The San Jose Sharks Logan Couture goes for the victory skate in front of the Sharks bench after scoring a second period goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Fri Oct 22, 2021 (Canadian Press photo)
By Mary Walsh
The San Jose Sharks won their fourth in a row, beating the Maple Leafs 5-3 in Toronto. Sharks goals came from Timo Meier, Erik Karlsson and Jonathan Dahlen and two from Logan Couture. Adin Hill made 30 saves for the win. Jason Spezza, Ondrej Kase, and John Tavares scored for Toronto. Michael Hutchinson made 26 saves in the loss.
In a scoreless first period, the teams were tied in shots at 11 each. They each had one single-shot power play.
Logan Couture got the scoring started at 2:31 of the second period. He was the beneficiary of a dogged play by Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Off the face-off, Vlasic skated down and took a shot. The shot rebounded but he was already there to collect it, carry it behind the net to try for a wrap-around. That needed a little help and Couture was there to finish it off.
Jason Spezza tied it up with a quick shot from the slot at 3:27. The Sharks stopped several shots and attempts before Spezza’s got through. Wayne Simmonds got the assist.
Timo Meier gave the Sharks another lead less than 20 seconds later. His shot from the wall zipped through before Hutchinson could even see it.
Those three goals were scored in the space of just one minute and 13 seconds.
Ondrej Kase tied the game again at 10:44. After a flurry of activity in the Maple Leafs’ zone, Kase broke away for a clear shot at Hill. A little fake before a backhand shot tricked Hill and the puck went past the prone goaltender. The Sharks looked outmatched in the face-off circle, winning just 35% of the draws.
Erik Karlsson scored a little over a minute later to give the Sharks their lead back. Karlsson took the shot from the blue line and it went by a few bodies before sneaking into the short side top corner. An assist went to Middleton, who kept the puck in after Karlsson’s first shot and then got the puck back to Karlsson for the scoring shot.
The teams were tied in shots again in the second period, this time 12-12. In face-offs, the Sharks improved a bit, to a win percentage of 47. There were no penalties in the period.
25 seconds into the third period, Logan Couture passed the puck back from the goal line to the front of the net for Jonathan Dahlen. Dahlen put the puck in the net for San Jose’s fourth of the night. Assists went to Couture and Meier.
John Tavares got one back for Toronto at 13:39. William Nylander’s shot hit Adin Hill up high and spun into the air. It landed and hit Tavares’ skate before bouncing off of Middleton and into the net. Assists went to Nylander and Jake Muzzin.
Logan Couture scored into the empty net with 40 seconds left in the period. Andrew Cogliano got the assist.
The third period was by far the Sharks’ best in the face-off circle. They won 61% of those draws for a game total of 48%. Their power play got three shots on goal and their penalty kill gave up three shots. The final shot count for the game was 33-31 Toronto.
The Sharks next play on Sunday in Boston against the Bruins at 10:00 AM PT.