Sharks 4, Maple Leafs 1: 5-on-5 play hurts Sharks again

Patrick Marleau tribute video?

20 minutes, 2 seconds of play doomed the Sharks. Up until 20 minutes and 2 seconds left in the game, the Sharks were winning. A one goal lead with Martin Jones playing well in net. It was a solid road game. And then...

Jake Muzzin scored because he outsmarted the Sharks. He pinched with just a few seconds left in the period and San Jose’s forwards were surprised. Muzzin scored without any challenge and suddenly it was tied at the end of two.

Then in the third, the Sharks took a few stupid penalties to start things off. They stopped the Leafs, but the momentum was there.

Toronto scored with just over five minutes left in the game. They followed it up with an empty netter and Auston Matthews sealed the deal. 4-1 the final score.

The real issue, 5-on-5 play. The Sharks were outshot 22-14. They were outscored 3-1 in 5-on-5. Sadly, the other goal came in 6-5 with Jones out of the net.

Something needs to change.

Hello friends. Erika here running the live blog today. I’m going to try and cover all the highlights. Hopefully you’ll be able to join us for today’s early game. It’s Patrick Marleau’s return to Toronto!

Before I start the game, be sure to follow our Twitter feed where Kyle is inside Scotiabank Arena live tweeting!

First Period

19:21 - Logan Couture called for slashing. Not a great way to start the game.

Jamie Baker keeps saying we’re the best penalty kill in the NHL and while that’s cool, I’m not sure I like padding that stat every chance we get.

18:38 - Blocker save by Martin Jones on Willie Nylander.

17:21 - Penalty killed.

16:37 - Jones with a big save on Ilya Mikheyev and then Morgan Rielly puts it through the crease.

15:26 - Jones with a huge save on a Alexander Kerfoot, who was in behind the defense. Lots of chances for the Leafs.

13:32 - Marc-Edouard Vlasic with a shot on net that Frederik Andersen stops. First commercial timeout.

TV Timeout - Standing ovation from Toronto fans. Love to see that he’s well respected everywhere he goes.

12:10 - Jones forced to make another save. Shots 5-2 in favor of the Leafs.

10:03 - Stoppage in play after an Erik Karlsson shot goes up into the netting.

9:25 - Kevin Labanc with the goal. He tips a Brent Burns shot from the point past Andersen. Tomas Hertl gets the second assist on that play. Sharks lead 1-0.

9:05 - A chance to build on the lead now. Cody Ceci takes a holding penalty and the Sharks get their first power play of the game.

7:05 - Power play didn’t do much. Sharks had a tough time gaining the zone let alone maintaining zone time. Not a great look.

6:08 - Jones with the save. Sigh of relief. Barclay Goodrow was stickless.

5:54 - EK65 went coast to coast and almost had Couture up front on a great scoring chance.

3:26 - Jones with a stop on Jason Spezza. It was a grade A chance that Spezza stopped.

2:05 - Andersen with a save on Timo Meier. Sharks maintain zone time.

0:00 - Sharks head to the locker room with a 1-0 lead.

One of the big concerns Sharks’ fans have had through the first series of games this season is the team’s play 5-on-5. The Sharks have been woefully out shot during 5-on-5 play which is part of the reason San Jose has a 4-5-1 record in this young season. It’s much the same through one period. The Sharks have been out shot 8-6 in 5-on-5 play through one period. (Natural Stat Trick)

Second Period

19:23 - Couture just missed the net. Almost 2-0. Baker thinks Andersen may have got just enough of it to save the goal.

16:58 - Auston Matthews with a chance to tie it. He fanned on it. Jones goes to stop it and knocks the net off its moorings. A much needed stoppage with Matthews in that dangerous area with the puck.

13:41 - Jones with a pair of great saves.

13:06 - Tim Heed robbed by Andersen. If it’s on someone else’s stick do they score?

11:37 - Jones gets the stop.

10:30 - Mario Ferraro with the trip on Matthews. Leafs are back on the power play.

8:30 - Penalty killed.

8:18 - Oops. New power play. Barclay Goodrow called for hooking. Matthews draws another penalty.

6:18 - Penalty killed, but then they’re caught for icing.

5:27 - Evander Kane with a shot that’s saved by Andersen. Then Jones makes a few saves of his own.

:50 - Looks like Matthews is still out.

:11 - Jones flashes the leather and makes the stop on Kerfoot.

:02 - Leafs score on a play at the side of the net. Ouch. Jones make the initial stop, but it bounces out to Jake Muzzin right in front of the net. He has an easy tap in.

0:00 - 1-1 going into the locker room.

I can’t claim to know what’s behind Jones’ play tonight, but that one really wasn’t his fault. He needs support. I would like to think that Aaron Dell’s performance last night inspired Jones to step up his game. It would be nice to see a goaltending battle on this team. It’s been a while.

Third Period

20:00 - Matthews back on the ice. Good to see he wasn’t hurt seriously by that Dillon hit.

19:30 - Meier headed to the box for closing his hand on the puck. At what point in time do you think to yourself, hmmm, Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews are pretty good, we probably shouldn’t offer them an advantage?

17:30 - Marcus Sorensen with a mini breakaway toward the end of the power play, but he misses wide. Meier gets himself a chance out of the box, but also fails to score. Penalty killed.

16:22 - Melker Karlsson didn’t get the memo. He’s called for delay of game after he swats the puck out of play in the defensive zone. Leafs back on the power play.

14:48 - Andersen with the stop. Oddly this Leafs power play looks more like the Sharks power play with how many chances the Sharks have had this penalty kill.

14:22 - Penalty killed. Still tied 1-1.

11:23 - Leafs go offsides. Good timing, the Sharks were having trouble clearing the puck.

8:32 - Jones with a big save on Matthews.

8:20 - Erik Karlsson’s turnover in the defensive zone almost becomes disastrous. I can’t understand how that didn’t go in. It was all luck.

5:29 - Morgan Rielly shows why he’s such a dangerous defenseman. He scores top shelf. 2-1 Toronto.

2:14 - Jones leaves the net. Extra attacker on.

1:33 - Erik Karlsson has just enough juice to get the icing call, but Pete DeBoer takes the timeout to rest the top guys.

1:25 - Labanc loses the zone and then loses the puck. Somehow Toronto doesn’t score on the empty net two on one the other way.

:47 - Erik Karlsson unable to weave his way through the Leafs, he’s stripped of the puck. Toronto doesn’t miss this time. Ilya Mikheyev scores and it’s 3-1.

:30 - And just in case you were wondering where Matthews and Marner were on the scoreboard, they’re there. Matthews scores on Jones, spoils what was otherwise a good night for the Sharks goaltender. 4-1 Leafs.

0:00 - Disappointing end. Sharks went into the the third period tied at one. They left with a 4-1 loss.

After the schedule makers gifted the Sharks two home games against tired road teams, they returned the favor. In Toronto tonight, San Jose must contend with not only the powerhouse Toronto Maple Leafs’ offense but also fatigue. Micah Blake McCurdy’s (purveyor of HockeyViz) research shows that rest (or lack there of) helps determine 5-on-5 shot rates during games.

The Leafs, who have enjoyed two full days of rest, host the Sharks, who played last night. The schedule timing, coupled with the fact home teams generally produce more dangerous shots on offense, means the Sharks are starting this game at a disadvantage.

Fortunately for San Jose, offensive centerman John Tavares remains out of the Leafs’ lineup with a broken finger. In his stead, Mike Babcock sends Alexander Kerfoot over the boards. While Kerfoot is a decent play driver in his own right, it’s unlikely Mitchell Marner replicates last year’s 94-point pace with his new center.

John Tavares’ absence has made an impact. Until the game during which Tavares was injured, the Leafs averaged 48 unblocked shots per hour of 5-on-5 ice time (after adjusting for score effects and scorer bias), good for second-best in the league. The team’s 2.3 expected goals per hour of ice time was fifth-best.

Since the injury, the team has taken just 38 unblocked shots per hour, a rate that comes in just above the Sharks’ at 22nd. Expected goals? Down at 1.77 per hour, a bottom-three figure.

On the 5-on-4 power play before Tavares’ injury, the Leafs took 86 unblocked shots per hour, seventh-best in the league. In the three games since the captain’s bone split, the Leafs’ power play has taken just 75 unblocked shots per hour, the 11th-best mark in the league.

With a big piece of the Leafs’ offense on the shelf, the Sharks must take advantage of an otherwise-poor situation and focus their energy on stopping Auston Matthews. That job is most likely to fall on Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Brent Burns’ collective shoulders, so I’m not holding my breath.



Expected scratches: Trevor Carrick (healthy), Jonny Brodzinski (healthy), Noah Gregor (healthy)

Leafs (projected via Mark Masters)

Andreas Johnsson — Auston Matthews — William Nylander
Ilya Mikheyev — Alexander Kerfoot — Mitch Marner
Trevor Moore — Jason Spezza — Kasperi Kapanen
Dmytro Timashov (who looks good!) — Nick Shore — Frederik Gauthier

Jake Muzzin — Tyson Barrie
Morgan Rielly — Cody Ceci
Kevin Gravel — Justin Holl

Frederik Andersen
Michael Hutchinson

Expected scratches: John Tavares (broken finger), Travis Dermott, Nic Petan (healthy), Zach Hyman (LTIR), Travis Dermott (LTIR)

Where to watch

The puck will drop at 4 p.m. Pacific / 7 p.m. Eastern (really more like 4:07 but who’s counting), and the game will be broadcast on NBCSN California, SportsNet 1 and TVA Sports in French language. Radio broadcast will be on 98.5 KFOX, and you can also tune in via your Sharks app or (pending blackout restrictions).

The liveblog has been canceled due to lack of hustle. Check back in here during the game to yell at each other in the comments section.