SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Alex Pietrangelo and Keegan Kolesar scored in the first period, Marc-Andre Fleury earned his 67th career shutout and the Vegas Golden Knights finished the regular season with a 6-0 victory Wednesday night over the San Jose Sharks that keeps them alive in the race for the division title.
Vegas remains ahead of Colorado in the West Division and for the top mark in the NHL. Colorado holds the tiebreaker based on regular-season wins and can take the top spot by beating the Kings in their final two games.
The Golden Knights may have to wait until Thursday night to determine whether they will play third-place Minnesota or fourth-place St. Louis in the first round of the playoffs.
Dylan Sikura scored twice in the third period, and William Carrier and Jonathan Marchessault also scored to help Vegas complete a sweep of the eight-game season series against the Sharks. Fleury made 17 saves.
San Jose missed the playoffs in back-to-back seasons from the first since 1996 and '97 with just 49 points in 56 games.
They were completely outplayed by a motivated Golden Knights, getting outshout 35-13 in the first two periods and giving little help to rookie goalie Alexei Melnichuk. Melnichuk made 38 saves in his second career start.
The Golden Knights didn't take long to jump on top of the Sharks by scoring twice in the opening eight minutes.
Pietrangelo got a loose puck in front and beat Melnichuk for the first goal and Kolesar added to the lead when he converted a rebound.
Vegas didn't let up from there and put the game out of reach with the goals from Carrier and Marchessault in the second period.
Sharks forward Patrick Marleau got some gifts in what could have been his final game with the franchise. His teammates gave him a custom painting of him and Gordie Howe to honor Marleau's breaking Howe's NHL all-times games played record last month. At the request of the Howe family, Marleau also was given the stick Howe used in his final NHL game that had been displayed at the Hall of Fame. That stick will be replaced in the Hall by a stick Marleau used in the record-setting game.
Marleau was the last player to leave the ice and acknowledged the small crowd on hand for the final game of the season.
The 41-year-old Marleau will be a free agent this offseason and the Sharks might look to go in a younger direction next season.
Golden Knights: Waiting to find out their playoff opponent.
Sharks: The offseason.
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