Erik Karlsson was having a tough night. The
high-priced defenseman was missing wide open nets, taking bad penalties, and
simply not in synch. Then he helped everyone forget all his misgivings by
scoring in overtime to give the Sharks a 4-3 win over the visiting Toronto
Maple Leafs at SAP Center on Thursday night. The Swede used the wide open ice
in the overtime period to use his skating ability to help the Sharks to 2
points for only the 3rd time this season.
Timo Meier overcame a gaff
of his own by springing Karlsson with a long lead pass as the Sharks defenseman
slipped past the last Leafs defender. Karlsson raced up ice and deeked Leafs
goaltender Erik Kallgren left before pulling the puck right and lifting it home
for his 4th goal of the season.
It was an immediate atonement for an
otherwise tough night for the defenseman.
The Sharks wasted no time
getting things started. Logan Couture beat Justin Holl to a puck that was
floating back toward the Maple Leafs net, then lifted it past Kallgren for his
3rd goal of the season just 26 seconds into the game. Holl was busy fighting
off Matt Nieto and got back on the heels of his skates as Couture raced by him.
The Leafs answered at 5:14 when David Kampf gathered a Alexander
Kerfoot feed to the left of the low slot and snapped a shot that beat
goaltender Kaapo Khakonen through the 5-hole. Khakonen was partially screened
on the play, but Kampf wristed a laser through the netminder's pads.
Erik Karlsson missed on a pair of empty net chances in the opening period. The
first was setup by a nifty backhand pass by Meier across the slot, but Karlsson
rushed the shot and pushed it wide. The second chance was blocked by Mark
Giordano, who dropped to a knee and extended an arm to knock down Karlsson's
The middle period would start auspiciously for San
Jose when Radim Simek took a tripping penalty 2 minutes in. San Jose once again
killed off the penalty, but then Toronto took two simultaneous infractions.
Pierre Engval and TJ Brodie were called for hooking and tripping respectively.
San Jose took full advantage, bagging a pair of goals. Logan Couture
punched home a rebound while parked on the right post after Alexander Barabanov
bounced a shot off Kallgren. That penalty came 5-on-3.
finally scored his 1st of the season, deflecting a Couture deflection as Brodie
sat in the box. Karlsson fired a shot on net from the net, allowing Meier to
get a stick blade on the puck. It deflected past Kallgren to lift a huge monkey
off Meier's back. He had gone the first 9 games without sniffing the net.
The Sharks had an opportunity to carry all the momentum of that big
offensive output into the 2nd intermission, but a ill-advised blind pass by
Meier was intercepted by Toronto, who promptly skated up ice with a 4-on-2
advantage. That advantage ended with Mitch Marner slipping a puck past Khakonen
with 22.7 seconds left in the period.
That goal would be magnified in
the 3rd period when Karlsson took a delay of game penalty after lofting a puck
over the glass under pressure. The Leafs countered with an equalizing power
play goal at 5:38. San Jose couldn't keep Austin Matthews off the board, as the
Leafs superstar ripped a shot from the high slot that beat Khakonen high to the
in the overtime, Meier had a nice scoring chance and he
skated past two defenders and lifted a shot on Kallgren. Karlsson would make it
all better with his game winner. Game Notes:
Couture's 2nd goal was the 300th of his NHL career. Per Sharks super
statistician Darren Stephens, Couture is the 13th player in NHL history to
score his 300th against the Maple Leafs.
* The Sharks introduced a new
feature on their new scoreboard. Players on the ice, along with running
ice-time now shown. You could also just look at the ice, but hey, fans love
* The game marked the fist time this season that the
Shark scored 4 goals in a game. They had scored 3 times twice this season.
* San Jose did an about face on their special teams play. The near
perfect penalty kill allowed a goal in one of their 4 chances. The anemic power
play scored twice in 3 chances.
* Nick Bonino missed his 3rd
consecutive game as he nurses an upper body injury. The Sharks elected to
scratch him for the 3rd time rather than putting him on the IR.