LAS VEGAS — After winning Game 5 at home to avoid elimination, Tomas Hertl vowed the San Jose Sharks would return to SAP Center for a seventh and decisive game in their opening-round series with the Vegas Golden Knights.
One day later, he clarified it was not necessarily a guarantee, but rather a vote of confidence his team would force a Game 7.
Either way, he came through to make it happen.
Hertl scored a short-handed goal 11:17 into the second overtime to lift San Jose to a 2-1 win over the Golden Knights, forcing a deciding game in their first-round playoff series.
“At first moment when I get it, I was already a little bit tired, I was thinking maybe just dump it in and change, but I saw a little bit of space, so I just take a couple of steps and try shoot it,” Hertl said. “If you don’t try you never know, so I tried it and it somehow get through, and for sure huge goal.”
Just 31 seconds after Barclay Goodrow was called for slashing Brayden McNabb, it was Marc-Edouard poking the puck from in front of Martin Jones with a stretch pass down the center of the ice, where a weary Hertl was there to gather the delivery, skate past Vegas’ Shea Theodore and beat Marc-Andre Fleury with a wrist shot to seal the win and force Game 7 on Tuesday at San Jose.
“The only reason it went in because Shea Theodore slashed a stick and you tell your defensemen to play the guy’s stick,” Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said. “So, it’s do or die in the next game for both teams.”
Hertl became the first player in NHL history to score a short-handed winner in a postseason game that required multiple overtimes. Only eight other players in league history have scored a short-handed goal in the first overtime of a postseason game.
Bruins 4, Maple Leafs 2: TORONTO — Brad Marchand had two goals and an assist as Boston beat Toronto to force a Game 7 in the teams’ first-round playoff series. Torey Krug and Jake DeBrusk also scored, and David Pastrnak had two assists to help Boston avoid elimination.