Instant Replay: Sharks Dig Out of Hole, Beat Leafs in Shootout


TORONTO – The Sharks’ offense finally woke up in the third period against one of the NHL’s worst defensive teams.

Justin Braun and Joe Pavelski scored late goals to erase a 2-0 Maple Leafs lead, and the Sharks won their first shootout of the season, 3-2.

Braun got the comeback started. The defenseman got free in the slot, and unleashed a perfectly placed backhand bar down with 7:17 left in the third period to cut the Leafs’ lead in half. It was his first of the season.

Pavelski got the game-tying marker, redirecting a Brent Burns offering just four seconds into what was the Sharks’ sixth power play of the night at 14:50.

After a wild overtime in which both teams had point-blank opportunities, Logan Couture was the only player to convert his shootout attempt, firing it through Frederik Andersen’s legs.

The Sharks won their seventh straight game in Toronto, and 12th of their last 13 overall against the Maple Leafs (12-1-0).

Zach Hyman and Auston Matthews scored regulation goals for Toronto, which held a 2-0 lead at the second intermission.

Hyman opened the scoring at 6:58 of the first period. After he left the ice briefly from blocking a Burns shot, Hyman got in front of the net and angled his stick to redirect a pass from Matthews high over Martin Jones.

Matthews’ team-leading 13th goal came on a two-man advantage with Tommy Wingels and Matt Nieto serving minor penalties, when the rookie slipped a shot through Jones’ pads at 7:46 of the second period.

The Sharks got a break just before that, when an apparent Morgan Rielly goal was waved off due to goalie interference on Nazem Kadri. Replays showed that Kadri hardly touched Jones before Rielly powered it through, but the call stood after a coach’s challenge by Mike Babcock.

The Sharks went on a power play with Kadri serving a penalty, but instead of tying the game, Matthews added to the lead with his seventh goal in the last nine games.

Toronto began the night 27th in the NHL in goals-against, surrendering 3.00 per game.

Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic did not play with a lower body injury that forced him from Saturday’s game in the second period. Vlasic is on the road trip and was on the ice at Air Canada Centre for Tuesday’s morning skate.

Special teams:
About the only time the Sharks had sustained offensive pressure before Braun’s score was on the power play, as they generated 15 shots on goal, including Pavelski’s marker. They were 1-for-6 on the night.

Toronto finished 1-for-3 on the power play. The Sharks have allowed at least one power play goal-against in seven of their last nine games, and are 12 for their last 18 (66.6 percent) on the PK.

In goal:
Jones made 29 saves, and is a perfect 5-0 against the Maple Leafs in his career. He’s 14-10-1 on the season.

Andersen, formerly of the Anaheim Ducks, fell to to 2-6-1 all-time against San Jose with 40 saves.

David Schlemko returned from missing three straight games with a right ankle injury. He took Vlasic’s regular spot, paired with Braun.

Wingels left the ice for a few minutes in the first period after getting hit hard into the glass by Matt Martin at 2:21. Martin was called for boarding.

Mirco Mueller was recalled for the trip, but still has yet to make his season debut.

Up next:
The Sharks will take on the Senators on Wednesday in the second of a back-to-back. Ottawa beat San Jose, 4-2, at SAP Center on Dec. 7.

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