SAN JOSE – You knew when Barclay Goodrow went for Nazem Kadri right off the opening faceoff that Thursday’s game between the Sharks and the Maple Leafs was going to be a doozy.
Team Teal came out buzzing against the visiting Toronto squad, but allowed the Leafs to move in and take the lead in the second frame. Although San Jose tried to roar back in the third period like they have so many times before, it was the Leafs who emerged victorious 5-3.
Here are three takeaways from Thursday’s game:
Odd-man rushes were an issue
This was something the Sharks had a problem with in their Tuesday night contest with the Nashville Predators as well. It’s especially been an issue in the middle of games when multiple opponents have crept up on them on the scoreboard.
Such was the case again in the second period of Thursday’s game, most notably when Kasperi Kapanen had a short-handed breakaway and found the back of the net to give Toronto a 4-3 lead.
On that note …
San Jose needs to put up a strong defensive front for the whole game
In the first period of Thursday’s game, the Sharks displayed that full-team defensive effort they’ve been talking about this entire homestand. All forwards and defensemen were moving quickly, creating chances and helping goalie Martin Jones out.
The second period though, much like San Jose’s second frame against Nashville, told a different story. The Sharks started turning the puck over more against the skilled Toronto team and weren’t giving Jones the support he needs. (Not to say that Jones was perfect. But the team in-front of him wasn’t helping him out.) By the time the Sharks began getting back to playing a stronger defensive game, they were down two goals late in the third frame.
Nobody on the Sharks seems particularly fond of Nazem Kadri
You may recall Kadri and Joe Thornton duked it out at the beginning of one of last season’s Leafs-Sharks meet-ups, and Kadri yanked a piece of Thornton’s Zeus-like beard right off his face. Despite the fact that Jumbo Joe shaved the signature facial hair at the start of the season, his teammates weren’t going to let the act go unavenged. Goodrow went right for him, Timo Meier got up in his grill – heck even Thornton himself exchanged a few words at the start of the second stanza.
While standing up for your teammates is great, letting a player like Kadri get under the team’s skin can also be costly. Like in the first frame when Meier went to the box after being poked by Kadri and Toronto ended up scoring during four-on-four play. Things got exceptionally heated after the Leafs scored their fifth goal on the evening and Kadri cross-checked Melker Karlsson and both player started to duke it out.