San Jose Sharks Escape Toronto With Overtime Victory


The San Jose Sharks sure don’t make it easy on themselves.

After a dominating first period which saw the Sharks race out to a 2-0 lead midway through the frame, it was San Jose who would be forced to come back from a two-goal deficit. Fortunately for the Sharks, they were up to the task as Brent Burns would take a perfect pass from Joe Thornton in overtime and snap one past Jonathan Bernier to give San Jose a 5-4 victory.

That’s now two-for-two for the Sharks on their current five-game trip as San Jose looks to offset their extended losing streak.

San Jose jumped all over the Toronto Maple Leafs, outshooting their hosts 21-9 in the opening frame, including Burns hitting the post on the Sharks first shot of the game. It wouldn’t take long for the Sharks to find the back of the net as Joe Pavelski one-timed home a cross-ice pass from Burns just six seconds into San Jose’s first power play of the game to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead two minutes into the contest.

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The man advantage would benefit San Jose once again as this time it was Pavelski who was on the playmaking end. Pavelski would find Patrick Marleau alone in the slot and he fired one past Garrett Sparks for his 13th goal of the season. The goal would chase Sparks from the game as he would leave with a lower-body injury.

It appeared the Sharks would cruise from there, but the defensive mistakes would begin to manifest themselves, allowing the Maple Leafs to score four consecutive goals. First, it was Marc-Edouard Vlasic who tried to clear the puck through the middle of the ice, but his pass was intercepted and Peter Holland scored his fifth goal of the season to cut the deficit to 2-1 after 20 minutes of play.

In the second, Leo Komarov would take advantage of poor faceoff coverage. With both Chris Tierney and Joonas Donskoi down on the ice, Komarov was able to skate around and out-wait Martin Jones before tying the game at two.

After looking like they’d emerge tied at two after 40 minutes, James van Riemsdyk would score a back-breaking goal with 46 seconds remaining, banking in a shot of Jones from below the goal line. Toronto would use that momentum to extend their lead to begin the third as less than two minutes into the final frame, Michael Grabner found a loose puck in front and gave the Maple Leafs a two-goal cushion.

Suddenly, the relatively comfortable contest was turned upside-down for the boys in teal, but they responded right away as Vlasic was able to atone for his earlier mistake as his shot from the point found its way past Bernier just 1:11 after Toronto had taken a 4-2 lead. Then, it was Tierney and Donskoi’s turn to atone for their earlier gaff as their excellent forechecking work led to Tierney finding Matt Nieto all alone in front to bang home the tying goal with 8:11 remaining in the third.

This was a pretty entertaining hockey game devoid of any defense whatsoever. From the Sharks perspective, it was a solid offensive output as they converted two of their three power play opportunities and outshot Toronto 44-31. However, in their own zone, San Jose was a mess, constantly running around and playing too soft in front of their own crease. Allowing a team like the Maple Leafs to come back into the game was unacceptable and one they will need to correct moving forward.

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In the end, San Jose secured the all important two points and continue with their five-game roadie.

The Sharks are right back at it tonight as they look to sweep the Canadian portion of the trip as they face the Ottawa Senators. San Jose will need to be much better in their own zone if they have any shot of taking the two points against a very potent Senators outfit.