Toronto Maple Leafs

Sharks takeaways: What we learned from 5-3 loss to Maple Leafs

Sharks takeaways: What we learned from 5-3 loss to Maple Leafs


The Sharks knew they had a tough test ahead of them as they headed into Toronto to play the Leafs on the tail end of the back-to-back.

“Tough” may have been an understatement.

Although Team Teal put up a fight after getting into a three-goal hole, John Tavares and the Toronto squad had the bigger success on the scoreboard. Auston Matthews scored twice in his return from injury and Frederik Andersen stood on his head between the pipes as the Leafs dominated the visiting Sharks 5-3.

Here are three takeaways from Wednesday’s game:

Sharks took too many penalties

San Jose might have come into Wednesday’s contest with one of the best penalty kills in the league, but it was clearly not enough for the red-hot Leafs. And Toronto proved just that when John Tavares capitalized on a tic-tac-toe attempt on the man advantage early in the first frame. 

Yet the Sharks still went to the box and the Leafs made them pay for it. Although their game tightened up as it got deeper into the second frame, it came after former Shark Patrick Marleau found the back of the net on the man advantage.

That being said…

What they lacked on defense, they made up for on offense

You have to give San Jose credit for all the offensive zone time they had throughout the game. One thing the team’s been accused of in past contests has been getting back on their heals and not playing a full 60 minutes, but that was not the case on Wednesday. San Jose played up to Toronto’s speed and didn’t let frustration sink in when they were down by three goals early in the second period. 

In addition to getting more o-zone time, San Jose also scored a pair of power play goals themselves, courtesy of Tomas Hertl and Joe Pavelski. While the kill had a rough night, there was at least some progression on the man advantage to help keep San Jose in the game.

San Jose can’t get wrapped up in the frustration of losing

This is as much a takeaway as it is a key for the next few games. It was genuinely impressive how much the Sharks didn’t get too frustrated after Marleau put them into a 4-1 hole and rallied to notch a power play goal afterwards. They continued playing like they could notch two late goals just like they had the night before against Buffalo.

As frustrating as that is as they register their third loss in a row, San Jose has to keep pushing through the rest of the road trip and continue generating that offense. The division standings are getting a bit more crowded, and the Sharks have to keep pushing if they’re going to get back in the win column and create some space.

Sharks vs. Maple Leafs watch guide: Projected lines and defensive pairs


Sharks vs. Maple Leafs watch guide: Projected lines and defensive pairs

No rest for the wicked, as the San Jose Sharks embark on yet another back-to-back on the road. This time, they’ll be following up their contest in Buffalo with Wednesday night's rumble in Toronto against the Maple Leafs.

Superstar forward Auston Matthews is set to return to the lineup after being sidelined with a shoulder injury and missing 14 games. The center has 16 points (10 goals, six assists) through 11 games played for Toronto this season.

The Leafs will no doubt enjoy having Matthews back in the mix even though they’ve been successful in his absence, going 7-3-0 in their last 10 games.

[RELATED: Marcus Sorensen showing confidence]

The Sharks, on the other hand, are looking to put more notches in the win column. They put together an impressive come-from-behind effort against the Sabres on Tuesday thanks to Joe Pavelski’s two third-period goals – before falling 3-2 in overtime

This is the second and final regular season meeting between the Sharks and Leafs for the 2019 campaign. In their previous meeting this year, the Leafs emerged victorious with a 5-3 win. Through 50 franchise meetings San Jose is 23-21-5-1 against Toronto.

Sharks projected lines and pairs:

Evander Kane – Joe Pavelski – Joonas Donskoi
Tomas Hertl – Logan Couture – Kevin Labanc
Barclay Goodrow – Joe Thornton – Marcus Sorensen
Lukas Radil – Antti Suomela – Melker Karlsson

Joakim Ryan – Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon – Erik Karlsson
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun

Aaron Dell -- Confirmed starter
Martin Jones

Leafs projected lines and pairs:

Zach Hyman – John Tavares – Mitch Marner
Patrick Marleau – Auston Matthews – Kasperi Kapanen
Andreas Johnsson – Nazem Kadri – Connor Brown
Tyler Ennis – Par Lindholm – Josh Leivo

Morgan Rielly – Ron Hainsey
Jake Gardiner – Martin Marincin
Travis Dermott – Igor Ozhiganov

Frederik Andersen – projected starter
Garret Sparks

Why Sharks' tension with Nazem Kadri boiled over in loss to Maple Leafs

Why Sharks' tension with Nazem Kadri boiled over in loss to Maple Leafs

SAN JOSE -- Barclay Goodrow wasn’t happy with Nazem Kadri.

The two jawed before the opening face-off Thursday night, and Goodrow grabbed the Toronto Maple Leafs center once the puck was dropped, trying to make him drop the gloves. Kadri would not, and the Sharks forward alone headed to the box for roughing eight seconds in.

It was a chippy start for teams that only play twice a season. So, what set off Goodrow?

“[Kadri] chose to fight Jumbo last year off of the opening face-off,” Goodrow told reporters after the Sharks’ 5-3 loss, “who quite frankly shouldn’t have to do that. So, I thought I would try to return the favor.” 

Let’s rewind to Jan. 4 in Toronto, when the teams last met. 

Kadri and Thornton jockeyed for stick position ahead of the opening face-off. The two traded slashes, then words, and finally punches after they were kicked out of the face-off circle before the puck was dropped. 

Kadri also grabbed a piece of Thornton’s beard in the fight, but said at the time that it was unintentional. He told reporters Thursday he figured that fight caused the immediate tension.

“I’m not quite sure why they were still so bitter about it,” Kadri said, “especially when he’s the one [who] initiated it with me, so it’s not like I went out looking for it. … I kind of knew they were pretty agitated from the start, and I figured I’d run with that.” 

The Leafs scored seconds after the ensuing power play expired. 

With the man advantage winding down, Toronto center John Tavares threw the puck in front of the net from behind the goal line. The puck bounced off San Jose defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s skate and helplessly through goaltender Martin Jones’ pads.

Up to that point, the Sharks allowed one shot on goal and three attempts on the penalty kill. 

"The biggest thing is [Kadri] got us a power play to start the game,” Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. “They're gonna say it's not a power-play goal because I think there was one second or something [on the clock], but that's a power-play goal. It's a great way to start the game.”

Kadri, who is known for getting under his opponents’ skin, was hit a game-high six times. He drew another penalty later in the first period, then drew and received two of his own when he and Sharks winger Melker Karlsson were twice penalized for roughing in the third.

Still, the Sharks out-attempted (18-16), outshot (11-7), and out-chanced (9-5) the Leafs with Kadri on the ice five-on-five, according to Natural Stat Trick. San Jose tied the score 3:18 after Tavares’ tally, and held a lead at the end of the first period. 

[RELATED: DeBoer talks Sharks' defensive woes against Leafs]

Goodrow and Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said they did not think Kadri threw the Sharks off their game. DeBoer thought Kadri “crossed the line” fighting Thornton, but said the pre-puck drop confrontation “was the end of it.”

If there is any remaining tension, we’ll know in fewer than two weeks. The Sharks and Leafs conclude their season series Nov. 28 in Toronto.