Well, the Toronto Maple Leafs gave it their best shot, but in the end it was not enough as they lost 4-2 to the San Jose Sharks.
What could of have been a massacre when taken into account how both teams entered this game, the Leafs somehow were able to stay in the game for the majority of the game. However, it was the same mistakes that ended up costing them the game.
It seems the Leafs got Randy Carlyle‘s message at the start of the game, well, at least for the first two shifts. The Leafs got off to fast start quickly jumping to a 3-0 shot differential. After that, the Leafs quickly reverted back to their own ways, eventually trailing in shots 13-5 in the first period.
The Sharks scored on two of those 13 shots in the first period. The first was hard to take as a Jason Demers shot bounced off his teammate Mike Brown and then Morgan Rielly and past James Reimer. The second was scored on a 5-on-3 with Joe Thornton depositing the puck into a wide open net off of a Joe Pavelski pass.
The Maple Leafs woke up in the first 10 minutes of the second period. They dominated the play and took advantage of two San Jose penalties to tie the game.
The first was off of a Mason Raymond shot that trickled through Antti Niemi and into the net. Phil Kessel benefited from a beautiful pass from Tyler Bozak and had an open net of his own, taking advantage of it to tie the game. The Leafs could have had two more goals if it weren’t for bad bounces off of shots from Dion Phaneuf and David Clarkson.
The Sharks then took over again. They started trapping the Leafs in their own end. No greater example was the play that lead to the Sharks’ third goal. The Leafs fourth line of Jerred Smithson, Colton Orr and Frazer McLaren were stuck on the ice for over a minute.
It was originally fourth line against fourth line, but the Sharks were able to get a change in and then took advantage of the Leafs tired line. Mark Stuart got his stick on a Dan Boyle shot and it got past Reimer. What made matters worse was Rielly had the chance to ice the puck, but chose not for the fear of an icing call.
The third period was pretty even as the shots were 10-8 for the Sharks and there were no penalties called. The Leafs eventually pulled Reimer but could not find the back of the net. Logan Couture did however, putting the puck into the Leafs’ empty net.
What makes matters worse for the Leafs is that Tyler Bozak seems to be hurt again. He left briefly in the second period but was back out to get the first assist on Kessel’s goal. He then left again soon after that goal, only playing 12:33 of ice time. In the post-game press conference, Carlyle said that it was an upper-body injury and they did not know the severity of it.
Special teams were a big part of this game as it both helped and hindered the Leafs play. Sure the Leafs had two power play goals, but it was was giving the Sharks a one minute and 17 second 5-on-3 that lead to the Shark’s second goal.
The Leafs have now lost five games in a row and six of their last seven. The Leafs desperately need a win on Thursday night as the Dallas Stars come to town.