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It's not over yet

** Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Famer publishes Steve Carps twice a week every Wednesday and Sunday during the Golden Knights season. ** The stunned silence in the T-Mobile Arena Sunday evening was fatal. Tomas Hertl's shot from the high slot had succeeded in diverting Marc-Andre Fleury and the San Jose Sharks are still alive in this initial round of the Stanley Cup Playoff series with Golden Knights after their 2-1 double overtime win. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen) Looking from the press window when Sharks celebration could not help me think about what went through the thoughts of almost all 18,458 who had come to see their team to the next round one waited for handshakes but left instead wondering if this was their last visit to their beloved fortress. After all, it had been a strong effort by the home team. They had released 59 shots on the second team's goaltender. They had dominated games for good parts of the competition. They had discovered the visitors a 1-0 lead with 6.5 seconds left in the first period just to come back to pull evenly. So why aren't we talking about the knights playing Colorado avalanche tomorrow? Why is it still unfinished business with San Jose? Sharks deserve the lion's share of credits to expand this series into a crucial game on Tuesday 7th. They are a firm and opportunistic group. Their goaltender Martin Jones has rediscovered his game and his coach, Peter DeBoer, got stuck with him…

** Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Famer publishes Steve Carps twice a week every Wednesday and Sunday during the Golden Knights season. **

The stunned silence in the T-Mobile Arena Sunday evening was fatal.

Tomas Hertl’s shot from the high slot had succeeded in diverting Marc-Andre Fleury and the San Jose Sharks are still alive in this initial round of the Stanley Cup Playoff series with Golden Knights after their 2-1

double overtime win.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Looking from the press window when Sharks celebration could not help me think about what went through the thoughts of almost all 18,458 who had come to see their team to the next round one waited for handshakes but left instead wondering if this was their last visit to their beloved fortress.

After all, it had been a strong effort by the home team. They had released 59 shots on the second team’s goaltender. They had dominated games for good parts of the competition. They had discovered the visitors a 1-0 lead with 6.5 seconds left in the first period just to come back to pull evenly.

So why aren’t we talking about the knights playing Colorado avalanche tomorrow? Why is it still unfinished business with San Jose?

Sharks deserve the lion’s share of credits to expand this series into a crucial game on Tuesday 7th. They are a firm and opportunistic group. Their goaltender Martin Jones has rediscovered his game and his coach, Peter DeBoer, got stuck with him when everyone demanded he started Aaron Dell in the Game 5 online.

Jones has played well in his last two games and starts with him when I looking for some explanations why this series is still running.

I think our group has never lost their faith in him. I think we knew he did this and we needed him tonight and he was our best player. -DeBoer

Jones said he is just trying to play properly and not consider things. It works out pretty well late.

I stick to it and try to just read the game and play for the latest games. Trust my game and trust our team. -Jones

The knights tipped their cap to San Jose goalkeeper. What more can they do?

Yes, we were over them. We had great pressure and forced a lot of turnover. Martin Jones was pretty good tonight you have to give him credit. -Jonathan Marchessault

But it’s not just San Jose goalkeeper who has the knights in this position. Hertl and Logan Couture, two players I had said before the series that the knights must contain have dominated. Couture got the first goal and he has four in the series. Hertl has five goals. As a team, Sharks has 18 goals, so it’s two guys that generate 50 percent of the crime.

Yes, both are difficult to play against. But if Sharks continues beyond Tuesday, they will be the reason why [Hertl’s] confidence is as high as he wants. You can see it and you feed him. He has been a big piece for us -Joe Pavelski

How has this series waved in the last 72 hours? In the first four games, the knights’ top line was Paul Stastny, Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone. Combined, they had 12 goals and 28 points. The last two games? Zilch. Stone had a 1:25 gift in game 6 when he had a blank net to shoot at. His backhand was wide. If he scores, the whole game is changed by the game.

Pacioretty also had an open network and it took a good game of Pavelski to deny him when he managed to get his stick on Pacioretty on the right post before he could score.

Tomas Nosek and Reilly Smith also had degree A chances during the opening 20 minutes and both failed to convert. If any of them goes in, we’re probably talking about Colorado.

But hockey is as much mental as it is physically. And when we move on to Game 7, onus is on Golden Knights to restart mentally and emotionally.

You can see the seeds planted immediately after the game by Gerard Gallant and his players.

You get ready to play, you forget tonight, it’s over with now and you go ahead and get ready for the next. We played a blow in a game tonight. I’m proud of our guys. The way they competed 59 shots online. It wasn’t our night, but it’s another day for us, fortunately. We get ready for Game 7 and be ready to go. -Gallant

And this from Marchessault:

We are convinced of the group we have here. We are a confident group and a good hockey team. Just have to continue and stick to it. I think if we continue to play the right way, as we did tonight, I think we will be rewarded. -Marchessault

What it points out is that the knights’ best players have to show up and play San Jose’s best. It hasn’t happened in the last two games. Fleury must play better. The Stastny line must play better. The knights’ entire defensive corps must play better.

And while it is encouraging to see Marchessault and his line begin to generate a crime, it may not be enough. Bottom sex needs to help with the heavy lifting. Cody Eakin and Alex Tuch only have one goal piece. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Will Carrier and Ryan Reaves have been out of the scoring list throughout the series.

There is nothing you can do when fluke things happen. Shea Theodore tried to prevent Hertl scoring in the second OT and he got his stick on Hertl’s stick a split second late. And yes, perhaps Fleury should have quit it, but it does all that started with the knights’ failure to keep possession during a rare OT power play. So if you want to assign the debt, you can point to all six players on the ice for Vegas.

But what is done is done. As the players said afterwards, you turn the page and you move on. But the efforts are obviously revealed at this time. There is no more pillow to fall back on. No more house money to play with. It’s a game, winners take it all.

So why will the knights win?

To begin with, they have already won a playoff game with this line in San Jose. They will not be intimidated by the frenetic atmosphere of the SAP Center.

They continue to create chances. It’s a matter of putting them away. They are still the faster team and while Jones has obviously gained his confidence, let’s not forget that he was unsteady on several occasions in Game 6 and if the knights managed to convert on any of these opportunities, we might not talk about how good he saw.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Mentally it seems that the knights are in a good place. They focus on the positive ones they took from Game 6 and there are enough veterans in the room to keep things optimal. They do not seem to be a hit team emotionally. How they channel that feeling will be crucial to their success in Game 7.

And that’s the beauty of Game 7s. You do not need any further motivation. You can put everything that happened earlier behind you. There’s no one looking either. Your focus is on a game.

This is a patronized territory for this franchise but they have guys who have played in Game 7s before, especially Fleury. His temperament is perfect for this type of pressure cooker environment. He will keep things loose in the locker room and I expect him to come up big. He is still better off the two goalkeeper in this series. And as I said before Game 1, it’s about going out in the playoffs. If the golden knights will be on the right side of the handshake line on Tuesday night, it will probably be because of No. 29.

For me, the knights are still the better hockey team. They just haven’t received the desired results in the last two games.

Many of you think this series is over. I saw your tweets. I heard your comments leaving the building on Sunday. If you feel that way, I suggest you make a bet on San Jose using the William Hill Mobile Sports app and trying to recover some of your financial investments.

When it comes to your emotional investment, I say you trust your team. Sure, it is a disappointment for you to get your team to throw away two opportunities to move on. But there is still a chance.

The jump always runs forever.

** Steve Carp is the author of “Vegas Born – The Remarkable Story of Golden Knights.” Follow him on Twitter @ stevecarp56. All Steve Carp’s work here at SinBin.vegas is presented by Jimmerson Law Firm. For over twenty-five years, Jimmerson Law Firm has been widely known as one of Las Vegas’ premier full-service law firms. Jimmerson’s law firm specializes in high stakes business, civil and family disputes, and has an unrivaled history of winning when it’s most important. To reach Jimmerson Law Firm, call (702) 388-7171 and tell them SinBin.vegas sent you. **

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