Kennedy, Marleau lead Sharks to win over struggling Maple Leafs
Patrick Marleau was upbeat after scoring his first goal in 17 games, even if it was helped across the line. Now he just wants to keep it going.
Tyler Kennedy and Marleau scored 15 seconds apart in the first period, and the San Jose Sharks beat the reeling Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 on Thursday night.
"That’s a good thing to see for us, and certainly for him," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said of Marleau. "You could feel like it was coming the last few games, him taking it to the net hard and driving wide and using his speed. I hope for his sake and for ours they’ll start going in more often now."
Antti Niemi stopped 24 shots to win his second straight as the Sharks ended a three-game, home-losing streak. Tommy Wingels added an empty-net goal in the last minute.
"He made some huge saves for us," Marleau said. "He bailed us out a few times."
Roman Polak scored for the Maple Leafs, who lost their third straight and for the sixth time in seven games. Polak’s goal was Toronto’s first in just over 133 minutes.
"I thought we played a pretty solid game," Maple Leafs defenseman Cody Franson said. "We did a lot of things right. It’s just not going in right now. We’re confident in what we’re doing and eventually our luck will turn if we keep playing this way."
James Reimer, who made 39 saves, fell to 1-4 against the Sharks. San Jose won its fourth straight over the Maple Leafs and is 8-1 against them in the past nine meetings.
"Reims played a great game," Franson said. "It’s unfortunate when a goalie plays that well, gets a tough loss. We feel for him and we feel it as a group."
Kennedy, playing in his second game since returning from an injury, put the Sharks ahead midway through the first period.
Kennedy was all alone on the left side, and Brenden Dillon found him with a pass from the right point.
Kennedy had time to stop the puck and wait as Reimer, who had just made a stick save, dived to the ice. Kennedy flipped it over the goalie to make it 1-0.
Marleau scored 15 seconds later on a shot that was cleared out of the net and bounced off Reimer’s skates. It was originally ruled no-goal before going to a video review.
"It was definitely nice," Marleau said. "I will take them any way I can get them. The chances have always been there and now they are going in."
The Maple Leafs kept the pressure on the Sharks and broke through with 8:03 remaining in the first period. Polak found a small crease between the goal line and Niemi, deftly sending the puck ricocheting off the goalie’s skates and into the net.
"I felt I played pretty well. At the end it wasn’t good enough," Reimer said. "They were coming hard all night. We’re playing the right way, we’re doing the right things, we’re not getting the results."
NOTES: Maple Leafs F David Booth was unavailable for the game because his nose was broken by an elbow from Anaheim’s Sami Vatanen in Toronto’s 4-0 loss on Wednesday. Vatanen was fined $3,393.82 by the NHL. … The Maple Leafs recalled F Matt Frattin from the Toronto Marlies to replace Booth. … Tomas Hertl received a second start at center after an impressive emergency start in the Sharks’ 3-2 win at Arizona on Tuesday. With Andrew Desjardins in San Jose with his wife for the birth of their first child, Hertl switched from the wing. … The Maple Leafs ended a road-scoring drought of just under 170 minutes. .. The Sharks opened a season-high, seven-game homestand. … Polak ended a season-high, eight-game goal-less streak.