will have to check and scrap to win this series
Simply put, the Sharks are a bigger team and have skill guys like Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl, who scored again in Game 4. Vegas has literally been running over teams the entire season and that has shown up in Round 2 of these playoffs again.
The Knights will need the James Neal, Will Carrier line to muck out some offense if they plan on winning the next game and this series. Guys on the third and fourth line will need to make themselves household names — they need some big goals from their role players. If the Sharks continue to clog up center ice this series may have finally taken a momentum turn in favor of the Sharks.
3. The Sharks smell blood in the water
First of all, by no means is this series over — however, the Sharks found something out in Game 4 and that was that they could slow down William Karlsson and Reilly Smith. They kept Jonathan Marchessault in check and did not allow Shea Theodore to sprint up ice all game long.
If the Sharks do what they did in even a smaller dose they should finish off this first-year dream season of the Vegas Golden Knights. When you see names like Joonas Donskoi and Marcus Sorensen on the score sheet, you have to think that the Sharks are primed for the kill.