Patrick Marleau packed and off to Toronto


Patrick Marleau packed and off to Toronto

It was last week when Patrick Marleau was spotted wearing his brand new Toronto Maple Leafs blue, as he practiced at Sharks Ice with several of his former teammates.

He’ll get to wear it now in much friendlier surroundings.

On Wednesday, Marleau’s wife, Christina, tweeted a picture of the Sharks’ all-time leading scorer at the airport, taking his hockey gear to his new home. A Maple Leafs hockey bag was piled atop a Sharks bag that will surely be replaced as soon as he gets to Toronto.

NHL training camps open on Friday, Sep. 15.

Marleau signed a three-year, $18.75 million contract with Toronto on July 2, ending his 19-year run in San Jose. The Sharks host Marleau and the Maple Leafs at SAP Center on Oct. 30.

Scoreboard not indicative of Sharks' effort in 6-3 loss vs. Lightning

Scoreboard not indicative of Sharks' effort in 6-3 loss vs. Lightning

After a hot streak that churned out seven consecutive wins, the Sharks have lost two games in a row. But don’t be mistaken -- the losses against the Arizona Coyotes and Tampa Bay Lightning were definitely not the same.

Wednesday’s contest against the Coyotes was one of San Jose’s least inspired games of the season. Saturday’s contest against the Lightning, on the other hand, was a significantly better effort. 

“I didn’t think the score was super indicative of how the game went,” Evander Kane told the media after the 6-3 defeat. “I thought we carried the play, to be honest, for most of the game.”

He wasn’t wrong. San Jose pushed the tempo for a good chunk of Saturday’s game before Tampa Bay gained some late momentum and built up their lead. While the Sharks fell to the Lightning, there were positives -- as well as lessons learned -- they can take away from a season series that consisted of two playoff-caliber games.

“I thought it was a little bit of an opportunistic game for them,” Kane continued. “Every time they got an opportunity, it seemed (like it went) in the back of our net.”

Head coach Peter DeBoer agreed. “We made some mistakes, I think mental mistakes tonight, taking some penalties when we didn’t need to,” he explained. “A couple decisions you can’t make against an opportunistic team like that. Having said that, I thought when we had it at 2-2 we had a couple opportunities to grab control of the game.”

The Sharks certainly showed they hadn’t lost their composure when the Lightning jumped out to an early 2-0 lead. Thanks to a two-goal effort from Kane -- one at the end of the first frame and another to open up the second -- San Jose was able to tie things up. In the end, they outshot Tampa Bay and were better in the faceoff circle. 

However, the Sharks also got into some penalty trouble which gave the Bolts the opportunities they needed to retake the lead and create some breathing room on the scoreboard. A tandem of penalties gave Tampa Bay just 17 seconds of five-on-three power play time, but it was enough time for them to gain momentum, and reigning Norris Trophy winner Victor Hedman found the back of the net during the resulting five-on-four.

Hedman’s marker gave the Lightning another two-goal lead, which was easily the turning point in the game. The Sharks kept pushing but couldn’t beat Tampa Bay netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy. “We had some chances that didn’t go in,” Kane admitted.

Clearly, this was a game the Sharks never felt out of, especially since they defeated the Lightning in San Jose just a couple weeks ago. There was some speculation that Erik Karlsson’s sudden absence from the lineup was a factor. Kane pointed out when asked about it by the press that the Sharks expected to put up a winning effort nonetheless.

[RELATED: Sharks without Karlsson (late scratch) vs. Lightning]

“It’s a loss but it’s not an excuse,” Kane said. “We played with three guys who are normally not in the lineup against [Tampa] at home and beat them.”

The Sharks now have to take what they learned from the loss and apply it to the last two games of this road trip. They have yet another back-to-back -- this time against Florida and Washington -- before the All-Star break.

“We’ll move on and regroup and get ready for Monday,” Kane said.

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in 6-3 loss to league-best Lightning

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in 6-3 loss to league-best Lightning

It was another fast-paced game between the Sharks and the Lightning on Saturday night in Tampa Bay. But despite Evander Kane scoring two goals, this game didn’t go San Jose's way.

The Sharks put up a strong effort for the bulk of the contest but were defeated by Steven Stamkos and the NHL-leading Bolts 6-3.

Here are three takeaways from the game:

You shouldn’t point the finger at Martin Jones

Jones gave the Sharks another effort worthy of a win, picking up right where he left off Tuesday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was particularly impressive when he froze both Steven Stamkos and Ondrej Palat on one shift in the first frame, then halted Nikita Kucherov during a second-period penalty kill.

Had Jones not been on his A-game right from the start of the contest, Tampa Bay might have tallied more than two goals in the first period before San Jose found the back of the net. Unfortunately for Jones, he didn’t have quite enough help in front of him to hold off the Bolts as they capitalized on some of the Sharks’ mistakes in the second and third periods. 

Special teams ended up having a big impact

You could tell early in the game that special teams would end up playing a big role.

Even though Tampa Bay scored two quick goals, San Jose had the edge in shots, and began getting more offensive zone time as the game progressed. If anything was going to give either team an extra boost, it was the special teams.

The Sharks' power play helped get them on the board before the first frame expired -- a beautiful sequence between Joe Thornton and Timo Meier to set up Kane. But the Bolts also benefited from the power play, scoring their fourth and sixth goals of the evening on the man advantage as San Jose started getting into penalty trouble. 

Impact of Karlsson’s absence

You have to hand it to San Jose for pushing the tempo despite Erik Karlsson’s sudden absence. They continued to get good offensive zone time and put pucks on net despite Andrei Vasilevkiy standing tall between the pipes for Tampa Bay.

As of game time, there was no news on what exactly Karlsson’s ailment is. While San Jose of course wants its star defenseman back in the lineup to help the team win games, it also isn’t going to want to push Karlsson and injure him even further.

With the All-Star break and bye week coming up, giving Karlsson enough time to heal could benefit the Sharks in the long run.