Leafs win streak snapped at three with loss to Sharks
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Wednesday, March 4, 2020
SAN JOSE SHARKS 5 - TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS 2 FINAL
San Jose, CA – Two goals in just 50 seconds along with poor Toronto defence were the differences in this game, as the Sharks scored quickly in the third period to defeat the Leafs 5-2.
Evander Kane scored twice for San Jose, who collected its third straight win while snapping the Leafs win streak at three games. Antti Suomela, Stefan Noesen, and Radek Simek also scored for the Sharks.
Auston Matthews scored his 46th goal of the season, while also assisting on a beautiful Mitch Marner goal in the loss.
Even with the defeat, Toronto remains five points ahead of Florida for third place in the Atlantic Division.
Jack Campbell got the start for Toronto and made 33 saves. He kept the Leafs in the game throughout the second period, as they were outshot 18-6 in the frame.
''I feel responsible for this one,'' Campbell told reporters after the game. ''When the second intermission came around I thought we had weathered the storm. But I wasn't able to shut the door on them. That's the bottom line.''
His counterpart, Martin Jones, stopped 25 shots in the win.
Kane opened the scoring 6:38 into the first period on the powerplay. He tipped home a Brent Burns shot from the point, giving the Sharks the early 1-0 lead.
That was the only scoring in the opening period despite some chances for the Leafs in the frame.
Just 2:48 into the second period, Matthews got one right back for the Leafs. Martin Marincin’s point shot was tipped to the ice by the forward before it made it to the net. Then, Matthews slid it past Jones for goal number 46 on the campaign.
Matthews has now scored in all seven career games against the Sharks.
The teams traded goals for the rest of the period, with Suomela scoring for the Sharks before Marner dazzled with a goal of his own to tie the game at 2-2. Marner took a pass from Matthews in the slot before pulling the puck through his legs and putting it past Jones for a highlight-reel goal.
Campbell had to be excellent in the frame, making some big key stops as the Leafs defence looked non-existent at times throughout the period. San Jose controlled the play for much of the frame.
"The only reason we really had a chance going into third period was because of Jack," Marner told reporters after the game.
''They just kept coming and coming and a lot of times we just had no push back,'' Matthews told reporters after the game. ''So it was tough to get stuff going our way. We just got cut out and they just continued to play and push into our zone and forced us to tire ourselves out.''
Noesen scored the game-winning goal early in the final period, and Kane added his second goal of the night just 50 seconds later to make it a 4-3 game. Simek added an empty-net goal with 57 seconds to play in the frame, sealing the 5-2 Sharks win.
Next up for the Leafs is a visit to Los Angeles to play the Kings on Thursday.