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.
Hertl with the power play goal! pic.twitter.com/QUgTMshM23— Sharks on NBCS (@NBCSSharks) November 29, 2018
One timer for the Captain ☝️ pic.twitter.com/qYbpqoNWvO— Sharks on NBCS (@NBCSSharks) November 29, 2018
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.