Maple Leafs End Three-Game Losing Streak With Shootout Win Over Sharks

Published January 4, 2018 at 10:29 PM

"The Toronto Maple Leafs had not defeated the San Jose Shark at home since 2002 and had yet to win a game in 2018 and were on a three-game losing streak heading into the Air Canada Centre tonight. Both of those streaks ended with an exciting 3-2 shootout win on Thursday night.
The game got off to an interesting start as Joe Thornton and Nazem Kadri dropped the gloves just two seconds into the game.
The Leafs penalty kill unit had to be sharp early on as they needed to kill of a holding minor by Morgan Rielly and tripping call against Connor Carrick in the first 13 minutes of the game. Carrick made up for his infraction by playing an important part in the first goal of the game at the 18:37 mark of the opening period.
William Nylander made a nice play to enter the zone by passing to himself off the boards while skating through the neutral zone. Nylander hit the brakes below the right dot and passed back to Carrick at the point where he ripped a one-timer that was redirected out front of the net by Auston Matthews for his team-high 18th goal. Matthews now has five goals in his six games back from injury.
The lead was not meant to last long as the Sharks tied the game just 31 seconds later. Brent Burns's shot from the point was blocked by Matt Martin, but the puck found the stick of Brendan Dillon, who was cheating down into the left circle, and he beat Frederik Andersen with a quick wrist shot for his first goal of the year.
Kadri continued his eventful night by scoring on the power play at 12:40 of the second period to give the Leafs a 2-1 lead. While Kadri was battling out front of the net, Mitch Marner's shot from the top of the right circle deflected off his skate and got in behind Martin Jones. Morgan Rielly had the secondary assist on Kadri's 14th goal on the year.
Once again the Sharks had an answer, this time it was Chris Tierney who tied things up less than six minutes later with a gift goal. Andersen mishandled a slow moving puck of a faceoff from center ice and it went right to the stick of Tierney who flipped it into the Leafs net.
The game headed to a shootout after a scoreless third period and five-minute overtime session. Matthews opened the shootout by scoring on the first shot. Kevin Lebanc needed to score in order to keep the game alive in the sixth round and he came through for the Sharks. Tyler Bozak beat Jones in the 11th round and then Andersen denied Tierney in the next round to secure the extra point.
With as well as the Boston Bruins have been playing of late, the Maple Leafs needed these two points in a bad way. They Maple Leafs will return to action Saturday night when they host the Vancouver Canucks on Hockey Night in Canada. "

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