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Sharks continue mastery over Maple Leafs
Big 3rd period comeback kicks off road trip
12/13/16 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks were 0-8-1 this season when starting the 3rd period with a deficit. The Toronto Maple Leafs had them on the ropes with 20 minutes to play, holding a healthy 2-0 lead over the Sharks. A gritty comeback, an inexperienced opponent or a combination of both helped the Sharks tie the game with 5:10 left in regulation, before Logan Couture scored the only goal in the shootout to propel the Sharks to a 3-2 victory at Air Canada Centre.

San Jose was a discombobulated mess for 40 minutes, before the Maple Leafs cracked open enough of an opportunity to get the Sharks rolling.

Toronto provided lots of cracks early, taking three penalties in the opening period. The Sharks generated lots of shots on Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen, but nothing of the challenging variety.

Zach Hyman put Toronto up 1-0 at 6:58 of the period after slipping underneat defenseman Dylan DeMelo, then tipping an Austin Matthews shot past Martin Jones. The Maple Leafs duo, along with William Nylander cycled the puck around the left corner before Matthews sent a shot on net from the left dot. DyMelo bit on Matthews move to the slot, allowing Hyman to get between him and Jones.

The penalty bug continued to bite the Maple Leafs in the 2nd period. Nazem Kadri was whistled for interfering with Jones, but one again the Sharks failed to take advantage. Tommy Wingels obliged the home team by taking a holding penalty a minute after Kadri's penalty expired.

Matt Nieto followed Wingels to the box 23 seconds later after committing his own interference infraction on Andersen. The lengthy 5-on-3 allowed the Maple Leafs to setup and get the puck to Matthews, who whipped a shot past Jones from a tight angle along the right end line. Matthews looked as if he was trying to bounce the puck off Jones with a teammate parked at the top of the crease, with another looming on the weak side.

The goal was the 13th of the season for the number one overall pick from last summer's draft.

With nothing clicking for the Sharks, Toronto was content to kill clock in the 3rd period, but a boarding penalty to Connor Carrick 3:02 into the 3rd period raised the anxiety level of the 19,380 in attendance. Even then, the Sharks filed to challenge Andersen. They had failed on all 5 power play chances up to that point.

Everything changed at the 12:43 mark, when Justin Braun of all people collected a pass from Chris Tierney in the slot. San Jose was forced to press given the two-goal deficit, which explains why the defenseman was so deep in the Toronto zone. His location was key, because after receiving Tierney's pass, the defenseman swept an improbable blind backhand shot past Andersen from 18 feet out.

Matt Hunwick left the door open for San Jose when he interfered with Wingels 2 minutes later. The Sharks didn't wait around to let the Maple Leafs penalty killers get comfortable. Brent Burns whipped a puck toward the front of the net where Joe Pavelski was stationed to tip the shot past Andersen.

The goal let the air out of the Maple Leafs balloon, but there was still 5 minutes to play. Neither team could muster up the go-ahead goal, so play moved into the 3-on-3 overtime period, where things got exciting.

Both teams combined for 5 shots in the extra session, but it was the Sharks that had the best scoring chances. Andersen got the Maple Leafs to the shootout with a coupl eof key stops.

Jones was one shot better in the shootout. He stopped Mitchell Marner, Matthews and Nikita Soshnikov to setup his teammates for the win. Pavelski just missed on his attempt, clacking a shot off the crossbar. Couture wouldn't miss, lifting a shot beat Andersen.

Game Notes:

* The Sharks have less than 24 hours to enjoy their win, as they move to Ottawa for a rematch with the Senators on Wednesday night.

* The faceoff woes continued for San Jose, who went 26 for 69 on draws (38%).

* David Schlemko had an itchy trigger finger, leading all skaters with 7 shots on goal. While not incapable of shooting, the defenseman hasn't shown himself to be a big sniper.

* The Sharks skated without Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who was injured on Saturday night against Carolina.





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Scoring
1 2 3 OT SO T
SJ 0 0 2 0 1 3
TOR 1 1 0 0 0 2
1st period - 1, TOR, Hyman 5 (Matthews, Nylander), 6:58.
2nd period - 2, TOR, Matthews 13 (Nylander, Gardiner), 7:46, (pp).
3rd period - 3, SJ, Braun 1 (Tierney, Karlsson), 12:43. 4, SJ, Pavelski 9 (Burns, Marleau), 14:50, (pp).
Overtime - None.
Shootout - TOR: Marner (miss), Matthews (miss), Soshnikov (miss). SJ: Pavelski (miss), Couture (goal).
Penalties
1st period - Martin, TOR (boarding), 2:21; Polak, TOR (slashing), 11:12; Bench, SJ (too many men), 15:23; Karlsson, SJ (embellishmnet), 15:30; Gardiner, TOR (holding), 15:30.
2nd period - Kadri, TOR (goaltender interference), 3:31; Wingels, SJ (holding), 6:17; Nieto, SJ (goalteder interference), 6:40; Smith, TOR (holding), 10:37.
3rd period - Carrick, TOR (boarding), 3:02; Hunwick, TOR (interference), 14:46.
Overtime - None.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
SJ - Jones 21 29
TOR - Andersen 42 40
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
SJ 14 12 13 3 42
TOR 13 7 9 2 31
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 6
TOR 1 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Logan Couture
Austin Matthews
Joe Pavelski
Attendance
Air Canada Centre - 19,380
Officials
Referees: Furlatt, Morton. Linesmen: Barton, Driscoll.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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