The San Jose Sharks (42-17-7, 91 points) defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs (35-24-8, 78 points) by the final score of 6-2 in the final game of their four-game home stand. Toronto has been one of the league’s hottest teams as of late and were 14-3-3 in their last 20 games before this loss.
Offensively the San Jose Sharks looked sharp once again, and this time it was from beginning to end. Joe Pavelski stood out once again though getting two goals and an assist, pushing his career-high goal total to 34. Meanwhile, the other Joe had three assists giving him 55 assists on the season, which is second in the league.
Also, Tommy Wingels had his first ever Gordie Howe hat trick. It all started when Wingels deflected a Justin Braun shot from the point. He added his assist on a Martin Havlat goal late in the game, then less then 20 seconds later got into a fight with Joffrey Lupul of the Leafs to cap off the ‘hattie.’
As you may have noticed, Martin Havlat played tonight, and was in for Raffi Torres who was scratched tonight in order to give him some extra rest. It ended up being a win-win for the Sharks who got another goal from Havlat (his sixth of the season) while also getting Torres some rest. If the Sharks can somehow keep those two going and be able to get them in the lineup, this will be an incredibly tough team to stop come playoff time.
The San Jose Sharks got off to a quick start this evening as well on Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s fifth goal of the season with a slapshot from the top of the faceoff circles. They would add another in that first stanza on a Brent Burns goal which ended up being the second San Jose goal of the period to be reviewed.
The first, which was Wingels doing his usual thing in front of the net, tried to stuff a puck home through the pads of the Maple Leafs netminder. That goal was disallowed due to the referees intent to blow the whistle when he thought the puck was frozen. And, while Burns initially disallowed, it was eventually overturned after review. After the period it was 2-1 Sharks, and they were looking strong.
They continued that trend in the second and third periods as well with Pavelski’s early third period goal pretty much pushing this game out of reach for the Leafs after he made it 5-1. The Leafs would score a short-handed goal against the Sharks, but that would be it. After Havlat’s garbage-time goal the scored was 6-2 and it ended at that.
Overall a great game for the San Jose Sharks, although there is some serious concern about their power play which has now scores just twice on 52 chances in their last 16 games. If there’s been one weak spot that has been it, and sooner or later it will catch up to them. Still, they dominated the game today based on great five-on-five play and finished the game with 48 shots compared to Toronto’s 21.
Now, they embark on another east-coast road swing that includes Columbus, the Islanders, and the Rangers with the first two games on back-to-back nights. It would be nice to grab two of three during this road trip to help keep up their great pace, and is very doable when you consider the Islanders are one of those opponents. We’ll see how they fair starting Thursday.
GGS 3 Stars
1. Joe Pavelski (2 goals, 1 assist)
2. Tommy Wingels (1 goal, 1 assist)
3. Joe Thornton (3 assists)