Patrick Marleau didn’t get to leave San Jose with a win, as the Toronto Maple Leafs fell to the Sharks in a 3-2 game tonight. Coming back from an east coast road trip, the Sharks didn’t look any worse for the wear, putting on one of their best games so far this season.
The Leafs came out strong in the first period, with both teams exchanges chances. The bad guys struck first, by none other than Auston Matthews, who flung a wrister past Martin Jones just over halfway through the first period. Matthews was all over the ice during the first, also breaking up an attempted drop from Timo Meier to Ryan Carpenter near the end of the period that could have converted into a decent chance.
Luckily for the Sharks, the Leafs are still struggling with their forward depth, making it a little easier to widen the gap. The second period saw the Sharks take off in shots, though they lacked as many quality chances. Still, they were able to tie the game with a deflection from Joe Pavelski off a Tim Heed shot. With an assist on the play, Joe Thornton now takes sole ownership of the 20th slot of top all-time NHL scorers.
The game got physical fast. Timo Meier found himself taking a beating several times through out the night. Early in the third, Dominic Moore sat for two minutes for illegally cross-checking Meier, following a hit from Matt Martin. The ensuing power play brought on the go-ahead goal from Tim Heed, taking in his second point of the night. At that point, the Leafs’ fourth line was clearly dragging them down, without a single shot attempt and 15 shots against, while also taking three minor penalties.
Joel Ward would get what would become the game winner when the Leafs pulled goaltender Frederik Andersen with just over two minutes left to play in the third. It was Ward’s first goal of the season. Taking advantage of the Sharks thinking they had this one in the bag already, Nazem Kadri score with 1:10 to go, but the Leafs couldn’t get the tie in the final minute. With this win, Martin Jones is now 7-0 against the Maple Leafs.
The Sharks dominated in shots, finishing out the game with 39 to the Leafs’ mere 18. All the credit to Andersen, though, who closed out the night with 36 saves and a .923 save percentage. The Sharks looked good on face-offs, winning 54.7%, and they stayed out of the penalty box for the entire game while scoring once on their four power plays. This game may have been the best they’ve looked all season.
While Marleau didn’t get the win, he did get a very emotional standing ovation, with his family in attendance for their first game this season.
Thanks for everything, Patty.
The Sharks continue their five-game home stand, taking on the Nashville Predators on Wednesday night. They’ll be trying to earn their first three-game win streak this season.