Toronto Maple Leafs: Three Takeaways From Loss To Sharks

Dec 13, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs center Mitch Marner (16) and San Jose Sharks right wing Kevin Labanc (62) fall as they go after the puck at Air Canada Centre. The Sharks beat the Maple Leafs 3-2 in the shootout. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 13, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs center Mitch Marner (16) and San Jose Sharks right wing Kevin Labanc (62) fall as they go after the puck at Air Canada Centre. The Sharks beat the Maple Leafs 3-2 in the shootout. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Dec 13, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs center William Nylander (29) attacks with the puck as San Jose Sharks defenseman Justin Braun (61) hooks him at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 13, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs center William Nylander (29) attacks with the puck as San Jose Sharks defenseman Justin Braun (61) hooks him at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports /

Nylander-Matthews appreciation

These two are appreciated on a nightly basis, but their elite skill was on display against the Sharks. After some time away from each other, Babcock has reunited Nylander and Matthews. Even though they spent some time apart, their chemistry did not suffer as they have not missed a beat.

Their elite skill would be on display versus the Western Conference Champions. For the first goal of the game, they kept the puck away from the Sharks until Matthews saw and opportunity and fired it to the net which resulted in a Hyman deflection.

Nylander has suffered the wrath of Babcock due to his defensive play. Nevertheless, he made an excellent defensive play as he fought for and stripped the puck away from Justin Braun. The 20-year-old might not be a Selke type forward, but he definitely understands that  his defensive game did need to improve in order to avoid the fourth line.

As for Matthews, he got into the action by scoring his 13th goal of the season by going five-hole from a tough angle to beat Martin Jones. For those keeping track, that puts Matthews on a 38 goal pace, not bad for a 19-year-old.