Karlsson's short-handed goal lifts Vegas to division title

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Karlsson's short-handed goal lifts Vegas to division title
Vegas Golden Knights celebrate after center Oscar Lindberg, third from left, scored against the San Jose Sharks during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 31, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — William Karlsson scored a short-handed goal in the third period, and the expansion Vegas Golden Knights clinched the Pacific Division title with a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night.

Vegas (50-22-7) reached 50 wins in its inaugural season with its victory in four games. San Jose (44-25-10) is second in the Pacific, four points ahead of Los Angeles.

Shea Theodore and Oscar Lindberg also scored for the Golden Knights, and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 29 shots. Fleury improved to 29-12-4 this season and moved into sole possession of 11th place on the career wins list with 404 victories.

San Jose goaltender Martin Jones made 35 saves. The Sharks had allowed fewer than 30 shots in eight of their previous 15 games.

Joe Pavelski and Marc-Edouard Vlasic scored for the Sharks.

The Sharks, who went 10-4-1 in March, will have to wait until Tuesday to try to clinch a playoff berth for the 13th time in 14 years.

Vegas struck early in the first period. Theodore took a pass from Karlsson at the point and fired a wrist shot past Jones at 2:21.

Pavelski tied it when he fired a rebound into an open net at 7:14 while Fleury was still recovering from making a save at the other side of the goal.

Lindberg got the lead back for Vegas when he redirected Theodore’s shot from the point past Jones 3:03 into the second. But Vlasic tied it midway through the period when he backhanded home a rebound that came off Vegas defender Brayden McNabb’s knee.

For the second straight night, Karlsson scored a short-handed goal on a breakaway, this time with what might have been his sweetest of 42 goals this season — between his legs to beat Jones top shelf.

NOTES: In a pregame ceremony, the Golden Knights retired No. 58, raising a banner with 58 stars and the names of the lives lost in the Oct. 1 concert shooting. … The 18,458 in attendance was the largest crowd of Vegas’ inaugural season. … Vegas’ James Neal played in his 700th career game, while teammate Jonathan Marchessault played in his 200th game. … San Jose’s Joonas Donskoi played in his 200th career game. … San Jose, which has the league’s second-best penalty kill, denied Vegas’ four power-play opportunities and hasn’t allowed a power-play goal in 16 of its last 18 contests. … The Golden Knights improved to 33-5-2 record when scoring the first goal of the game.

UP NEXT

Sharks: Host Dallas on Tuesday.

Golden Knights: Visit Vancouver on Tuesday.