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