SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Nic Hague and Nicolas Roy scored in the final 2 minutes of the second period and the Vegas Golden Knights spoiled San Jose’s season opener by beating the Sharks 4-1 on Thursday night.
The teams were locked in a tight game before Vegas broke it open with the goals from Hague and Roy 53 seconds apart.
Michael Amadio also scored and Brayden Pachal added his first career goal to help the defending champions win their second straight to open the season.
“Tonight I thought it was our guys that we don’t typically rely on that did a lot,” coach Bruce Cassidy said. “That shows you’re a good team when you don’t need your top guys to have their ‘A’ games all the time. Tonight I thought some of them were fine, but not dominant like they can be and have been. … It’s not the usual suspects and you need that if you’re going to be a good team.”
Logan Thompson made 22 saves in his first regular-season game since being sidelined by a lower-body injury last March.
“I’m relieved it’s over,” Thompson said. “I always think the first one is the hardest. So happy to get the win. I thought the guys played great tonight. It made my life pretty easy out there.”
Filip Zadina scored the lone goal for the Sharks, who lost their fifth opener in the last seven seasons. Kaapo Kahkonen made 27 saves in his first career season-opening start.
“We’re still coming together as a team and there were a lot of things I liked about our game tonight,” coach David Quinn said. “For 38 minutes, it’s a 1-1 hockey game, and then we didn’t handle the adversity the way that we need to.”
The Sharks, who missed the playoffs for a fourth straight year last season for the first time in franchise history, opened the season in front of a rare sellout crowd.
There was good energy in the building early even if the intensity from this rivalry has died down while the Sharks have struggled and the Golden Knights won the Stanley Cup last season. There was even an early fight with Keegan Kolesar taking on Kyle Burroughs after the San Jose defenseman delivered a hard hit to Amadio.
The teams traded goals in the first period with Vegas getting the goal from Amadio seconds after killing off their second penalty of the period and Zadina answering for San Jose late.
Pachal got his long-awaited first career goal early in the third period. He had played 12 games in the NHL over the past two seasons and is getting a chance early this year with defensemen Alec Martinez and Zach Whitecloud sidelined by injuries.
“It’s super cool,” he said. “It’s a dream come true. You’ve grown up playing hockey, it’s one of the things that you dream of, scoring your first NHL goal.”
Vegas defenseman Alex Pietrangelo left the game late in the third period after he was hit in the side of the head by a shot from Hague that deflected off a defenseman’s stick. He started bleeding immediately and the trainer rushed onto the ice with a towel as Pietrangelo hurried to the dressing room.
The ice crew then came out to clean the blood from the ice.
Both teams were missing key forwards. San Jose captain Logan Couture is still sidelined by a lower-body injury and Vegas’ Brett Howden is serving a suspension.
Couture got hurt over the summer and resumed skating last week but had a setback and is now considered week to week.
Howden got suspended two games for an illegal check to the head of Seattle forward Brandon Tanev in the season opener on Tuesday.
Vegas was also without forward William Carrier, who left the opener with an upper-body injury.
The Golden Knights host Anaheim on Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena.