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Great performance wasted in Toronto
Late goal costs SJ in 3-1 loss to Leafs
11/30/2022 - By Mike Lee

For whatever reason, the Sharks are playing their best hockey on the road. They demonstrated that in Toronto on Wednesday night, where they battled the Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena. In a brutal twist of fate, a late mistake would cost the Sharks after they played one of their best games of the year. The Maple Leafs forced a high speed level of play, but the Sharks responded even though they played in Montreal 24 hours earlier.

Aaron Dell got his first start of the season for San Jose while Jams Reimer mends his lower body injury. Dell deserved a better outcome, after he stopped 29 of 31 shots. The netminder stood on his head throughout the night, keeping the Sharks in a tight battle with a very good hockey team.

San Jose played well in front of the goaltender, and made opposing netminder Ilya Samsonov earn the victory.

The game opened with a flurry of shots directed at Dell, who was making his first start for San Jose since 2020. With Dell spending the majority of the season with the Barracuda, it was his first NHL action since last season when he was with Buffalo. The Leafs book on him was to bite early, so they came at him hard after teh opening faceoff.

Dell weathered the early storm and settled in. Toronto put 10 shots on net in the opening period, but neither they, nor the Sharks could score. San Jose squandered breakaway attempts by Radim Simek, Noah Gregor and Luke Kunin as all three ended their attempts with feeble shots.

The Leafs finally got to Dell on their 13th shot of the game when Auston Matthews redirected a Mac Hollowell feed. Matthews was parked in the slot when Hollowell uncorked a hard pass from the top of the right circle. The Sharks had turned the puck over in their own end moments earlier.

San Jose responded 3 minutes later when Matt Nieto one-timed a Logan Couture feed for his 6th goal of the season. Defenseman Nick Cicek fed Couture on the left side, allowing the Sharks captain to carry the puck behind the Maple Leafs net. Couture spotted Nieto on the right side of the slot, where he slid the puck for the quick chance on net.

Cicek took a hooking penalty at hooking penalty at 8:27, which was followed by a Luke Kunin tripping penalty right as Cicek's penalty was expiring. San Jose killed both penalties to keep the game tied.

San Jose put up 11 shots in the period to Toronto's 12, but San Jose's chances were of the dangerous variety. Toronto threw more perimeter attempts.

The 3rd period was a continuation of the fast paced game that Toronto forced with their up-tempo skating.

Cicek was called for tripping later in the 3rd period after a Shark had been hauled down on the opposite end of the ice moments before. San Jose killed that

All there hard work was flushed down the toilet when an Adam Kerfoot shot kicked off Dell's left pad and kicked out to Pierre Engvall, who put back the rebound and into the Sharks net. Defenseman Matt Benning was loose on Engvall and failed to tie up the forward's stick. It was a brutal mistake that proved fatal for San Jose. Tomas Hertl made a bad pass attempt that was intercepted just outside the Sharks blueline that gave the Maple Leafs the chance to bag the game-winning goal.

Mitch Marner added an empty-net goal with 1:11 left in regulation after the Sharks pulled Dell for the extra skater. It took Toronto several attempts to bag the empty-netter, but when they did, it extended Marner's 18-game scoring streak. Game Notes:

* The Maple Leafs held 21 seconds of silence before the game for Hall of Famer defenseman Borje Salming who passed away last week fro ALS. Salming attended a Leafs game weeks before his death to say goodbye to Toronto fans.

* Ilya Samsonov made his return to the ice after missing almost the entire month of November with an injury. The Maple Leafs goaltender last played on November 5th in a win over Boston.

* Leafs forward Calle Jarnkrok left the game toward the end of the 2nd period with an undisclosed injury.

* The Sharks really suffered in the faceoff circle, losing 31 of 51 draws (39%). Logan Couture was particularly bad, losing 11 of 16 faceoffs.

* San Jose out-hit the Maple Leafs 49-18. Logan Couture led all skaters with 7 hits. Evgeny Svechnikov and Steven Lorentz added 6 hits each.


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1 2 3 T
SJ 0 1 0 1
TOR 0 1 2 3
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, TOR, Mathews 12 (Hollowell, Bunting), 4:19. 2, SJ, Nieto 6 (Couture, Cicek), 7:26.
3rd period - 3, TOR, Engvall 3 (Kerfoot, Kampf), 17:33. 4, TOR, Marner 8 (Kerfoot), 18:49, (en).
1st period - None.
2nd period - Cicek, SJ (hooking), 8:27; Kunin, SJ (tripping), 11:07.
3rd period - Cicek, SJ (tripping), 14:44.
Shots Saves
SJ - Dell 31 29
SJ - empty net 1 0
TOR - Samsonov 24 23
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 7 11 6 24
TOR 10 12 10 32
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 0
TOR 0 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Mitch Marner
Ilya Samsonov
Auston Matthews
Scotiabank Arena - 18,679
Referees: #16 Brian Pochmara, #30 Kendrick Nicholson . Linesmen: #52 Shandor Alphonso, #71 Brad Kovachik.

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