Postgame: Raking Up

The San Jose Sharks did a nice job for their first visit to Toronto to face up against the Maple Leafs in several years; despite giving up the first goal to Tyler Bozak halfway through the first, the Sharks fought well to keep themselves in the game and eventually took the lead courtesy of Dan Boyle and Joe Pavelski each contributing to the scoresheet in the middle frame. A late second-period tie-up came from Phil Kessel on a power play handed to the Leafs by Jody Shelley, who responded very poorly (and in a manner lacking discipline or forethought) to a hit from Dion Phaneuf, someone known for delivering a hard check and resistant a glove-dropping tussle afterwards.

It was a great shift by Ryane Clowe and Devin Setoguchi that made the difference just over seven minutes into the third, as Clowe put the puck past Jean-Sebastien Giguere to close the scoring on another page of the story of the Sharks' pre-Olympic road trip. Prior to this tilt, J.S. managed to stack up two shutouts in a row for the Leafs, becoming the first goaltender in Leafs franchise history to do so in their first pair of appearances donning the blue and white. As a side note, it took me until about halfway into the second to realize that Giguere was still sporting his old Anaheim Duck mask, still too fresh to the Toronto club to have had a new one made sporting the new digs; makes me wonder how long it takes for these masks to be made for goalies, and how involved they are (on average) in the process.

On a more relevant note, San Jose brought new blood with them in their visit in the form of Niclas Wallin, the recently-acquired stay-at-home defenseman brought in from the Carolina Hurricanes; AHL'er Dwight Helminen, another product of the Carolina system, joined the fray as well, likely due to a history that made the move make sense -- his games with the 'Canes big club put one NHL goal on his record, scored against Toronto with an assist from Wallin. Quite the connection there, and an interesting move since (from what I understand) Helminen isn't expected to get much NHL ice time for the Sharks.

As I'm typing this, Randy and Drew just mentioned their supposed statistic claiming that San Jose is 11-0 in multiple-fight games; my earlier research into this found an October 6th game against the Kings which disproves that idea, but this game does make it an impressive 11-1 record as both Jody Shelley and Brad Staubitz found time to take the Leafs to task (despite Shelley's later bid for a round with Phaneuf, noted above). Both managed to win their respective scraps, as well, which is always a nice boost to the team.

It also seems that Douglas Murray was injured, in the foot by the look of it, on a blocked shot late in the game. He looked to be in quite a bit of pain as he limped back to the Sharks bench following the play; hopefully, this isn't another extended blow to the Sharks' battered defense, with Marc-Edouard Vlasic still out from his earlier injury and Dan Boyle still (very nicely) warming his legs back up after his stint on IR none too long ago. With any luck, Murray won't miss a game, but I'll hold off on making any wild conjectures to one side or the other.

I didn't have any Toronto-themed food for the night; we ate pizza of a relatively unimportant variety. I may try and get something together for Wednesday's lineup as the Sharks head to Ohio to take on Rick Nash and the rest of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Hopefully we'll see Wallin get into the groove a bit with his new teammates and get a good game of it, even though I'll likely miss most of it courtesy of my job (though thankfully, I can tune in to the radio broadcast while I work, so that's something).

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