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Sharks roll hapless Leafs
Sharks get offense in gear in 4-1 win
3/19/15 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks continued with their 7-game road trip on Thursday with a stop in Toronto, against an opponent that has struggled this season. San Jose followed the script by beating up on the host Maple Leafs in a 4-1 win at the Air Canada Centre. Four different Sharks tallied goals on 42 shots on net in a game that San Jose put away in the first 40 minutes of the game.

The Maple Leafs entered the game with the 4th worst record in the NHL, and have won only 2 of their last 10 games. After Tuesday night's deflating loss in Winnipeg, the Sharks had to show up against the wounded Maple Leafs. The Sharks responded with pace, setting Toronto up in the 1st period, then applying the knockout blow in the 2nd.

Tomas Hertl opened the game's scoring at 7:02 of the opening period, slicing down the slot and punching home a Chris Tierney feed for his 12th goal of the season. Tierney cycled the puck through the right corner before catching Hertl breaking for the net. The rookie had to place the puck perfectly as both he and Hertl where headed in opposing directions.

Trevor Smith tripped up Marc-Edouard Vlasic 55 seconds into the 2nd period, setting up the Sharks 4th power play of the evening. San Jose finally got some production from the special teams unit when Logan Couture chipped a shot past Maple Leafs goaltender Jonathan Bernier for his 23rd goal of the season. Couture took a pass from Joe Thornton as he was skating backwards out of the right corner. The Sharks forward quickly pivoted and lifted the puck over Bernier's blocker to make it a 2-0 game.

Toronto woke up 9 minutes into the period when Jake Gardiner whipped a shot through traffic, slipping the puck past Antti Niemi for his 3rd goal of the season. Gardiner has 20 career goals and 3 of them have come against the Sharks. It was the Leaf defenseman's 1st goal in 44 games. Joffrey Lupul screened Niemi on the shot along with a pair of Sharks defenseman in the slot.

Melker Karlsson made the celebration short for Toronto, by snapping home his 13th goal of the season from 10 feet out after Joe Thornton setup the quick one-timer from behind the Maple Leafs net. Karlsson slid to the front of the net from the right corner after the puck was cycled to Thornton along the end boards. Toronto's soft defense could have done a better job to seal off the danger zone, but captain Dion Phaneuf was late to get to Karlsson.

Thornton's second assist was his 900th career helper, which leaves him one behind Brian Trottier for 18th place on the all-time NHL assist list.

Niemi made his best save of the game moments after Karlsson's goal when Andrew MacWilliam had a shot from point blank.

The Sharks looked content to head to the 2nd intermission with a 3-1 lead, but Matt Nieto had another idea. Scooping up a loose puck in the high slot, Nieto whipped a shot from just inside the right circle, clipping Tommy Wingels in the chest for the bank shot goal that crossed up Bernier. Since Wingels was last to touch the puck, he was credited the goal. It was his 15th of the season, giving San Jose plenty of cushion heading into the final 20 minutes of play.

Toronto threw in the towel at that point. The hosts generated a paltry 6 shots in the 3rd period, never challenging Niemi. The Sharks had a pair of decent chances to add to their lead, but to Bernier's credit he stood tall to close out another miserable performance by his teammates.


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1 2 3 T
SJ 1 3 0 4
TOR 0 1 0 1
1st period - 1, SJ, Hertl 12 (Tierney, Vlasic), 7:02.
2nd period - 2, SJ, Couture 23 (Burns, Thornton), 2:06, (pp). 3, TOR, Gardner 3 (Komarov, Kozun), 8:54. 4, SJ, Karlsson 13 (Thornton, Pavelski), 10:19. 5, SJ, Wingels 15 (Nieto, Couture), 19:54.
3rd period - None.
1st period - Bozak, TOR (hooking), 4:15; Couture, SJ (goaltender interference), 4:39; Kozun, TOR (holding), 7:34; Smith, TOR (boarding), 13:16.
2nd period - Carrick, TOR (tripping), 0:55; Bench, SJ (too many men), 4:48.
3rd period - Panik, TOR (charging), 3:10; Dillon, SJ (unsportsmanlike conduct), 19:23; VanReimsdyk, TOR (unsportsmanlike conduct), 19:23.
Shots Saves
SJ - Niemi 28 27
TOR - Bernier 42 38
TOR - empty net
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 21 10 11 42
TOR 8 14 6 28
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 5
TOR 0 of 2
3 Stars of the Game
Joe Thornton
Logan Couture
Antti Niemi
Referees: McCauley, Morton. Linesmen: Cherrey, Miller.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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