The Sharks and Leafs came into tonight knowing it was going to be end-to-end hockey for 60 minutes and the game delivered.
Both teams held leads at various points throughout the night, with Toronto putting it away late in the third. Kasperi Kapanen had himself a stellar showing, collecting 2 goals and wreaking havoc all over the ice. It is always tough to lose, but losing to Toronto is nothing to be sad about. The Leafs are an elite team who played really good hockey tonight, and had a goalie in Frederik Andersen see 45 shots on net and be up to the task. San Jose will need to clean up some of the miscues, but it’s nothing that can’t be ironed out over the coming games. The Sharks will be back in action Saturday, when the St. Louis Blues come to town.
An Eastern Conference team comes to town tonight, but not just any team. The high-flying Toronto Maple Leafs (12-6-0, 2nd in the Atlantic) will be looking to swipe a win in the middle of their west coast road trip. San Jose (10-6-3, 1st in the Pacific) will look to contain the high octane Leafs offense led by John Tavares and Mitchell Marner.
Tonight’s game should prove to be a high-event, back-and-forth affair with a ton of offense and defense relegated to an afterthought.
The Sharks are coming off another 5-4 victory over Nashville, one marred by a blown 3-0 lead but salvaged with Joe Thornton’s 400th goal. The Leafs come to town after a Tuesday night 5-1 beat down of the Los Angeles Kings, which sounds impressive, but the Kings are more than struggling this year and are all but destined for the top of the draft.
This is the first of two meetings between Toronto and San Jose this season, with the second coming in less than two weeks time from now. But first, they must renew their long dead 90’s rivalry tonight at SAP Center.
The Sharks are most likely going to be without Tomas Hertl tonight. This has caused Peter DeBoer to reunite a former line and introduce a new top line.
The Leafs will still be without the services of the Bay Area’s hometown kid, Auston Matthews, who is still out with a shoulder injury. The Buds will also continue to be without William Nylander, who is still waiting to get paid.
Where to watch
The Sharks and Leafs play tonight at 7:30 PT at SAP Center. If you can’t make the game, you can watch on NBCSCA (and Sportsnet Ontario for you Canadian viewers) or listen on 98.5 KFOX. If you can’t do either of those, you can always join us here on Fear the Fin, where we’ll be live blogging as best we can. We can’t promise a good game, but we can promise good coverage.
Hello friends, it’s me Kyle jumping on the live blog tonight. I am going to try and live tweet and live blog simultaneously, but that might be too much power for one man. This should be a great game tonight, featuring offense, offense, and more offense. Let’s do this!
Before puck drop thought. Do you think the fans boo Tavares tonight? I can see it happening, and I wouldn’t be upset. I am always for fan engagement.
Ceremonial puck drop by Evgeni Nabokov, who was inducted into the San Jose sports hall of fame. Congrats Nabby, we will always love you.
19:52 - Barclay Goodrow with the absolutely boneheaded play. Why are you doing that? Undisciplined. Leafs head to the power play.
17:50 - Penalty was killed but John Tavares scores immediately after. Bad luck play as it banks off of Vlasic’s skate but San Jose shouldn’t be in that position. Not a great start for San Jose.
14:32 Frederik Andersen forgets how to goalie and allows Labanc to tap in the easiest goal of his career. 1-1, I’ll take it.
10:25 - Evander Kane back checks perfectly to save a rebound one timer from his man. It seems the Sharks have been doing a much better job of playing team defense ever since the Blues game.
9:14 - Big save from Freddy, that was a great shot and tip sequence. Sharks need more of that.
9:02 - Kadri and Meier both sitting for a deuce. They were taking part in some extracurricular activity. It’s weird that San Jose is so obsessed with a depth Leafs centre. They are playing right into his mind games by coming down to his level.
8:13 - Leafs score to make it 2-1 off a great set up by our old friend Marleau. Bad Kane turnover, Jones is slow on the lateral movement. Not a great sequence.
7:50 - At some point Toronto got a penalty. 4 on 3 hockey for 49 seconds before it goes to a conventional 5 on 4.
7:09 - And just like that the score is tied again. Great redirect by Pavelski at the side of the net. Also, great interplay between E. Karlsson and Burns up top.
6:28 - Timo Meier takes a stupid penalty. He needs to cool his jets. As a matter of fact, San Jose needs to be less concerned with the Leafs shenanigans. Just play.
4:28 - Sharks hang on and kill that penalty off.
2:38 - What a beautiful pinch by Karlsson. Kept the play alive and created a scoring chance. He also has two assists tonight, for those who are into that kind of thing.
1:38 - Vlasic joins the rush and deposits one in the net! Great play all around, 3-2 good guys.
First period comes to a close and what a roller coaster that was. The game is living up to the billing of all offense, no defense. Sharks need to clean up the undisciplined play, but they have the skill required to keep up with the high-flying Leafs. Everyone catch your breath before the middle frame starts.
19:41- Is it just me, or have the refs called for a lot of re-draws tonight after dropping the puck?
17:30 - Josh Leivo with the goal. Eventually Jones is going to stop someone on a breakaway right? Right? 3-3.
16:00 - The back and forth hockey has continued. San Jose would do well to clean up the rebounds better and not give up multiple chances per rush.
12:57 - Rourke to the box for elbowing. The penalty parade is getting annoying.
11:47 - Burns and Karlsson together on the power play is definitely a combination of players you could theoretically play together.
10:57 - Sharks with yet another penalty killed off.
9:12 - Marcus Sorensen tries a toe drag at one end, and Justin Braun bats a bouncing puck out of harms way at the other. Folks, this is a track meet.
8:41 - Zachary Hyman to the box for breaking the rules. Sharks get an opportunity to take control of the game again on the power play.
7:54 - What a brutal power play. That’s a horrendous turnover by Pavelski at the blue line and no one is catching Kapanen on a breakaway, he is incredibly fast.
3:33 - Oh my, Martin Jones with a big blocker save on a breakaway chance.
Second period comes to a close, and it looks like San Jose was saved by the bell. Not a great end to the period for the Sharks, they started running around in their own zone. The Leafs started piling on the chances at the end. Still, it’s only 4-3 and San Jose is very in the game.
17:45 - The action has picked back up where they left off, at a track meet. San Jose is pressing nicely, got to think one of these is going to get by Andersen soon.
13:54 - Alright, Sharks power play upcoming! This would be an opportune time to score.
11:54 - They did not score.
9:41 - Brenden Dillon almost lowers the boom on Connor Brown, but gets enough of him to send him twirling into the air.
7:55 - Kasperi Kapanen is very fast. This is a recording.
6:51 - I spy a Sorenson-Thornton-Donskoi line, which means the blender has been turned on.
6:00 - Mitch Marner scores off a pass from the goalie, Andersen. It’s 5-3 now.
5:04 - The refs decide that a straight punch to the face of Melker Karlsson is off setting penalties. Whatever.
2:00 - I have zero idea how Pavelski didn’t score. I have zero idea how San Jose didn’t score in general on that flurry.
1:22 - DeBoer calls a timeout. It must be said that Freddy Andersen has been standing on his head. 45 shots for San Jose is a large amount of rubber on net.
And that’s all she wrote, the Leafs take it 5-3.