Three game losing streak. Up against the San Jose Sharks, who they apparently last beat in Toronto in January 2002. Patrick Marleau against his old team. Auston Matthews looking to start collecting his next 100 points. Frederik Andersen inspired by the Denmark juniors’ win over Belarus. Pick your storyline.
Martina looks lovely tonight. I assume she’s still pretending O Canada has a key change (it doesn’t) but as per usual I have the anthem muted. (Anthems should be performed at the conclusion of international games only. This is a ship I am prepared to go down with.)
So we start off with Joe Thornton and Nazem Kadri jawing at the opening faceoff. Both of them get thrown out of the circle and then we have a fight before the game starts. Grand. Kadri and Thornton start the game in the sin bin. Thornton leaves some of his hair on the ice(!)
Kadri literally drops a handful of Thornton's beard on the ice after the fight. Ew. pic.twitter.com/Ncgprzax0G— Flintor (@TheFlintor) January 5, 2018
William Nylander gets a chance in the first minute and you can also hear bodies colliding. This is gonna be an interesting game folks.
The Goat draws a penalty on Melker Karlsson. Worrying chance for the Sharks in the Leafs zone early but they get settled. JVR gets a chance in front of the net and the puck heads the other way. Matthews gets a beautiful shot on Martin Jones but doesn’t quite manage to score.
I refuse to blame the fight but the Leafs are definitely fired up, playing hard and aggressive. Morgan Rielly joins Kadri in the box for “holding the stick” which sounds much more innocent than the actual play looked.
Freddie goes wandering to play the puck which gives me heart palpitations even when he’s not doing it on the kill with five Sharks in his zone. He and I survive this move. Leafs get the puck out of their zone a couple of times but don’t do anything interesting with it.
Penalty expires as Rielly gets a prime opportunity with the puck. Jones looks good tonight, curse it all.
Mitch Marner does... things while trying to keep control of the puck and keep it away from the Sharks defender. It was possibly part of a Chris Bowman routine from his days with Toller Cranston. (Don’t worry you’re not supposed to get that, I’m just amusing myself.)
The broadcast comes back from the break and takes a moment to show us one of the photos from the Thornton and Burns ESPN Body issue. Personally I preferred Tyler Seguin’s shoot. Julie Chu also had a great one.
Zach Hyman is thrown into the boards. The refs don’t notice because why would they.
Hyman gets driven into the boards, no call. Was a little shaken when he got up but seems fine. pic.twitter.com/zVs2kZhZj7— Flintor (@TheFlintor) January 5, 2018
Roman Polak blocks a shot and heads to the dressing room. Obligatory comments about Polak’s toughness and how therefore it must be really bad.
Connor Carrick gets sent off for tripping. Uncle Leo attempts a shorthanded goal but is denied. I’m a little worried about Freddie’s positioning. Or maybe just his reaction time? He seems to get pulled just a little too much out of position on the first shot and there seems to be a pause before he scrambles to face the next one.
Andreas Borgman does some impressive work getting the puck into the zone and back around the Sharks net but can’t lose his defender long enough to position for a shot.
Couple of late chances by Joel Ward and Melker Karlsson stopped ably by Andersen.
Marner takes a bit of a tour of the rink and makes Kevin Labanc look silly. Sadly Marner’s in his own zone at the time. Still, edge work, kids.
Mitch breakin' ankles. pic.twitter.com/5Kvk39NNi1— Flintor (@TheFlintor) January 5, 2018
Well that was a fun goal. Nylander gets the puck to Carrick who sends it in hard for one of Matthews’ patented “did he mean to do that?” tips. 1-0 Leafs
Ugh. Brenden Dillon gets in under the radar to tie it up 31 seconds later. 1-1 That’s Dillon’s first goal of the season.
Ooof. Burns and TImo Meier combine to almost squeak another one through Freddie but he gets a little help from Ron Hainsey and Kadri.
Tyler Bozak takes a puck to the helmet when Burns flails a high stick.
Burns knocks down a flying puck on Bozak's head pic.twitter.com/qwT7jK66u0— Flintor (@TheFlintor) January 5, 2018
Leafs getting outshot 15-10 this period but all in all I’m enjoying the game so far.
No fights to start this period, but some fast hockey with the puck snapping crisply tape to tape.
Nylander to Matthews but misses the net. Burns gets yet another point shot.
Things go back and forth a bit but the Sharks seem to be getting more chances.
I could see Freddie about to spring out of his net to poke a the puck but fortunately he restrained himself before Meier caused a problem.
Polak is back, for those wondering.
Gardiner takes down Labanc more or less by accident and we have yet another Leafs penalty kill. Sharks press hard and the puck only exits the zone on a Sharks error Freddie does some nice work and the pressure eases in the last 30 seconds.
The penalty expires and Rielly goes sprawling at the Sharks blueline. In the brief moments before the Sharks touch the puck again there’s a mess at the net and Jones keeps Rielly off the scoresheet.
Leafs seem pretty determined to get something out of this power play. Jones doesn’t quite look like Vasilevskiy but he still keeps everything out of the net.
Kadri v Thornton faceoff nearly gets heated again but it looks like Hainsey defused something before the puck dropped.
Ow. Marner takes a stick to the mouth and Burns is off the ice for four minutes.
Nylander gets the puck into the zone and finds Matthews who hits Jones with the puck. JVR tries a tip but Jones was there too.
Marner sends in and off Kadri’s skate right through Jones. Cue a review. Good goal! 2-1 and still almost two minutes of power play left. 25th assists of the season for both Marner and Rielly.
Leafs make a few errors on the back half of the power play but so do the Sharks. Lots of shot attempts by Toronto and they keep the puck in the San Jose zone for an extended amount of time after the penalty expires.
A shot by Patrick Marleau has the broadcast talking about how the Sharks are one team that he doesn’t have a game winning goal against. I’d prefer that any goals he has tonight are of the insurance variety, myself.
Fuck. Freddie tries to play the puck, sends it right onto Chris Tierney’s stick, and Tierney sends it right back through Freddie’s legs to tie the game again 2-2. Goalie sticks are for blocking shots and disciplining opposing players, Andersen.
Apart from that gaffe this was a good period for the Leafs. They outshot San Jose 11-7.
Leafs start the period on their heels and everything looks very worrying until Komarov of all people carries the puck out and into the correct zone.
Another Nylander does all the work to get the puck in and Matthews takes the shot moment but no dice.
Zach Hyman takes down Marc-Edouard Vlasic. They both go sliding into the boards and Hyman ends up in the penalty box.
Connor Brown gets a shorthanded chance but can’t cash it in. Leafs get the puck out of the zone a couple of times and even get a faceoff in the San Jose zone. Best penalty kill of the night — funny that it happens with one of their killers in the box.
At even strength Marner settles the puck down and hangs onto it behind the net like the Leafs are on a power play and need to re-set. Whatever he had in mind falls apart when the player he passes the puck to promptly ices it.
Matthews blocks a shot with possibly his shoulder but stays on the ice.
Jake Gardiner to Matt Martin oddly enough does not result in a goal. Martin gets slashed on the hands with no call which results in a turnover.
Freddie makes a nice save on Joe Pavelski to keep the game tied. Not the first of the period, nor the last — he has to make another one after the tv timeout.
Matthews line gets some dangerous looking time in the offensive zone.
Borgman dumps a Shark on his ass which is always fun to watch as a defensive play.
Gardiner gets the puck not quite to van Riemsdyk and the Bozak line get some time in the right zone.
Sharks are generally getting too many chances and now the Leafs have iced the puck.
Brent Burns is annoying as an opponent, pass it on.
Marleau gets a chance but Jones keeps it out and there’s no one there to capitalize on the resulting wide open net.
Andersen is keeping the Leafs in this. Leafs need to get more pucks on the net. Marner tries but runs into Burns.
Brown and Hainsey both get shots, including a bolt from Hainsey.
Nylander and Matthews again, Matthews shot goes wide. Worrying amount of Sharks offensive zone time in between those two shifts.
Marleau takes the feet out from under an official. Ouch.
Bozak line gets the puck in but Marner and JVR can’t connect and the puck goes right back out again.
STOP TRYING TO PLAY THE PUCK, FREDDIE. I am almost Jagr’s age, I can’t take it.
It’s probably not a coincidence that Marleau’s on the ice in the dying seconds of the game. Hainsey gets a shot off but no rebound for Marleau to use. Faceoff with 1.2s left.
Whee, we get a point! Overtime ahead. Shots 10 - 7 for the Sharks this time.
Kadri Komarov and Rielly out to start. Rielly feeds Komarov a long pass but Komarov can’t beat Jones.
Gardiner with Matthews and Nylander. They spend far too much time in their own zone.
Marner with Marleau and Gardiner who can’t get a change in. Still can’t really get out of the defensive zone.
Kadri, Komarov and Rielly again. Rielly and Kadri combine to get things going in the right direction.
Hainsey with Marner and Marleau. Marner gets the puck in the San Jose zone but loses control of the puck. He then picks up a a high sticking penalty that could probably have been a hooking call if it was lower. There’s blood so this one is technically four minutes but there’s 1:50 to go.
Polak comes on to kill the penalty with Komarov and Hainsey, this is suboptimal in terms of wanting to score but at this point there’s nothing to do but try and get to a shootout. Andersen makes a great save on Couture. Sharks get Freddie scrambling before the Leafs finally clear the puck out. Komarov clears it again and then the Sharks send it over the glass. Leafs clear again, Sharks come back... and time runs out.
Auston Matthews goal
Logan Couture saved
Mitch Marner misses
Joe Pavelski saved
Patrick Marleau post
Kevin Labanc gaol
William Nylander saved
Joonas Donskoi saved
James van Riemsdyk saved
Brent Burns saved
Tyler Bozak goal
Chris Tierney post
Leafs win! I’m generally not a fan of shootouts but that was a pretty fun one.
Next game is Saturday against Vancouver. For those of you without cable but with a computer in Canada it’s the Rogers Gamecentre free game of the week.