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Sharks claw back to win in Toronto
SJ overcomes 2-goal 3rd period deficit
12/17/15 - By Mike Lee -

It's not often that you can let your opponent score 4 consecutive goals and still expect to win. That's exactly what they did to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night, stunning the 18,966 in attendance at the Air Canada Centre. San Jose battled back from a 2-goal deficit in the 3rd period to get the game to overtime, where defenseman Brent Burns ended things with a dramatic goal in the extra period.

It was yet another road win for the Sharks, their 12th of the season away from SAP Center. San Jose has only 4 wins on home ice by comparison. Granted the Sharks have played 5 more games on the road, but their 25 points on the road dwarfs the paltry 8 points they've earned back at home.

Thursday night's win was extra special, given the circumstances. They were playing hockey's Mecca, with many of the roster with friends and family in attendance. To jump out to a two goal lead, before coughing up 4 in a row, only to storm back and score the next three was about as roller coasterish as they come.

The game was a microcosm of the Sharks season. Up, then down, then up again. It's been a seesaw season for San Jose, but to overcome such a big deficit in the 3rd period was boost of confidence for a team struggling to find an identity.

San Jose used their special teams to stake themselves to that early lead, Joe Pavelski fired a one-time shot from the left dot after P.A. Parenteau took a tripping penalty 1:55 into the game. Pavelski teed up on a Brent Burns pass, cranking it past Maple Leafs goaltender Garret Sparks just inside the left post.

Matt Hunwick put the Sharks back on the power play after he interfered with Tommy Wingels 9 minutes later. Patrick Marleau scored his 13th goal of the season 30 seconds later, snapping a Pavelski feed past Sparks from between the circles. Pavelski was gliding up the right wing before he slid a pass to his left for the quick shot by Marleau.

San Jose peppered Sparks with 15 shots, which was all Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock would stand for, pulling his goaltender and inserting Jonathan Bernier. The Sharks finished the period with 21 shots on goal, but the Maple Leafs cut into the Sharks lead with a goal of their own before the 1st intermission.

Peter Holland grabbed a Marc-Edouard Vlasic turnover in the Sharks zone and snapped a 20-foot shot past Martin Jones for his 5th goal of the season.

Toronto turned the game around in the 2nd period, out-playing the Sharks for the better part of the period. Leo Komorov tied the game 4:50 into the period by firing the puck at Jones from the bottom of the left circle after skating past Chris Tierney and Joonas Donskoi who tripped each other in the high slot.

James Van Riemsdyk gave Toronto the lead with 45.4 seconds left in the period, after throwing the puck at Jones from behind the end line. Van Riemsdyk muscled defenseman Brenden Dillon off the puck behind the Sharks net, then whipped it toward the slot, hitting either Jones' skate or stick, which deflected it into the goal.

Michael Grabner made it a 4-2 game 1:59 into the 3rd period grabbing his own rebound from the slot an sniping a shot that tucked inside the right post after Tomas Hertl and Marleau failed to get a body on the Maple Leafs winger.

This is where the Sharks could have packed it in and called it a night, but they chipped away at Toronto's lead.

Vlasic atoned for his earlier miscue by whipping a shot from the high slot that wove through traffic beating Bernier near side just inside the left post.

Tierney had a chance to tie the game 2 minutes later when his breakaway chance was cut down by a Hunwick hooking penalty. Referee Chris Lee awarded Tierney a penalty shot, but the Sharks forward failed to convert. He would make amends minutes later.

San Jose tied the game at 11:49 of the period on a nifty play by the Sharks 3rd line. Matt Nieto chipped home a nifty pass from Tierney for his 4th goal of the season from the slot. Tierney chased down a deflection as he skated past the right post, then sent a blind backhand pass to the slot, where Nieto was crashing. Nieto dove at Tierney's pass, getting his stick on it at the right moment.

Both teams traded scoring chances in the waning minutes of the game, but it would take an extra 133 seconds to decide a winner.

Burns allowed the Sharks to leave with the 2 points, after he fired a shot from the slot that hit Holland in the right shin pad and deflected into the net for the game winner. It was a case of puck luck as the shot would have sailed wide left of the net had Holland not put on the breaks and stopped just outside the left post. It was a painful way to lose, but Sharks had little sympathy for Toronto's home woes.

With only their 4 wins on home ice, the Sharks know all about tough losses at the hands of visiting clubs.

Game Notes:

The Sharks have little time to enjoy their win, as they immediately flew to Ottawa for a game on Friday night.

The Sharks set a franchise record with 24 shots on goal from the defensive corps.


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1 2 3 OT T
SJ 2 0 2 1 5
TOR 1 2 1 0 4
1st period - 1, SJ, Pavelski 15 (Burns, Marleau), 2:01, (pp). 2, SJ, Marleau 13 (Pavelski, Burns), 11:32, (pp). 3, TOR, Holland 5 (Winnik), 14:48.
2nd period - 4, TOR, Komorov 11 (Corrado, Kadir), 4:50. 5, TOR, Van Riemsdyk 10 (Parenteau, Bozak), 19:14.
3rd period - 6, TOR, Grabner 2 (Holland, Winnik), 1:59. 7, SJ, Vlasic 4 (Braun), 3:10. 8, SJ, Nieto 4 (Tierney, Donskoi), 11:49.
Overtime - 9, SJ, Burns 11 (Thornton, Pavelski), 2:13.
1st period - Parenteau, TOR (tripping), 1:55; Hunwick, TOR (interference), 11:02.
2nd period - Demelo, SJ (holding), 5:47; Bench, SJ (too many men), 8:11; Lupul, TOR (interference), 8:44.
3rd period - Hunwick, TOR (penalty shot - hooking on breakaway), 5:06; Braun, SJ (delay of game - puck over glass), 12:26.
Overtime - None.
Shots Saves
SJ - Jones 32 28
TOR - Sparks 15 13
TOR - Bernier 27 24
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
SJ 21 7 12 2 42
TOR 9 14 9 0 32
Power Play Conversion
SJ 2 of 3
TOR 0 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Brent Burns
Patrick Marleau
Peter Holland
18, 966
Referees: Nicholson, Lee. Linesmen: Murphy, Sharrers.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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