The past two seasons, the Sharks cough up the
lead in the 3rd period. So far this season, these aren't the same Sharks. After
grabbing leads, and surrendering them in a back and both squabble with the host
Toronto Maple Leafs, the Sharks finally played some lock down hockey and kept
their surprising winning streak to start the season alive on Friday night.
Playing their third game in four nights, the Sharks got timely scoring from
their key veterans, and enough goaltending to stun the Maple Leafs 5-3 in a
weekday matinee in Ontario.
The Sharks had less than 20 hours to rest
up before they hit the ice at Scotiabank Arena. The game started at 6:00pm
local time because the Maple Leafs requested the early start in order to
accommodate their need to clear customs in the U.S. before their game on
Saturday in Pittsburgh. Toronto hadn't played since Monday so were well rested
Signs of fatigue were apparent in the opening frame,
even though the Sharks were able to match Toronto in shots with 11. Adin Hill
was forced to play his A game in order to keep the Maple Leafs off the board in
the opening frame. He was tested throughout the period, but kept the puck out
of his own net.
The flood gates open early in the 2nd period a flurry
of goals put San Jose up 3-2. Logan Couture scored first at 2:31, when he
jammed home a loose puck from the top of the crease. Marc-Edouard Vlasic had
carried the puck around the back of the net before throwing it out front.
Couture jammed at the puck with Jason Spezza draped all over him.
Spezza tied things up 56 seconds later when he jumped on a failed clearing
attempt in the slot, pumping his 2nd goal of the season past Hill. Rookie
Jasper Weatherby's backhand clearing attempt didn't have the energy to get it
out of the zone and the Maple Leafs capitalized.
Timo Meier put San
Jose back on top 17 seconds after Spezza's tally when he rifled a shot from the
low slot. The puck appeared to hit Leafs goaltender Michael Hutchinson in
either the stick or forearm pad, hoping over his shoulder and into the Leafs
Ondrej Kase knotted the game up at 2-2 by deflecting a Tomas
Hertl shot in his own zone, then racing up ice on a breakaway chance that found
its way past Hill. The Maple Leafs winger dropped Hertl like a bad cold as he
raced up ice and deeked Hill to the right before cutting to his left and
lifting the puck home.
Erik Karlsson rifled a shot from well outside the
right circle at 11:55 to put the Sharks back on top. Jake Middleton earned the
only assist on the play, setting up Karlsson with a simple pass from the strong
Rookie forward Jonathan Dahlen pushed the Sharks lead to 4-2
just 25 seconds in to the 3rd period. Timo Meier fished the puck out of the
left corner, sliding a shot to Logan Couture along the end boards. The Sharks
captain skated from left to right before slipping a pass to the slot, where
Dahlen was there to one-time the pass past Hutchinson for his 3rd goal of the
A Lane Pederson tripping call on William Nylander at 7:49 gave
Toronto a chance to crawl back to leveling the score. The Sharks snuffed out
the chance, which was pivotal. It preserved the 2-goal lead and burned valuable
time on the clock.
That was magnified when John Tavares banged home
his 1st goal of the game at 13:39 of the period to make it a 1-goal game.
Nylander through a puck at Hill, catching the netminder in the chest. The puck
deflected to the right side where Tavares was able to easily backhand the
The Sharks showed resolve. They kept the puck away
from Hill, and when it did get anywhere in the vicinity of the Sharks goal
mouth, their netminder pounced and covered the puck.
San Jose iced the
game when Couture bagged an empty netter with 40 seconds left in regulation.
Only then where they able to relax and chalk up a fourth consecutive victory.
* For the first time this season San Jose
did not dominate in the faceoff circle, nor did they score on the power play.
Those two things have been key to their early season success, but they didn't
need either on Friday. Timely responses to Toronto goals with goals of their
own were what carried the Sharks in this one.
* Jonathan Dahlen became
the first Sharks rookie to score a 3rd period, game-winning goal in Toronto in
* The Sharks will have to face a team not from Canada on
Sunday, as they head to Boston. The Sharks four wins this season have all come
against Canadian teams.
* Three Sharks have 4-game point streaks
(Logan Couture, Timo Meier and Erik Karlsson). The last time three Sharks
matched that feat to start a season was in 2013-14, when Patrick Marleau, Logan
Couture and Marc-Edouard Vlasic all had streaks that long.
had 5 shots on goal, giving him 11 for the season. He ranks third on the team
in shots behind Timo Meier (20) and Logan Couture (13).