The Sharks (16-11-1) began their four game road trip in Toronto (11-11-5) Tuesday night having lost 4 of their last 5 away from SAP Center. This one would require a comeback effort from the Sharks that was sparked by Justin Brauns’ first of the season.
With just over seven minutes remaining in the game, Chris Tierney caught up to a chip in along the boards by Melker Karlsson as he sent a backhand pass to the slot where Braun was crashing. Braun took the pass on his backhand and roofed it over Frederik Andersen to cut the lead in half, 2-1 Toronto.
Just two minutes later the Sharks would find themselves on the power play for the sixth time. And finally, they would convert. After a face-off win back to the point, Brent Burns flung the puck towards the net and Joe Pavelski tipped it passed Andersen in the high slot, tying the game at 2-2.
After a back and forth overtime period, the Sharks capped off the comeback in their first shootout of the season. Logan Couture scored and Martin Jones shut the door to secure the 3-2 victory.
The game belonged to the Leafs for most of the action and in particular, to rookies Zach Hyman and Auston Matthews. Hyman displayed some great penalty killing by blocking big shots from Brent Burns and Patrick Marleau on the Sharks two first period power plays.
Then, with seven minutes gone in the first period William Nylander spun off a check from Brenden Dillon and fed Matthews who had just escaped from Tierney’s coverage. Matthews fired a low shot from the left hash mark that deflected off Hyman’s stick and ramped over Jones’ shoulder to give Toronto a 1-0 lead.
The Sharks came out in the second period with more jump to their game. However, the quick-strike offense of the Leafs was on display again in the form a Morgan Rielly wrister, which looked to put them up 2-0.
Fortunately, the referees waved off the goal on a goaltender interference infraction. Following a Coach Mike Babcock challenge, it was determined Nazem Kadri had bumped into Martin Jones leading to a “no goal” decision and the Sharks’ third power play chance.
This would start a flurry of power play chances exchanged between the two teams. After failing to convert on their own chance, the Sharks found themselves down two men for over a minute and a half after Tommy Wingels and Matt Nieto were sat down. Nieto tried to catch a leading pass to the net while shorthanded and ran Toronto goalie Andersen.
Matthews would then capitalize on the 5-on-3 with a simple little turnaround shot from the left of Jones just above the icing line to make it 2-0.
Although the Sharks looked their best with the man-advantage early on in Toronto, they’ve struggled on the road throughout the season posting just an 8.3% success rate. While it did not look like the Sharks were going to get a point out of tonight’s effort, the power play did finally contribute when they had the opportunity to tie the game late in third.
The Sharks are back at it again tomorrow on the second night of their back-to-back as they visit the Ottawa Senators.
- The Sharks went 1/6 on the power play with 15 shots.
- Mikkel Boedker has looked very explosive in his last two games using his speed and skating to get to the net. Hopefully that can turn into goals sooner rather than later.
- Sharks haven’t lost in Toronto since 2002.
- Sharks improve to 1-8-1 after trailing after two periods.
- Vlasic, who was shaken up in the game against Carolina, did not play.
Fear The Fin Three Stars
- Logan Couture
- Justin Braun
- Joe Pavelski