After a disappointing loss to the Vegas Golden Knights at home on Tuesday, the San Jose Sharks bounced back, winning 3-2 in overtime against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Captain Logan Couture kicked things off with a goal on his first shift of the game, getting the home team on the board just 26 seconds into the game. Shortly after, David Kampf went five-hole on Kaapo Kahkonen to score the equalizer.
Part way through the second period, the Sharks drew two separate penalties in the same sequence, resulting in two full minutes of 5-on-3 play and two power play goals in short order from Logan Couture and Timo Meier, respectively. In the final few seconds of the second period, Mitch Marner scored off a sequence that could only be described as some wild, net-front bingo, one that Kahkonen couldn’t beat.
In the final frame, Auston Matthews added another blemish to the Sharks’ penalty kill record. While there were a flurry of chances toward the end of regulation, the game went into overtime. It didn’t last very long before Erik Karlsson scored the game-winner on a breakaway.
Following the win, head coach David Quinn, captain Logan Couture, winger Timo Meier and defender Erik Karlsson took to the mic to address the win, redemption and bouncing back from mistakes during the game.
Here’s what they had to say:
On getting back into the win column: I feel really good for our players, and I thought we did a lot of good things tonight. Probably the best we’ve looked in the offensive zone, our transition was good, just a lot of good things tonight.
That was winning hockey. We need to play more of that, and we played more of it tonight.
On overcoming mistakes during the game: We all saw [Meier’s turnover] with 30 seconds left — that just cannot happen, that’s losing hockey, and that’s something we have to get out of our game. We should get into that period 3-1, that puck should get deep. Know the situation, know who’s out there for the other team.
We’re a work in progress, we looked like a hockey team tonight. I was driving in with Brian Wiseman today and I told him this was the best I had felt in a month, physically. I’m not tired, I’m energetic and that was probably the most energetic we’ve looked and played. You could feel it even in the locker room before the game. Maybe there’s a correlation to all of this that’s gone on here in the first month of the season, but I’m just proud of our guys. We battled, we competed — right off the bat, the first goal was just a complete effort by Nieto and Cooch followed the play up. That set the tone for the rest of the night.
On changing Couture’s linemates: He and I had a long talk this morning. I just thought that if we’re going to be the team I think we’re capable of being, [Nieto and Barabanov] were the right guys to put him with. You got a guy like Barabanov who creates some offense, you have Nieto, an established guy in the NHL who’s a smart player — he’s probably been our most consistent forward all year, him and Sturm. You could see the excitement in Logan’s face when he and I were talking this morning, and I’m really happy for him. He’s a great captain and a great player and it was fun seeing him get rewarded tonight.
On Karlsson: Not only the goal, he had a good night. Obviously, the two penalties — I thought one was really weak — but he had a really good game tonight, he played really well. Again, world-class talent, made a world-class play. It was a really good defensive play by Meier. Meier does a great job defending when you turn the puck up.
On his overtime winner: [I saw] nothing, I had nobody in front of me. It was nice the way it developed. I just had to get going, trust Timo that he would get the puck there, made up my mind fairly early and stuck to it and it went in.
On losing the lead, but being able to come back: They’re a good team, there’s no doubt about it. We did a good job in trading chances with them and creating our own stuff as well. We got two huge power play goals, they got one power play goal, so we won that battle. Even though they tied it up there fairly late in the third, it felt like we were playing with them and we felt confident that we were going to win the game even though it took us extra minutes again.
On a sense of redemption: Tuesday, coming back from the trip, we were playing well, but you could feel that we weren’t really connected — the bodies weren’t really where we needed to be. Today, I felt we did a better job. We were a little more there mentally and I think that’s why we made a few more good decisions.
On Kahkonen: He’s been playing great for us ever since he got here. We haven’t been able to find ways to win games for him, but today felt extra good, especially for him. He had a huge game — he made some key stops at key moments to keep us in it, and we found a way to finally score four goals.
On his linemates: [Nieto and Barabanov] played extremely well tonight. Barbie is so good at holding onto pucks and Nietsy used his speed, especially on that first goal. We had a good night, so hopefully we’ll build off of that.
On scoring his 300th NHL goal: It’s pretty special. Whenever you’re mentioned in the same breath as Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski, it’s humbling. You don’t play this game to reach milestones like that, you play to win, but when those come, I appreciate it for sure.
On the bench after giving up goals: It happens, it’s hockey, you make mistakes. We’re still up 3-2 in the third against a really good hockey team. After they tied it up, we battled hard, had some good looks to even take the lead — it was a pretty even third period, good hockey game, and we found the fourth one to win it.
On losing the lead, but being able to come back: It’s just the mindset — don’t make that the story, don’t make that the focal point of the game. We can still go out and play 20 minutes and do something about it, and that’s what we did. We found a way against a good hockey team with a lot of skill up front. We forced them to play the game that we wanted to play rather than the game that they wanted to play. Obviously, they had shifts where they were creating offensive zone time and flying all over the place with Matthews and Marner and guys like that, but for the most part, we played hard and forced them to defend.
On scoring the first goal of the game: I need to play better — I needed to play better, so I show up every night trying to help the team win. For a lot of games this season, it wasn’t happening and we were losing a lot of hockey games. I take pride in coming to this rink every day and trying to get better to help our hockey team win. Tonight was a good night.
On breaking the goal drought: Obviously, they haven’t been going in for me, so it’s nice to get one tonight. With that, I think the power play showed them some really good plays tonight — it was part of our win. Sorry to all the people who threw their hats …
It’s always nice to score. I just try to stick with it and eventually if you work hard, you’re going to get rewarded for it. That’s how hockey goes, so I just try to continue to work hard and work on my game so things can happen.
On the power play: I think we were just taking the simple plays and not trying to hit a home run with every pass. Just trying to get some pucks to the net, and we connected on some passes. It’s nice to get a 5-on-3 — we have some more room to make plays — and there was a really nice play by Barabanov there to find Cooch.
On losing the lead, but being able to come back: Honestly, I felt like the whole game, that’s a game we had to win tonight. I’m happy that we stuck with it to get those two points. Those mistakes we have to limit and learn from.
*Lightly edited for clarity.