Then, the referee waved it off for goalie interference and gave Vegas a power play that changed the momentum of the game and possibly the series.
Mark Stone scored the tiebreaking goal on that power play and the Golden Knights responded after the first-period collapse to beat the Sharks 5-3 on Friday night to tie their playoff series at one game apiece.
"For our power play to come out and really bear down was obviously a big swing," Stone said. "There's momentum swings in playoff games every night. Every game is a new chapter in a series and tonight was a big win for us."
The teams packed an entire game into the opening minutes with the Golden Knights scoring three goals in the first 6:11 and the Sharks rallying for three more in the final 3:01 to become the first team in NHL history to tie a playoff game in the first period after falling behind 3-0.
The craziness continued at the start of the second period when the Sharks briefly celebrated an apparent goal in the opening minute by Brent Burns. That quickly turned to frustration when the officials waved off the goal because Logan Couture interfered with Marc-Andre Fleury, giving the Golden Knights the power play that led to the game-winning goal.
"It was awesome," Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said. "It was definitely the right call. He hit him in the head. He tried to play the puck, he was defending his goal, he's trying to play the puck and a guy skates through the blue paint and bumps him in the head. To me, it's pretty obvious. I don't know what they're saying down there."
Predictably, that wasn't the view from the Sharks side, with coach Peter DeBoer calling it a "travesty." DeBoer said he believed Fleury was outside the crease when contact was made and was upset the referee called a penalty on what he thought was incidental contact because that prevented a chance at a replay review.
"That one call is a two-goal swing and devastating for our group," DeBoer said. "It's a shame."
Stone converted from the slot after a scramble for his third goal of the series and Vegas held on from there, thanks in part to 34 saves from Fleury.
Cody Eakin, Colin Miller and Max Pacioretty all scored in the first period to stake the Golden Knights to the big lead after losing the opener 5-2. William Karlsson added a short-handed goal in the third to ice it.
Game 3 will be Sunday night in Las Vegas.