After a week of rest, the San Jose Sharks swept the season series against the Toronto Maple Leafs with a 3-1 win at SAP Center on Tuesday night.
The Sharks played a home game against the Leafs before the NHL trade deadline. According to Bret Hedican of CSN Bay Area, the Sharks’ three keys to the game were puck placement, stingy defense and what they do away from the puck.
The first period was pretty exciting. The Sharks focused on defense first. Martin Jones led a strong defensive effort in the early minutes as he made a pair of stops on Leo Komarov, who was left all alone, right at the doorstep. Jones’ astounding stops kept the game scoreless at 4:10.
The Sharks had a couple of scoring chances that they were unable to fully capitalize. Kevin Labanc was unable to cash in on the rebound for a tip-in goal. Also, Marc Edouard Vlasic’s backhand shot was saved by Frederik Andersen. The Leafs were stacked with offensive talent, but the Sharks defense shut down the visiting team.
The Sharks outshot the Leafs 13-5, but skated to a scoreless tie after 20 minutes.
Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer made a line change early in the second period. Chris Tierney moved to the fourth line with Melker Karlsson and Michael Haley. The change didn’t help the Sharks’ situation.
Justin Braun was called for hooking at 14:11. The Leafs broke a scoreless tie when Auston Matthews scored on the power play less than a minute later. Matthews fired a wrist shot short-side on Jones, tying Patrik Laine with his 31st goal of the season.
The Sharks scored to tie the game 1-1 with 7:53 left in the period. Labanc sent a nice pass to Brenden Dillon, who slammed it home from above the faceoff circle for his second goal of the season.
The score was tied 1-1 after 40 minutes with the Sharks outshooting the Leafs 22-16.
The game became a nail-biter in the third period. Players from both teams went to the penalty box in the early minutes. Roman Polak was called for interference while Brenden Dillon was penalized for high-sticking Connor Brown.
The Sharks’ offense stifled the Leafs’ defense, scoring two goals in a span of 61 seconds to seal a 3-1 victory over the Leafs. Tomas Hertl put the puck past Anderson short-side to give Sharks a 2-1 lead with 1:23 left in regulation. Then, Joe Pavelski extended the Sharks’ lead to 3-1 with an empty-net goal with 23 seconds remaining.
Jones finished with 20 saves for San Jose. Andersen made 34 saves in a losing effort for Toronto.
The Sharks swept the season series against the Leafs with a 3-1 win at home. When these two teams faced each other for the first time this season, the Sharks came back from a 2-0 deficit after two periods to tie the game and eventually forced a shootout, where they beat the Leafs 3-2 on Dec. 13, 2016.
Injured: Joonas Donskoi (upper body), Dylan DeMelo (broken wrist)
The Sharks host the Vancouver Canucks (26-29-7) Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. PST on CSN-CA, CBC and SN1.