Auston Matthews return to the lineup after a 14-game absence was just the spark the Toronto Maple Leafs needed to lead them to a 5-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks in an entertaining game at the Scotiabank Arena Wednesday evening.
Both teams exhibited flashes of brilliance and why they’re considered two of the elite teams in the NHL. The undoing of the Sharks was committing the cardinal sin playing the Leafs; stay out of the penalty box. By not doing so resulted in three Toronto goals with the man advantage and teams have learnt the hard way you can’t give this lethal five that opportunity. San Jose chipped in with two power play goals with a very potent man advantage unit as well.
Matthews lead the way with 2 goals and an assist but the “Gretzky-like” ability Mitch Marner continues to display game in and out finding open team mates produced 3-assists with the benefactor John Tavares, who had two on the night.
San Jose stayed away from the nonsense trying to run Nazem Kadri out of the rink and while dominating the Leafs at times with “keep away” couldn’t solve the rock solid Frederik Andersen who made 38-saves recording his league leading 14th win.
The Sharks gave starter Martin Jones the night off going with Aaron Dell after their 3-2 overtime loss the night before against the high-flying Buffalo Sabres and played well enough to win but Toronto prevailed after Matthews 2nd of the game mid way through the third put the home side up three.
San Jose with a late charge cut the lead to two but like most of the game couldn’t finish that was probably a combination of playing back to back along the brilliance of Andersen.