Thomas Bordeleau, San Jose Sharks beat Vegas Golden Knights

Timo Meier had called Sunday’s game with the Vegas Golden Knights the Sharks’ biggest of the season.

Certainly, it’ll go down as the most memorable.

After a frantic Sharks comeback in the final minutes of the third period to tie Sunday’s game, including a goal with a fraction of a second remaining, Thomas Bordeleau completed the unlikely turnaround with a third-round shootout goal to give the Sharks a 5-4 win at T-Mobile Arena.

James Reimer stopped Shea Theodore to blank the Golden Knights on three straight shootout attempts, giving Bordeleau a chance to win the game. He approached Vegas goalie Logan Thompson slowly, quickly went forehand to backhand, and tucked it into the open net.

“Just comfortable with it. I’ve (done) it a lot of times,” Bordeleau said. “The only goalie that could stop in the past couple of years was (Michigan’s Erik) Portillo, and I don’t have to go against him in practice anymore. I’m just confident with that move.”

The Sharks erased a two-goal deficit in the last three minutes of regulation time, as Nick Bonino scored with 2:56 left to cut the Golden Knights’ lead to 4-3 before Meier scored with 0.9 seconds remaining to tie the game.

Brent Burns collected the puck at the Vegas blue line, and his shot toward the net was tipped wide by Logan Couture. The rebound came off the end boards and right to Meier ‘s forehand, as he fired it past a sprawled-out Thompson before his celebration his.

Vegas had taken a 4-2 lead on Nicolas Roy’s goal at the 6:35 mark of the third period.

“I got a bounce off the boards and just ripped it,” Meier said. “Just barely enough time left, but I think as a team we just didn’t give up.”

For the Sharks, Bonino scored twice, Tomas Hertl added one, and goalie Reimer, in a clutch performance, had 42 saves, including six in overtime when the Sharks had to kill a Burns penalty.

“Being down two goals, two goalie pulls, two six on fives, 0.9 seconds, killing a penalty at four on three in overtime, and then going into a shootout and having a kid get in there and step up at that moment,” Sharks coach Bob Boughner said. “It’s a great story for us and I know I’ve never seen the room as happy and as joyful.”

The Sharks’ win snapped their 11-game losing streak to the Golden Knights, an 0-9-2 skid that dated back two-plus seasons. It also dented Vegas’ postseason hopes, something the Sharks were motivated to do.

After the Sharks’ 4-1 win over Chicago on Saturday, Meier said, “the season’s still not finished, so I still want to do well in those last couple of games, especially tomorrow, you know, the biggest game of the year against Vegas.

“We can maybe knock them out of the playoffs.”

That didn’t happen, but Vegas (42-31-6) now likely has to win its three remaining games to have a chance.

The Golden Knights now have 90 points, three back of the Dallas Stars, and four back of the Nashville Predators for one of the two wild-card spots in the Western Conference. Dallas and Vegas, which both have three games left, play each other at American Airlines Center on Tuesday in a must-win for the Golden Knights.

Nashville also has three games left. Vegas could also catch Los Angeles for third place in the Pacific Division but would need to win out and hope the Kings lose their final two games in regulation time.

“He said all the right things,” Boughner said of Meier’s postgame comments Saturday. “I think part of that is trying to get his teammates ready as well.”

The Sharks return home for a Tuesday game against the Anaheim Ducks, then finish the season with road games against the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday and the Seattle Kraken on Friday.

In recent weeks, the Sharks missed other chances to play spoiler, losing twice to Dallas and once to teams like Minnesota, Vancouver, Nashville, and Edmonton, who are all either chasing a playoff spot or jockeying for postseason seeding.

The Vegas game, though, was going to bring some extra intensity.

The Sharks’ rivalry with the Golden Knights was at an apex in 2018 and 2019. The two teams met in the second round in 2018, with Vegas winning in six games, and the Sharks won a memorable first-round meeting the next year, capturing the series with a dramatic 5-4 overtime victory in Game 7.

However, the Sharks have not beaten the Golden Knights since Nov. 21, 2019, when San Jose had Aaron Dell as its starting goalie and Pete DeBoer as its coach. From that point, the Sharks own a dismal 0-9-2 record against the Golden Knights. The Sharks had been outscored 55-22 in those 11 games.

“I don’t think you could draw it up any better,” Boughner said. “It’s been a long time in this building, some close games. But that’s a good hockey team over there, a desperate hockey tea. We knew what we were facing tonight.”

Hertl opened the scoring at the 11:43 mark of the first period.

Jaycob Megna took control of a puck that came back to the blue and fired it back toward the net. Alexander Barabanov redirected the puck to open space where Hertl gathered it and shot it past Thompson for his 30th goal of the season. For Barabanov, it was his 29th assist of the year.

The Golden Knights got that goal back on the power play.

Just 13 seconds after Meier began serving a tripping penalty, Chandler Stephenson took control of the puck, which appeared to be nudged forward by Mark Stone, and beat Reimer for his 20th goal of the season.

Taking advantage of some shoddy work by the Sharks in their own zone, Pacioretty and Carrier scored 2:13 apart in the second period, with Carrier’s goal at the 9:59 mark giving Vegas a 3-1 lead.

“I just thought that we were a team that never quit tonight,” Boughner said. “It took us 59 minutes and 59 seconds to get the goal we needed, but it was a fun game. I know the guys are happy and enjoying themselves right now and feeling good about themselves.”

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