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Leafs earn rare win over SJ in Toronto
Sharks fall 3-2 in the shootout
1/4/18 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks continued their road-trip with a third leg stop in Toronto to square off against he Maple Leafs as the air Canada Centre. That stop would turn out to be an unfulfilling one, as the Maple Leafs outdid San Jose in the shootout to take a 3-2 decision. The Sharks played a solid road game, but they couldn't get the extra push to overcome a hungry Toronto lineup.

Toronto entered play on a three-game losing streak, and were motivated to get back into the win column. San Jose tried to build on their impressive win in Montreal on Tuesday night, but the rigors of travel seemed to catch up to them. Both teams played fundamentally sound hockey, but both also appeared flat late in the contest when it counted.

The game got off to a spirited start when Joe Thornton and Nazim Kadri dropped the gloves fright off the opening faceoff. The two players have no history, so it appeared to be a couple of guys wanting to spark their teams right from the get-go.

San Jose out-shot the Maple Leafs 15-10 in the opening period, but it was Toronto that drew first blood. Auston Matthews converted his 18th tally of the season at 18:37, deflecting a Connor Carrick shot from the right point. Matthews skated to the low slot, pivoting to his left just as Carrick's shot arrived. The young phenom flashed his hand-eye coordination by seeing the shot late and still getting a stick blade on it.

Brendan Dillon tied the game with 52 seconds left in the period, snapping a rebound past Frederik Andersen from the bottom of the left circle after Brent Burns bounced a shot off the Maple Leafs goaltender from the right point. Dillon elected to pinch on the play, which turned out to be fortuitous as the puck deflected over to that side for the quick put back.

Burns caught Mitchell Marner with a high stick to the mouth that drew blood and a double minor. Toronto capitalized when a Marner shot clipped Kadri in the skate and deflecting past Jones.

Chris Tierney tied the game late in the period on an odd play. With the Leafs playing the puck back to their goaltender, Andersen attempted to dish it to one of two options on either wing, but he lost the handle just as Tierney was skating at him. Tierney simply poked at the puck, putting it past Andersen for his 9th goal of the season.

Neither team would score in the 3rd period, even though the Sharks generated 10 shots on goal. They would be position to win in overtime after Marner was called for a high stick with 1:50 left in the extra period, but the power play unit was flat all night.

San Jose would misfire on five power play chances, but none was bigger than the one in the extra period. The Sharks passive approach simply burned clock, never challenging Andersen.

In the shootout, Matthews started things with a goal, then the next four shooters would put luke warm shots on Jones and Andersen. Kevin Labanc evened things out with a slick left-right move that finished with an attempt that the Sharks forward wrapped around Andersen's left pad.

It took a sixth round to decide things when Tyler Bozak snapped a shot from the high slot and Tierney followed with a failed attempt.

Game Notes:

* The loss was the first for the Sharks in Toronto in 16 years. The NHL schedule now allows for teams to play every team in the league, but that wasn't the case several years ago. That allowed for the quirky record, which favored San Jose since 2002.

* Former Shark forward Patrick Marleau was largely a non-factor in the game. Marleau skated 28 shifts, generating 3 shots on goal and did not factor into any of the game's scoring. He also missed his shootout attempt.

* In the fight between Joe Thornton and Nazim Kadri, the Sharks forward finished the bout with a shorter beard after Kadri appeared to tear some of Thornton's hair during the scrap.


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1 2 3 OT SO T
SJ 1 1 0 0 0 2
TOR 1 1 0 0 1 3
1st period - 1, TOR, Matthews 18 (Carrick, Nylander), 18:37. 2, SJ, Dillon 1 (Burns, Meier), 19:08.
2nd period - 3, TOR, Kadri (Marner, Rielly), 12:40, (pp). 4, SJ, Tierney 9 (unassisted), 18:18.
3rd period - None.
Overtime - None.
Shootout - TOR: Matthews (goal), Marner (miss), Marleau (miss), Nylander (miss), Van Reimsdyk (miss), Bozak (goal). SJ: Couture (miss), Pavelski (miss), Labanc (goal), Donskoi (miss), Burns (miss), Tierney (miss).
1st period - Thornton, SJ (fighting major), 0:02; Kadri, TOR (fighting major), 0:02; Karlsson, SJ (interference), 1:53; Rielly, TOR (holding the stick), 4:58; Carrick, TOR (tripping), 10:56.
2nd period - Gardner, TOR (tripping), 5:11; Demelo, SJ (tripping), 7:36; Burns, SJ (high sticking doble minor), 11:18.
3rd period - Hyman, TOR (tripping), 1:32.
Overtime - Marner, TOR (high sticking), 3:10.
Shots Saves
SJ - Jones 28 26
TOR - Andersen 35 33
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
SJ 15 7 10 3 35
TOR 10 11 7 0 28
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 5
TOR 1 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Auston Matthews
Frederik Andersen
Martin Jones
Air Canada Centre - 19,132
Referees: Pochmara, Chmielewski. Linesmen: Shewchyk, Driscoll.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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