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Leafs help Sharks to 11th straight loss
Toronto scores in all three periods in 4-1 win
1/6/2024 - By Mike Lee

The Sharks matched a dubious distinction on Saturday afternoon, when they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Toronto Maple Leafs at SAP Center. In losing the Sharks lost for the 11th consecutive time, matching the consecutive loss total they opened the season with. In that opening stretch they at least managed a point in their shootout loss to Colorado. Their last 11 losses have all come in regulation, which had sunk them to the NHL's basement.

Their latest setback was slow to materialize as Toronto owned the ice, but couldn't establish a solid foothold. They would lead by a lone goal for the first 39 minutes of the contest, before blowing things open in the 3rd period.

The Sharks held off Toronto's talented offense for most of the opening period until they took a pair of penalties 35 seconds part. A ticky tack tripping penalty on Tomas Hertl was followed by an uncommon closing the hand on the puck penalty to Mikael Granlund.

Toronto converted on the 5-on-3 when Mitch Marner one-timed a Morgan Rielly pass from the left dot at 15:22. The goal was Marner's 15th of the season. It was a tough outcome for a Sharks defense that defended 16 other shots in the period.

The absence of defense usually means that there is in imbalance on the other side of the puck, but the Sharks would only generate 3 shots on net in the period. Former Sharks goaltender Martin Jones had an uneventful period, rarely seeing a puck in his own zone.

San Jose appeared to level the play by trading an equal number of shots and limiting quality chances for the Maple Leafs. Blackwood countered that by giving up a soft goal with 42.2 seconds left in the period. Calle Jarnkrok sent a routine shot on net, but it managed to squeeze past Blackwood to extend Toronto's lead to 2-0.

William Nylander left no doubt who would lock up the win, when he rocketed a shot from the top of the right circle past Blackwood at 9:34 of the 3rd period. Nylander was on the move when he uncorked his shot but again, it was probably a shot that Blackwood should have stopped.

Granlund spoiled former Shark goaltender Martin Jones' shutout bid when he scored at 11:57 of the period. Granlund was the beneficiary of a nifty blind pass from Fabian Zetterlund who scooped up a rebound with his back to the Maple Leafs goal. Zetterlund rotated to this left as he slid the puck through the slot to Granlund who was loitering on the left post for the east tap in.

Nylander pushed the Maple Leafs lead back to 3 goals when he pushed a puck over the goal line after Blackwood made a pair of big saves. Nylander played patty-cake with John Tavares, passing the puck back and forth to each other through the crease, before firing a shot on goal from 4 feet out. Blackwood made the save, but Nylander chansed the rebound past the end line and fired another shot that Blackwood pinned to the left post, but the Leafs forward took another whack at it, forcing over the goal line at 16:28.

Game Notes:

* The Sharks sent recently acquired forward Jack Studnicka to the San Jose Barracuda on Friday. That would suggest that they're about to get one or more of the 4 forwards who are currently on the shelf.

* Defenseman Ty Emberson and Mikael Granlund each recorded 4 shots on goal. Emberson has a 3-game point streak.

* In addition to their 33 shots on goal, Toronto also rang 7 shots off the post in the game. They missed 25 shots and had 18 blocked by the Sharks.

* Tomas Hertl, William Eklund and Alexander Barabanov were all a -2 in the contest.

* The Sharks have scored 1 or fewer goals in 21 of their 40 games this season.


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Scoring
1 2 3 T
TOR 1 1 2 4
SJ 0 0 1 1
1st period - 1, TOR, Marner 15 (Rielly, Nylander), 15:22, (pp).
2nd period - 2, TOR, Jarnkrok 10 (Liljegren, Giordano), 19:17.
3rd period - 3, TOR, Nylander 20 (Bertuzzi, Mccabe), 9:34. 4, SJ, Granlund 5 (Zetterlund, Emberson), 11:57. 5, TOR, Nylander 21 (Tavares, Bertuzzi), 16:28.
Penalties
1st period - Hertl, SJ (tripping), 14:21; Granlund, SJ (delay of game - faceoff violation - hand), 14:56.
2nd period - None.
3rd period - None.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
TOR - Jones 24 23
SJ - Blackwood 33 29
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
TOR 17 8 8 33
SJ 3 9 12 24
Power Play Conversion
TOR 1 of 2
SJ 0 of 0
3 Stars of the Game
William Nylander
Mikael Granlund
Auston Matthews
Attendance
SAP Center - 17,435
Officials
Referees: #28 Chris Lee, #8 Francois StLaurent. Linesmen: #81 Ryan Daisy, #60 Libor Suchanek.





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