Kasperi Kapanen scores twice as Maple Leafs Beat San Jose Sharks 5-3
Kasperi Kapanen scored a double, as Leafs won for the fifth time in six games, beating the San Jose Sharks 5-3 on Thursday night.
John Tavares scored again to extend his scoring streak to seven games. Josh Leivo and Mitch Marner also had goals to give Leafs their eighth win in nine road games.
Frederik Andersen made 42 saves. He also assisted on Marner’s insurance goal with a pass to the opposite blue line late in the third period to seal the victory.
Joe Pavelski scored his fourth goal in three games. Kevin Labanc and Marc-Edouard-Vlasic also scored for the Sharks.The home side had their four-game home winning streak broken. Martin Jones made 29 saves.
The Maple Leafs took the lead in the second thanks to a pair of odd-man rushes. Leivo tied the game early in the period when he converted a two-on-one off a pass from Tyler Ennis.
Then with the Sharks on the power-play midway through the second, Leafs took advantage of a turnover at the blue line by Pavelski to take the lead. Marner got the puck ahead to a streaking Kapanen, who went in all alone and beat Jones to make it 4-3.
Marner scored with 6:06 remaining to make it a two-goal game. This gave him three points on the night.
The teams had an action-packed first period that featured five goals, 28 shots and a penalty off the opening draw. The Sharks targeted Nazem Kadri for ripping out a chunk of Joe Thornton’s beard last season.
Barclay Goodrow went right after Kadri as soon as the game started. This gave the Leafs a power play just eight seconds into the game. That led to the first goal when Tavares’ centering pass deflected off Vlasic’s skate and into the net just after Goodrow got out of the box.
The Sharks tied it with help from a fortunate bounce of their own. Erik Karlsson’s dump-in bounced in front of the net instead of going around the boards. Andersen never saw it and Labanc knocked the loose puck into the open net.
Patrick Marleau then got his first point against San Jose after scoring 1,082 for the Sharks during his 19 years with them. He took advantage of a bad line change to find Kapanen on a two-on-one.
Pavelski tied it with a deflection off a pass from Brent Burns on a power play about a minute later. He then set up Vlasic for his goal late in the period that made it 3-2.
Maple Leafs’ Auston Matthews (shoulder) skated in the morning but will miss his eighth straight game on Friday but the signs are good.
Marleau is now six games from 1,600 for his NHL career. He has been a steadying presence on a maturing Leafs team. He’s taken Marner and Matthews under his wing, in particular, and is constantly held up as an example of someone who knows exactly what it takes to perform at his best.
“Rather than some coach telling ya, this is just a guy living it every day,” said Leafs coach Mike Babcock. “If you want to measure yourself and where you’re going, we’ve got a lot of young guys who have a chance to have good careers if they want to do it right.”
Much of the build up to the game centered around Marleau and his return to San Jose. He said: “When you’re around a group every day that becomes the new normal. It’s still a little weird, a little funny.”
Next up for the Leafs is a game against Anaheim Ducks on Friday.